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Virtual Organizations and Project Management

(UN Geneva - Alvin Wei-Cheng Wong)


What is a Virtual Organization?


- New Forms of Organizing

The distributed and pervasive nature of the Internet, and the ease with which institutions can now communicate across great distances, have made new forms of organizing possible for institutions. These various forms of organizing have attractive benefits for institutions, including cost savings and increased flexibility.

As institutions have taken advantage of these new technologies to distribute their work and workers, and to re-shape information flows in the pursuit of mission, strategy, and business objectives, they have moved towards being virtual organizations.

A virtual organization can bring together, often temporarily, independent entities in partnering or outsourcing arrangements, enabling them to share expertise, resources, and cost savings until objectives are met and the network is dissolved.

Virtual organizations are virtual not only in the sense that they exist largely in cyberspace, but also in that they are unconstrained by the traditional barriers of time and place.

The ultimate goal of the virtual organization is to provide innovative, high-quality products or services instantaneously in response to customer demands.


- Definitions

There are many definitions of virtual organizations, including:

  • A flexible networks of independent, globally distributed entities (companies, institutions and/or individuals closely linked to advanced telecommunications and computing technologies) that share skills, knowledge, resources and work toward a common goal.
  • A form of cooperation involving companies, institutions and/or individuals delivering a product or service on the basis of a common business understanding. The units participate in the collaboration and present themselves as a unified organization.
  • Virtual organizations do not need to have all of the people, or sometimes any of the people, in one place to deliver their service. The organization exists but you cannot see it. It is a network, not an office.
  • A temporary network of inde-pendent linking by Integrated Technology to share skills, costs, and access to one another’s markets.
  • A virtual organization is any organization with non-co-located organization entities and resources, necessitating the use of virtual space of inte-raction between the people in these entities to achieve organization objectives.


Virtual Project Teams and Project Management


The rise of the Internet and development of collaborative software have instilled a new dimension into project management. Virtual project teams are those where at least one member of the team is remote from the others. Due to a combination of globalisation, outsourcing, the use of the most talented people wherever they are based, flexible working, and more, virtual projects are on the rise. Today's project manager needs to be able to deliver projects virtually.

The EITA accomplishes project success through teams led by project managers.


[More to come ...]

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