Virtual Teams and RamificationsEssay

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Leading Collaborative Work Environments

Distributed work environments can enhance social innovation in a couple of different ways. Firstly, such environments are highly dependent on communication. Thus, in some respect, distributed work environments can help to foster social innovations pertaining to communication, and even contain teams that outperform those in centralized locations (Seibdrat et al., 2009). The way that they do so is help people to become accustomed to communicating with one another in different ways than they would normal do so if they were in centralized environments. For instance, the predominance of mobile technologies, cloud computing, and even certain social media sites are a necessity that was partly engendered by distributed work environments. Virtually all of these technologies -- and most certainly the first two of the three mentioned -- are vital in aspects in which there are employees in different locations who need to communicate with one another. These employees become used to utilizing these technologies such as DropBox and other aspects of cloud computing in which they can readily share documents, regardless of locations and regardless of where they are on the map. These same employees then adopt these habits of communication, which are typically based on technology, in their personal lives and habits. In such a way, social innovation is definitely furthered and, in some instance, even engendered.

Additionally, business problems can pertain to general issues that society is incurring in either greater or lesser degrees. Solving those business problems then, as they relate to working in distributed environments, can help to solve those problems within society at large. For instance, Amazon is in the shipping industry and incurred the business problem of shipping to distant locations as efficiently and cheaply as possible. In the process of addressing this particular problem, Amazon inherently affected society. For instance, Amazon has helped to pioneer some techniques in drones and in new methods of mobile delivery. Once these technologies for deliveries are no longer novelties, society at large will be able to utilize then and they will simply become a part of daily life.

Another fairly simple way in which distributed work environments can enhance social innovation is through the corporate world in general. As Michael Porter (2013) made abundantly clear in his TED talks, the private sector has more monetary, information technology, and human resources than governmental entities, non-profits, and NGOs. The corporate environment is a decidedly distributed one. Although there are occasionally mergers and acquisitions, the competitive nature of business still provides for rivalries and competition between organizations.

Those rivalries and competitions, in turn, can cultivate social innovation virtually by the very nature of the corporate world. Businesses typically either provide a product or a service to customers. Those that can do so to address customer needs inherently benefit society and social innovation by making things better for their customers. The competitive nature of business keeps corporate entities honest by helping to regulate prices and providing the sort of customer service that is ultimately beneficial to society. If one company does not, another will and could considerably cut into the revenues of the former.

Thus, the two principle ways that distributed work environments can enhance social integration is through collaboration and competition. Howard Rheingold (2005) details salient aspects of the former in his TED talk, and elucidates the fact that the sort of assistance required for large scale cooperation between extremely distributed environments ultimately benefits society as a whole. His example of humans banding together to hunt mastodons demonstrates this fact well (Rheingold, 2005). Additionally, competition is another means in which distributed work environments can foster social innovation. In this case, disparate entities are seeking to outperform one another to deliver products and services to society at large.

Assignment 1 (2 pages)

Write about your thoughts about how distributed work environments can enhance social innovation. Integrate information from your readings and videos that you have viewed.

http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_porter_why_business_can_be_good_at_solving_social_problems

http://www.ted.com/talks/howard_rheingold_on_collaboration

Part of this assignment is to find a new resource on this topic (i.e. can be a movie, an article, a video clip) that you will share with the class in order to expand the discussion of this topic and/or illustrate a concept from this unit.

This course greatly shaped my vision about collaborative work environments, decision making, and professional practice. One of the fundamental ways it did so was in exposing me to the reality that conflict in work environments can actually produce a positive effect on decision making -- so long as it is dealt with respectfully by all parties involved. The course also taught me that maintaining that sort of respect and objective outlook on conflict, communication, and leadership is a key part of professional practice. Importantly, this class taught me that decision making can actually be collaborative, and that it is necessary to involve others in order to maximize the potential of both the organizations and the individuals involved with it.

In order to realistically lead with integrity and operate an organization in a manner that enhances all of its stakeholders it is necessary to know how to take counsel from others. In this respect, leadership is about appropriating resources (whether human or otherwise), and knowing where to turn for assistance when dealing with different scenarios. True leadership requires asking for and accepting criticism, supervising the progress of others, and prioritizing organizational objectives over those of the purported leader. True leadership integrity lies in modeling and actually exemplifying the relevant attributes that one expects of others, and of one's enterprise as a whole. Additionally, it is necessary to remain cognizant of the perspectives and opinions of the stakeholders, in order to successfully help them achieve their goals as well.

I was able to meet a few personal learning goals through taking this course. Firstly, and perhaps most eminently, I was able to expand my wealth of knowledge about leadership in formal organizational settings. Quite simply, I believe I have accumulated a number of raw materials via concepts and ideas that are applicable to different aspects of leadership. I certainly wanted to expand my knowledge of this subject matter, and this class helped me to realize this goal. Additionally, I was able to expand my personal network of scholars and potential professionals related to the discipline of leadership and organizational culture. In this regard, I have valuable resources for future study and learning, which may even prove to impact my career professionally.

Professionally, I will utilize the insights I have gained from this class by understanding that differences are actually beneficial to organizations and to organizational leadership. Therefore, I will actively seek to find opinions and viewpoints that are not congruent with mine or with the general direction of the organization I'm working in. Furthermore, I will try to integrate them with that direction and engage those whose skills, experiences, and viewpoints are different from mine in such a way that I am able to enhance our organizational objectives. Leadership is not based on blind following. Thus, I will attempt to utilize the full diversity of leadership and of whatever organization I am a part of to critique and ultimately improve it.

The instructional methods that enabled me to learn and develop my own ideas included the utilization of the entire "three dimensions" of online learning. In this regard, watching some of the videos that were required for this class was able to help me a lot. Not only did these videos reinforce concepts discussed throughout the program, but they also gave me an opportunity to get the viewpoints of others outside of the class environment. Doing so enabled me to foster some ideas of my own. Additionally, the discussion posts and the interaction with my classmates helped me to develop my own ideas, simply by letting me compare and contrast them with my peers.

Assignment 2 (Separate 2 pages)

Write a Final Learning Essay answering the following:

What instructional methods enabled you to learn and develop your own ideas.

Assignment 3 (Separate 14 pages)

Major Course Assignment / Case Study Research Analysis: Managing a Global Team: Greg James at Sun Microsystems, Inc. (A)

This case study is an integrative case study and research analysis that combines the topics in this course. The main learning outcomes of this case study are to:

• Understand the challenges of managing a globally dispersed team.

• Assess the benefits and challenges with flexible work systems.

• Understand the challenges of asynchronous communication and limited face-to-face interactions.

• Understand the role of social categorization in driving team behaviors.

Part 1: Defining Organizational Structure and Team Configurations

Requirements: This section of the paper should not exceed 4 pages, APA format, Microsoft Word.

First, critically reflect upon your personal and professional experiences in light of the course readings and discussions. Drawing upon and applying the course concept and using them to support your ideas, thoughtfully articulate your perspective on:

Drawing upon your previous classes, how do you define and differentiate (if at all) the concepts of: Virtual Teams, Global Virtual Teams, Distributed Teams,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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