Trust, Virtual Teams, and Grid Technology

Trust, Virtual Teams, and Grid Technology

Genoveffa Jeni Giambona (University of Reading, UK), Nicholas L.J. Silburn (Henley Business School, UK) and David W. Birchall (Henley Business School, UK)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-587-2.ch507
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Abstract

This chapter focuses on the collaborative use of computing resources to support decision making in industry. Through the use of middleware for desktop grid computing, the idle CPU cycles available on existing computing resources can be harvested and used for speeding-up the execution of applications that have “non-trivial” processing requirements. This chapter focuses on the desktop grid middleware BOINC and Condor, and discusses the integration of commercial simulation software together with free-to-download grid middleware so as to offer competitive advantage to organizations that opt for this technology. It is expected that the low-intervention integration approach presented in this chapter (meaning no changes to source code required) will appeal to both simulation practitioners (as simulations can be executed faster, which in turn would mean that more replications and optimization are possible in the same amount of time) and management (as it can potentially increase the return on investment on existing resources).
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Introduction

The rapid development of new technologies has made flexible and remote working more and more widespread. In particular, virtual team working is growing rapidly throughout many types of organization. Although virtual teams have attracted the attention of many researchers (see for example, Lipnack & Stamps, 2000; Lurey & Raisinghani, 2001; Powell et al., 2004; Townsend et al., 2000) until recently (see for example, Zolin & Hinds, 2004) little investigation had been carried out specifically on what impact trust has on the performance of such teams.

Undoubtedly, trust is a key element in favouring cooperation among team members as it avoids suspicions of opportunism and avoids the occurrence of egotistic behaviour. However, an analysis of the role of trust in the specific field of setting up and maintaining virtual teams would be of great benefit in an age where global working is becoming the norm.

Recent research has looked at trust in virtual teams (Birchall & Giambona, 2007; Birchall et al., 2008), information assurance, (Birchall et al., 2003; Birchall et al., 2004), and a variety of issues around the individual’s interaction with information resources (Stewart et al., 2007). All three of these research areas give useful insights into the creation, use, and sharing of information through the lenses of trust and virtual teams – do I trust someone that I am not co-located with enough to share “my” information resources with them and to commit to working jointly with them and sharing responsibility for the outcomes?

Grids, through the collaborative nature of the technologies employed, provide an opportunity to build trust through the sharing of common resources and the enabling of rich communications. But is this enough for effective team working? And how can Grid technology help encourage trust overcome these issues linked to trust development? This is the question that this chapter seeks to answer.

In this chapter firstly we will cover some of the relevant aspects of the development of Grid computing and its application to modern organizations. We then go on to examine the nature of collaboration and virtual teams in business and organizations, including aspects of trust and its importance. The role that the Grid and Grid concepts can have in supporting virtual teamwork and facilitating trust in virtual organizations is then explored. The final part of the chapter draws out the conclusions of the material presented and closes with an examination of the implications.

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