Varieties of Virtual Organizations and their Knowledge Sharing Systems

Varieties of Virtual Organizations and their Knowledge Sharing Systems

Andrea Hornett (The Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2004 |
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-166-7.ch008
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Abstract

Provided in this chapter is an analysis of the differences between virtual teams and communities of practice. The chapter links two growing phenomena: virtual organizing and knowledge sharing (knowledge management), based on empirical work from both fields of research. By integrating various types of virtual organizing with corresponding knowledge-sharing systems, the author provides a framework that virtual team leaders, members, and consultants can use to improve management of virtual endeavors. This chapter suggests that calling nearly everything a “Community of Practice” creates unrealistic expectations for spontaneous organizing and knowledge sharing. Indeed, the managers of Virtual Project Teams have organizing challenges that are very different from stewards of Communities of Practice. Practitioners struggling with “one-size-fits-all” prescriptions for virtual work or knowledge management can use this chapter’s three generalized types to develop communications and management styles appropriate for the unique cultures found in each of the various combinations of virtual organizing and knowledge sharing.

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