Collaborative Synergy and Leadership in E-Business

Collaborative Synergy and Leadership in E-Business

Kenneth David Strang (Central Queensland University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-587-2.ch505
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Abstract

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.

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