Managing Knowledge in an ERP Enabled Virtual Organization

Managing Knowledge in an ERP Enabled Virtual Organization

Janice M. Burn (Edith Cowan University, Australia) and Colin Ash (Edith Cowan University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2000 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-878289-82-7.ch011
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When is a virtual organisation really virtual? One definition would suggest that organisations are virtual when producing work deliverables across different locations, at differing work cycles, and across cultures (Gray and Igbaria, 1996; Palmer and Speier, 1998). Another suggests that the single common theme is temporality. Virtual organisations centre on continual restructuring to capture the value of a short-term market opportunity and are then dissolved to make way for restructuring to a new virtual entity. (Byrne, 1993; Katzy, 1998). Yet others suggest that virtual organisations are characterised by the intensity, symmetricality, reciprocity and multiplexity of the linkages in their networks (Powell, 1990; Grabowski and Roberts, 1996). Whatever the definition there is a concensus that different degrees of virtuality exist (Hoffman, Novak and Chatterjee, 1995; Gray and Igbaria, 1996; Goldman, Nagel and Preiss, 1995) and within this, different organisational structures can be formed (Palmer and Speier, 1998; Davidow and Malone, 1992, Miles and Snow, 1986). Such structures are normally inter-organisational and lie at the heart of any form of electronic commerce. Yet the organisational and management processes which should be applied to ensure successful implementation have been greatly under- researched (Finnegan, Galliers and Powell, 1998; Swatman and Swatman, 1992). There is even less guidance provided with respect to the management of change in organisations that embrace some degree of virtuality by leveraging their competencies through effective use of information and communication technologies (ICT). It could be argued that there is a degree of virtuality in all organisations but at what point does this present a conflict between control and adaptability? Is there a continuum along which organisations can position themselves in the electronic marketplace according to their needs for flexibility and fast responsiveness as opposed to stability and sustained momentum? To what extent should the organisation manage knowledge both within and without the organisation to realise a virtual work environment? The ability of the organisation to change or to extend itself as a virtual entity will reflect the extent to which an understanding of these concepts has been embedded into the knowledge management of the virtual organisation as a Virtual Organisational Change Model (VOCM). Managing these change factors is essential to gain and maintain strategic advantage and to derive virtual value. The authors expand these concepts by using the example of organisations that are using SAP R/3 enterprise resource planning software (ERP). Central to the discussion is the strategy of Virtual Organising (as defined by Venkatraman and Henderson, 1998) of ERP enabled organisations as they extend their scope across three vectors to enable virtual encounters, virtual sourcing, and virtual work. This is specifically explored within the context of knowledge management through the exploitation of ERP software integrated with Internet technology. This chapter proceeds as follows. A broad definition of virtual organisations is provided which highlights the need for a strategy to manage dynamic change. This is followed by the development of a model for managing such change and extended into a Virtual Organising model for ERP based organisations. This model is central to the discussion of knowledge management within the ERP context. Finally, the challenges that face virtual organisations are addressed, and solutions are proposed for the future.

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Table of Contents
David Schwartz
Chapter 1
David G. Schwartz, Monica Divitini, Terje Brasethvik
Knowledge management in general, and Internet-based knowledge management in particular, is one of the foremost strategic directions being... Sample PDF
On Knowledge Management in the Internet Age
Chapter 2
Bidjan Tschaitschian, Andreas Abecker, Joachim Hackstein, Jamel Zakaoui
Knowledge assets and the learning capacity of an organization are the main sources of competitive advantage (Argyris & Schon, 1978; Prahalad &... Sample PDF
Internet Enabled Corporate Knowledge Sharing and Utilization
Chapter 3
Seng-cho T. Chou, Edward T. Chow
Knowledge management is concerned with the effective management of enterprise knowledge, the knowledge that an organization lives by and is built... Sample PDF
Essential Factors in Knowledge Management with COTS Products
Chapter 4
Guy Saward
It is a truism that customer service is the key to business success. It is particularly true given competition and new business practices lead... Sample PDF
The Challenge for Customer Service: Managing Heterogeneous Sources
Chapter 5
Xiaoying Gao, Leon Sterling
The World Wide Web is known as the “universe of network-accessible information, the embodiment of human knowledge” (W3C, 1999). Internet-based... Sample PDF
Semi-Structured Data Extraction from Heterogenous Sources
Chapter 6
Simon Polovina, Vito Veneziano
Any business organisation has always needed mechanisms to control its affairs, particularly how it optimises the economic resources at its disposal... Sample PDF
Adding Knowledge to Accounting Systems for Virtual Enterprises
Chapter 7
Angi Voss, Keiichi Nakata, Marcus Juhnke
In today’s electronic environments, knowledge is often captured through collections of documents in email or news archives, bookmark lists, document... Sample PDF
Concept Indexes: Sharing Knowledge from Documents
Chapter 8
Will Barrett, M. S. Lydia Lau, Peter M. Dew
Managing knowledge is not a new idea. Although the term “knowledge management” is a recent introduction into the corporate lexicon, the concept is... Sample PDF
Facilitating Knowledge Transfer in an R&D Environment: A Case Study
Chapter 9
Peter H. Carstensen, Ulrika Snis
It is widely acknowledged that knowledge is one of the most important assets of today’s organizations. According to Davenport and Prusak (1998)... Sample PDF
On Knowledge Management: A Field Study
Chapter 10
Judy McKay, Peter Marshall
Contemporary business environments and trends for the future suggest that successful organizations of the future must not only be efficient... Sample PDF
The Challenges of Interorganizational Management: An Emerging Issue in the Virtual Organization
Chapter 11
Janice M. Burn, Colin Ash
When is a virtual organisation really virtual? One definition would suggest that organisations are virtual when producing work deliverables across... Sample PDF
Managing Knowledge in an ERP Enabled Virtual Organization
Chapter 12
Murray E. Jennex
The Year 2000 (Y2K), or millennium bug as it has been called in the popular press, has caused many organizations to form Y2K project teams tasked... Sample PDF
Using an Intranet to Manage Knowledge for a Virtual Project Team
About the Authors