February 22, 2011

Business hierarchy doesn’t affect online collaboration

For online collaboration to work, forget internal corporate structures, just build human relations

David SparkHere’s some of my coverage from the ICIS Conference in St. Louis. I was covering the event for Dice and Dice News.

When you’re collaborating online with a virtual team, which relationship dynamic works the best? A rigid internal structure of system roles or human relations?

The latter, discovered Nabila Jawadi, an assistant professor at Amiens School of Management, in her research paper, “Leader-Member Exchange in Virtual Team: Exploring the Effects of E-Leaders’ Behavioral Complexity.” The paper was co-authored by Mohamed Daassi at the University of Brest, Marc Favier at the University Pierre Mendes France and Michael Kalika at the EM Strasbourg Business School.

Jawadi and team tried to see what were the rules leaders used to facilitate communications and create a good e-collaboration environment. They found that internal system rules that deal with control and coordination don’t carry much weight in a virtual environment.

For those leaders looking to improve online collaboration, said Jawadi, have a suite of communications tools in place and use human relation rules, not power structure, for management and facilitation.David Spark, a partner in Socialmedia.biz, helps businesses grow by developing thought leadership through storytelling and covering live events. Contact David by email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.

2 thoughts on “Business hierarchy doesn’t affect online collaboration

  1. Nice to see an academic citing chapter & verse about what people who use these tools already know: the social-technology-enhanced organization, formal or ad-hoc, can get more done, and build real connections, often without even meeting.

    The fact that the interviewee concluded similar trends within French organization structures, in my experience some of the most rigid hierarchies I have ever experienced, leads me to suppose that the democratization of decision making afforded by the culture change will have far-reaching consequences… as Colonel Qaddafi is experiencing today.

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