Pervasiveness of New Forms of Working and Organising

The pervasiveness of Information Technology has contributed to the emergence of new forms of working and organising. While, organising across time and space is not a new phenomenon, the use of digital technologies has triggered its proliferation. It is hardly possible to imagine nowadays a work collaboration which is exclusively restricted to a common physical space.  

For instance,  according to Global Workplace Analytics’ research 50% of  the US workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telework and approximately 20-25% of the workforce teleworks at some frequency. 

Virtual work arrangements can be different types and can vary according to the level of  intensity of interactions and type of competences that have to be integrated. Modularized approaches , for instance,  are often used to diminish the interdependences between remotely-located teams and mitigate potential problems. 

 

 

Paradoxes and Difficulties

Virtual work arrangements undergo many difficulties and problems. Among the most common ones are:

  • Difficulties to develop common actionable understandings
  • Impossibility to coordinate and mobilize collective action
  • Conflicts and relational tensions

Whereas a lot has been done by research and practice to improve virtual work processes, we still lack in-depth, actionable understanding of the related problems. Some of the antecedents of these problems are:

  • Understanding virtual collaboration and knowledge sharing as a transmission of information, and, thus, ignoring the social and relational aspects
  • Exclusive focus on the technology as a main determinant of success, and ignoring the social practices that shape the use of technology
  • Understanding virtual work as an inferior copy of face-to-face interactions
 

Expertise and Experience

Our  experience and expertise is centered on understanding and facilitating virtual work arrangements as a qualitatively distinct mode of interactions. This entails developing  critical perspectives on understanding the relationship between technology and collaborative practices.  In such a way we are able to offer innovative solutions to the common virtual work difficulties. 

We are using a plethora of in-depth methods for exploring and analyzing virtual processes. Our aim is to work together with companies to facilitate their processes through coaching and training with a view to triggering learning processes and establishing productive organisational practices.  We are also committed to exploring new forms of virtual work arrangement that tend to transform our work relations. For instance, some of the most recent  collaborative innovations involve avatars and wearable technologies.