Collaborative Synergy and Leadership in E-Business

Collaborative Synergy and Leadership in E-Business

Kenneth David Strang (Central Queensland University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-106-3.ch028
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Logically, it makes sense that organizations can be successful if their employees collaborate effectively, in a synergistic manner. Economically, e-businesses around the world leverage the Internet for efficient collaboration while in parallel many companies now use enterprise applications for process automation and knowledge sharing. From a human resource perspective, it is argued professionals must inspire and influence their e-business teams to virtually collaborate and synergize across physical organization boundaries using transformational leadership principles. Rationally, investors in e-business need proof that applying knowledge sharing and transformational leadership theories will facilitate team collaboration and synergy and therefore improve organizational performance. Empirically, this e-business industry study develops a statistically significant path model using multivariate linear regression (n=3995), revealing transformational leadership and knowledge sharing factors are mediated by a latent construct of collaborative synergy, which predicts project performance and stakeholder satisfaction. Rival theories are evaluated to stimulate future research.
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Introduction And Rationale

This empirical study answers the general hypothesis: what factors are significant when professionals successfully lead teams to collaborate and synergize across organizations in e-business projects? Given that “collaboration” is “an interactive process that engages two or more participants who work together to achieve outcomes they could not accomplish independently” (Salmons & Wilson, 2008, p. xxxiv), while “organizational synergy” is “an open, integrated process (operational, procedural and cultural) that fosters collaboration and encourages participants to expand connections beyond typical boundaries and achieve innovative outcomes” (Salmons & Wilson, 2008, see Preface p. xxxiv), then it is proposed the interaction of these theories in contemporary e-business project teams (within and between organizations, including partners) becomes “collaborative synergy.” It is argued that collaborative synergy is an unobservable predictive mediator of organizational performance when skilled e-business professionals apply knowledge sharing and transformational leadership principles.

E-business is an important dimension of current organizational business process automation whereby mature companies of all sizes strategically leverage Internet-enabled enterprise computer software to effectively and efficiently transform resources to produce and supply products or services to their clients and partners around the world. The term e-business is defined here as doing business online and thereby leveraging the Internet/digital economy as a business process tool to virtually interact with staff, partners and marketplace clients (Kalakota & Robinson, 2003, 2001). Professionals in e-business will have applied practice in the mainstream “e-business domains” such as Supply Chain Management, Enterprise Resource Planning, Client Relationship Management, Human Resource Management/Workflow, Executive Information Management, Advanced Strategic Planning/Optimization, and e-Procurement (Bigwood, 2004; Moitra & Krishnamoorthy, 2004). These are the generic e-business software names but not all system vendors utilize these titles.

Skilled project leaders are required to manage e-business team collaboration (Cowley, 2003; Golob, 2002; Lampel, 2001) of which minimum corporate hiring criteria include MBA degrees and Project Management Professional certification plus at least five years applied leadership experience (Labrosse, 2007; PMI, 2007). Due to the challenging e-business project demands, professional leaders are often outsourced because the required leadership and project management skills are difficult to develop (Bone, 1996; Parise & Sasson, 2002; Slowinski, Hummel & Kumpf, 2006). People management is a key success factor because e-business project managers lead multi-disciplinary, virtual, collaborative teams, having multiple cultures (Manning, 2003; Trompenaars & Woolliams, 2003). Leaders are further challenged to manage e-business project teams that span departmental functions, beyond country boundaries, that frequently include international partners and vendors (Grant & Baden-Fuller, 2004; Powell, Koput & Smith-Doerr, 1996). E-business projects are complex since the applications must accurately and securely interconnect organizational data, processes, rules, and people across the Internet, introducing unknown risks that could potentially constrain performance.

Research Objective

It is argued that the transformational leadership and knowledge sharing theoretical constructs can be integrated as a single analytical model, using measured project leader (survey) items to explain how two unobserved latent factors (herein referred to as synergy and collaboration) mediate project outcome variables. The research hypothesis is that in e-business projects, the perceived transformational leadership and knowledge sharing factors will have a covariance, that is mediated by an unobservable latent construct of collaborative synergy (team collaboration and synergy), that in turn explains (predicts) the dependent organizational performance variables of earned value and stakeholder satisfaction.

Key Terms in this Chapter

E-Business: Business process automation whereby mature companies of all sizes strategically leverage Internet-enabled commercial enterprise computer software to effectively and efficiently transform resources to produce and supply products or services to their clients and partners around the world. Doing business online and thereby leveraging the Internet/digital economy as a business process tool to virtually interact with staff, partners and marketplace clients (Kalakota & Robinson, 2003); professional leaders in e-business will have applied practice in managing “e-business projects” such as Supply Chain Management, Enterprise Resource Planning, Client Relationship Management, Human Resource Management/Workflow, Executive Information Management, Advanced Strategic Planning/Optimization, and/or e-Procurement (Bigwood, 2004; Moitra & Krishnamoorthy, 2004).

Transformational Leadership: Theory conceptualized by Burns (1978) as “leaders inducing followers to act for certain goals that represent the values and the motivations—the wants and needs, the aspirations, and expectations—of both leaders and followers” (Burns, 1978, p. 19). Transformational leaders have the ability to arouse or alter the strength of needs which may have lain dormant (Bass, 1997). “[T]ransformational leadership involves the influence by a leader of subordinates…to empower subordinates to participate in the process of transforming the organization” (Yukl, 1989, p. 269). Transformational leaders motivate by modeling, creating synergy, cultivating vision and meaning, among followers (Bass et al., 1987; Podsakoff et al., 1984; Schein, 1991).

Collaborative Synergy (in E-Business): An interactive process that engages two or more participants who work together to achieve outcomes they could not accomplish independently, in an open, integrated process (operational, procedural and cultural) that fosters knowledge collaboration, influenced by a transformational leadership that encourages participants to expand connections beyond typical boundaries and achieve required e-business project outcomes.

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Michael Beyerlein
Janet Salmons, Lynn Wilson
Janet Salmons, Lynn Wilson
Chapter 1
Frances Deepwell
In this chapter, we consider two multi-institution, multinational education research projects in Europe that used a variety of technology to... Sample PDF
E-Research Collaboration, Conflict and Compromise
Chapter 2
Susanne Croasdaile
In the world of education, many occasions necessitate interorganizational collaboration. Geographical distance and time constraints are challenges... Sample PDF
Inter-Organizational E-Collaboration in Education
Chapter 3
Kumiko Aoki
This chapter discusses cultural differences in educational practices of the East and West. In East Asian countries, where Confucian philosophy has... Sample PDF
Cultural Issues in Global Collaborative Education
Chapter 4
Ken Stevens
The Internet and an expanding range of technologies have enabled small schools in rural communities in Atlantic Canada to collaborate in addressing... Sample PDF
The Development of Collaborative Structures to Support Virtual Classes in Small Schools
Chapter 5
Christine Marrett
Information communication technologies (ICTs) have facilitated institutional collaboration in distance education. Based on the study, Institutional... Sample PDF
Experiences in Collaboration in Distance Education from the Caribbean, Looking Beyond Electronic
Chapter 6
Neli Maria Mengalli
This chapter presents the course School Management and Technologies, and what emerged from the discourses of subjects that make it possible to... Sample PDF
Collaboration and Networks: Basis for the Management Based on Knowledge in Education
Chapter 7
Niki Lambropoulos, Panagiotis Kampylis, Sofia Papadimitriou, Marianna Vivitsou, Alexander Gkikas
Recent rapid technological advancement has influenced communication and information management. In addition, it has facilitated collaboration, an... Sample PDF
Hybrid Synergy for Virtual Knowledge Working
Chapter 8
Chijioke J. Evoh
The purpose of this study is to examine the dynamics of collaborative partnership involving the private sector, government, and community groups in... Sample PDF
Collaborative Partnerships and the Application of ICTs in Secondary Education in South Africa
Chapter 9
Sandra J. Chrystal
This chapter reports on two University of Southern California collaborations that partner business communication classes with not-for-profit... Sample PDF
Technology Leverages a Community University Collaboration
Chapter 10
Tine Köhler, Michael Berry
Internationally distributed teams (IDTs) face challenges related to the team members’ diversity and geographic dispersion. However, research on IDTs... Sample PDF
Creating Synergy for Inter-Cultural Learning
Chapter 11
Iris C. Fischlmayr
In this chapter, factors “really” influencing virtual multicultural team work shall be described and a training design used for students and company... Sample PDF
A Training Design for Behavioral Factors in Virtual Multicultural Teams
Chapter 12
Jennifer V. Lock, Petrea Redmond
An international online collaborative learning experience was designed and implemented in preservice teacher education classes at the University of... Sample PDF
Working Collaboratively on the Digital Global Frontier
Chapter 13
John D. Murphy
This chapter introduces Collaboration Engineering as an approach to developing more effective collaborative sessions for interdisciplinary teams.... Sample PDF
Engineering for Interdisciplinary Collaboration
Chapter 14
Darren Lee Pullen
Communication technology, which is not constrained by geographical boundaries, has increasingly resulted in faster and more efficient ways to... Sample PDF
Back to Basics: Electronic Collaboration in the Education Sector
Chapter 15
Elizabeth DePoy
This chapter presents and analyzes the scholarly basis and empirical work that resulted in the development of Techscape, the application of... Sample PDF
Designing University Techscapes
Chapter 16
Kathy Lynch, Aleksej Heinze, Eljse Scott
The barriers to global collaboration of yesteryear include country boundaries and time zones. Today, however, in a world where communication is... Sample PDF
Scholarly Collaboration Across Time Zones
Chapter 17
Christine Aikens Wolfe, Cheryl North-Coleman, Shari Wallis Williams, Denise Amos, Glorianne Bradshaw, Toby Emert
A group of National Writing Project teachers from around the nation attended a Professional Writing Retreat in Santa Fe in 2004 and continued their... Sample PDF
Stepping into the Role of Professional Writer
Chapter 18
Garry G. Burnett
This chapter introduces Media Synchronicity Theory as a means to examine the influence of technology use on the relationship between a... Sample PDF
Collective Identity and Learning in a Virtual Team
Chapter 19
Janet Salmons
Social constructivism is an established educational theory based on the principle that learners and teachers co-construct knowledge through social... Sample PDF
E-Social Constructivism and Collaborative E-Learning
Chapter 20
Jeffrey Mok
Technological artifacts such as computers and mobile electronic devices have dramatically increased our learning interactions with machines. Coupled... Sample PDF
Social and Distributed Cognition in Collaborative Learning Contexts
Chapter 21
Qing Li
Increasingly, educators in a range of venues and institutions (e.g., K-12 schools, post secondary institutions, training facilities) are being... Sample PDF
Modeling the Model for Distributed Learning
Chapter 22
Kathryn Dixon
This chapter is the result of an investigation into the capacity of an electronic portfolio (e-folio) to promote reflection and collaboration in a... Sample PDF
Capacity of an Electronic Portfolio to Promote Professionalism, Collaboration and Accountability in Educational Leadership
Chapter 23
Robert J. Redmon Jr.
Departmental e-mail reflection groups promise to help resolve two of the most pressing problems facing the teaching profession, finding time for... Sample PDF
E-Mail Reflection Groups as Collaborative Action Research
Chapter 24
Janet L. Holland
This chapter reports on a mixed study dealing with the impact of integrating student peer mentor facilitators into online discussions in an effort... Sample PDF
Integrating Student Peer Mentoring Online
Chapter 25
Rosemarie Reynolds, Michael T. Brannick
This study examined the effect of computer-based videoconferencing and text-based chat on mentoring relationships, and compared the findings to... Sample PDF
Outcomes of Computer Mentoring
Chapter 26
Linda L. Larson, Paul Boyd-Batstone, Carole Cox
When teachers integrate online discussions into courses, they are faced with the challenge of deciding how to evaluate the postings. This chapter... Sample PDF
Rubric to Determine a Quality Online Discussion Posting
Chapter 27
Andre L. Araujo
Recent advances in Web-based technologies along with investments in international outsourcing and offshore locations have unquestionably increased... Sample PDF
Instrumental and Social Influences on Adoption of Collaborative Technologies in Global Virtual Teams
Chapter 28
Kenneth David Strang
Logically, it makes sense that organizations can be successful if their employees collaborate effectively, in a synergistic manner. Economically... Sample PDF
Collaborative Synergy and Leadership in E-Business
Chapter 29
Gilliean Lee
Recent industry and business trends can be described as shorter life cycle, increased speed to market, customizability, and a wide variety (rather... Sample PDF
Overview on Information Systems and Tools for Collaborative Enterprise: Business Impacts and Managerial Issues
Chapter 30
Apivut Chakuthip, Yvonne Brunetto, Rod Farr-Wharton, Sheryl Ramsay
This chapter uses the structural and relational dimension of Social Capital Theory as the lens for examining the factors affecting a Small and... Sample PDF
Trust, Social Networks and Electronic Commerce Adoption
Chapter 31
Bolanle A. Olaniran
Trust and relational development represents a critical challenge in online collaboration groups. Often the problem is attributed to several factors... Sample PDF
A Proposition for Developing Trust and Relational Synergy in International e-Collaborative Groups
Chapter 32
Peter Rittgen
The increasing complexity of products and services encourages more and more companies to form collaborative networks. As these companies are... Sample PDF
Supporting Inter-Business Collaboration via Contract Negotiation and Enactment
Chapter 33
Larry R. Irons
This chapter reviews research in distributed work, relating it to the way organizations manage collaboration between home-based customer support... Sample PDF
The Limits of Anytime, Anywhere Customer Support
Chapter 34
Tobias Müller-Prothmann
Collaboration is a constitutional element of any organization. To conceptualize the organization as an evolving system of interactions means to put... Sample PDF
KMmaster® for Collaboration and Knowledge Management
Chapter 35
Steven Jeddeloh
This essay explores ultimate team performance as experienced by veteran airline pilots working together with a common purpose. The research... Sample PDF
Ultimate Performance in a Highly Functioning Team
Chapter 36
Theresa Rich
This case study presents the work done to develop and execute the global vision for a 24/7 matrix organization within a major multinational... Sample PDF
Globalizing a Function within a Company
Chapter 37
R. Todd Stephens
This chapter examines the elements of the new Web 2.0 technology base and reviews the lessons learned when implementing these technologies.... Sample PDF
Integrating Web 2.0 Technologies within the Enterprise
Chapter 38
Mairi Stewart Kershaw
This chapter details one project, “Linking for a Change” (LFC), connecting schools and public/social sector providers of education for sustainable... Sample PDF
An Evaluation of ‘Linking for a Change'
Chapter 39
Lynn Wilson
Environmental sustainability and global climate change issues intensify the need for collaborations between scientists and policymakers. Working in... Sample PDF
Collaboration in the Service of Knowledge Co-Creation for Environmental Outcomes, Science and Public Policy
Chapter 40
Diego Liberati
In current economic and scientific scenarios, interactions and organization models tend to be more and more oriented to flexibility of... Sample PDF
Networked Experiments in Global E-Science
Chapter 41
Jeroen Wolbers, Peter Groenewegen, Pieter Wagenaar
The implementation of GMS (Integrated Emergency room System) in the Netherlands has had a tumultuous record. A direct consequence of the... Sample PDF
ICT to Facilitate Emergency Response in The Netherlands
Chapter 42
Elena Corradini
This chapter discusses a project for the implementation of a digital repository in a specific context, namely a small Italian town. The latest... Sample PDF
Enhancing Collective Memory with a Community Repository
Chapter 43
Simon Milne
This chapter examines the development and associated outcomes of two government funded projects designed to support small tourism enterprise (STE)... Sample PDF
ICT and Tourism Enterprise Collaboration in Rural New Zealand
Chapter 44
Rubye Braye, Eric Evans
This chapter originated as a reflection of the communication between U.S. facilitators and a Rwandan host as they ecollaborated in planning... Sample PDF
2007 Leadership and Human Resources Training in Rwanda
Chapter 45
James L. Smith
This chapter reveals the common theme three rural Minnesota communities used in their collaboration efforts in to install and deliver broadband... Sample PDF
Collaboration through Municipal Motivators
Chapter 46
Keith Baker
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is often seen as a vehicle for organizational reform. However, the established literature on... Sample PDF
Understanding the Dialectic Relationship between Intraand Inter-Organizational Cooperation
Chapter 47
Rakesh Biswas, Jayanthy Maniam, Edwin Wen Huo Lee, Shashikiran Umakanth, Premalatha Gopal Das
This is an illustrative process description of a collaborative project utilizing a multidisciplinary approach. The requirement for collaboration... Sample PDF
Electronic Collaboration Toward Social Health Outcomes
Chapter 48
Beverly-Jean Daniel, April Boyington Wall
This chapter presents a case study of the process of employing technology in a project involving the development and presentation of a unique... Sample PDF
Technology Enhanced Collaborative Leadership Development
Chapter 49
Lisa Faithorn, Baruch S. Blumberg
Complex social, economic, political and environmental challenges as well as new research areas that cut across disciplinary, institutional and... Sample PDF
Lessons Learned from the NASA Astrobiology Institute
Chapter 50
Lynn Wilson, Janet Salmons
The concluding chapter offers the editors’ insights into the book chapters’ combined contribution. Using the editors’ Collaborative Integration... Sample PDF
Online Collaborative Integration and Recommendations for Future Research
About the Editors
About the Contributors