Thursday, September 23, 2010

“Future of Virtual Organizations” – Professor M.S.Rao

What is Virtual Organization?

You have heard and seen organizations that are lean, tall, flat and so on. You must have come across the concepts of virtual organizations, virtual teams, virtual offices and virtual leadership. These have tremendous impact on the future organizations. When we see movie production, we find people joining together for film shooting and departing after the completion of the film shooting. Even while working for one movie, people might work for other movies simultaneously as all people may not be required for making a particular film at a time. Similarly the virtual organization is a temporary organization where people join together in providing quick and innovative solutions to the problems.

Virtual organizations are unconventional and non-traditional way of doing the things. It effectively makes use of informational technology to share knowledge, skills and abilities to accomplish organizational requirements. It is working beyond borders through internet connectivity.

With the rapid changing technology, the tastes and temperaments of the costumers are changing. The virtual organizations are the means to meet the growing demand of these customers to provide quality solutions, services and products.

Virtual Teams:

In virtual teams people with different competencies and capabilities work together on common goals and objectives and often without physical interaction. These teams are beyond borders and boundaries and work together from varied time zones, geographies and spaces with collective objectives and interests. Virtual teams are dissolved once the project takes off as Price aptly put, "Teams dissolve on completion, to reappear in new combinations for other tasks.”

Virtual Leaders:

Virtual leaders are the people who lead the virtual team members beyond boarders with collective vision. These leaders align the energies and efforts of the team members towards organizational goals and objectives by influencing and motivating them. These leaders must have broad global mindset, with adequate tool set and requisite skill set unlike traditional leadership. Besides, they must be good at managing diversity.

Types of Virtual Organizations:

According to Bradt there are four types in virtual organizations. They are: the alliance organization that emphasizes on core competencies leveraging the strengths of the people, displaced organization where people are connected through internet technology but distributed geographically, invisible organization that is network of call-centers and back offices where business is executed telephonically and fourth type is a truly virtual organization that is the blend of the other three types of organizations and the best example for this is the online Amazon.com bookstore.


The crucial challenges in virtual organizations are the cultural and communication aspects where people need to be aware of various cultures while working with virtual teams and need to flex their communication to get across the message clearly and effectively.


The future of virtual organizations is bright as the times and technologies are changing rapidly. The world is going virtual way wherein people join together for common objectives and goals and separate once the project is over. It is like make shift tent for temporary stay.

Currently we find loyalty to organizations as skin deep. When people work together they connect for getting the tasks executed. Once the work is over, they separate and rejoin with others to get new tasks executed. This is the kind of mindset evolving among the employees globally. In future, it appears that the people connect over video conferencing and work together more vigorously than now without any physical interaction for executing the tasks and part away amicably.

The way the technology is changing it is very tough to predict where we will land in a couple of decades from now. However, considering the past changes, we can predict to some extent that the virtual organizations are here to stay.

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