New Approaches Needed to Support the Distributed Environment

New Approaches Needed to Support the Distributed Environment

William H. Young (University of South Florida, USA) and Brenda G. Young (Marbay Group, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-533-9.ch016

Abstract

The implications of all these changes are becoming clearer for HR development, education, and training functions. These changes will make it easier to share information and optimize knowledge creation. They will affect the continuing evolution of the workforce because access to the Internet and a laptop are no longer enough for successful management of a distributed team. Keeping up with change effectively is an important part of a company’s long-term plan. Forward-looking organizations will implement strategies to maximize the benefits of these changes and soften the negative effects. Well-managed distributed teams can be an integral part of a company’s strategy and can provide major benefits to the company.
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Background

If managed properly, distributed teams provide the additional benefit of being a continuous source for bringing innovation into the company. They can also be critical in helping to fend off competitive threats that may emerge from new companies with new technologies. Companies need to understand the importance of training in order to reap these benefits. They also need to be alert to the new types of jobs and changes in processes, or even organizational structure, that new technologies will bring. Research has shown that, contrary to popular misconceptions, extroverted personalities perform better in distributed teams (Conlin, 2009). According to Conlin, introverts can also work well in distributed teams, but they need to be managed differently. They need to have technologies available that can reproduce a more traditional office environment in order to facilitate communications and foster better relationships.

Moreover, there are trends that are moving quickly to mainstream use that will have a profound effect on how we work and how a virtual workforce should be managed. The advent and popular use of social media as well as other new and emerging technologies are amplifying the power of personal networks and are changing the way work will be done. Individually, these trends will have an effect on the way people work; in combination, they will be very disruptive to traditional ways of working and will have a major effect on anyone managing a distributed team. The following list is not comprehensive but is included here to illustrate the number and type of disruptive technologies on the near horizon that will affect the way people work.

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