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Collaborative Technology Tools Organizations Utilize

Published May 8, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Galsworth’s (2005) research postulates that more organizations are committed to excellence. They strive to make the workplace safe, simple, more logical, standardized, fluid, linked and more cost effective from continual systematic upgrades.  He identifies this strategy as the “journey to lean.”  It constitutes a voyage of discovery that examines and then eliminates obstacles and barriers that lie in its critical path. In other words it is an excursion where material follows as it travels through the company and advances their value. When an organization takes on the work of a lean conversion, it establishes an environment that needs to change, improve or eliminate just about everything under the roof.  Organizations that choose to go lean do so to dramatically lower costs, simplify the production process, and produce a fundamentally safer environment (Galsworth, 2005).

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Bresciani and Eppler’s (2013) research purports that visualization is a relevant phenomenon that effects knowledge sharing. Their studies conclude that visualization techniques can increase productivity, recall, learning and other important measures (Bresciani & Eppler, 2009). Individuals that grew up as part of the Star Trek generation, for instance, evidence the impact of this visualization phenomenon by the advances in modern technology that were inspired by sci-fi shows like this. Cell phone designs, for example, that flip up were clearly inspired by the communication devices the officers operated on the show. In addition, computer terminals and intelligent systems that use female voice technology to communicate instructions are reminiscent of the of the computer systems from that series. Technological advances like these display the power of visualization that affected young impressionable minds that watched shows like Star Trek and were inspired to pursue a career in science and technology that led to some of these modern advances that most everyone of us now utilize in one form or another in our lives and organizations.

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The effective collaborative technologies some organizations rely on, like ours, support a virtual work space. In this virtual environment they create a comprehensive system that transforms traditional business organizations into cost effective enterprises where outcomes are not just repeatable but are also sustainable. For example, at one previous place of employment, we organized and maintained important client documentation in large filing cabinet systems. These large pieces of furniture occupied extensive office space. In addition, when cabinets became full, old files were removed and shipped to warehouses for storage. Today, the organization has incorporated flash storage devices and thumb drives to replace these archaic filing systems. This collaborative effort eliminated the need for bulking filing cabinets and allows access to documentation and information from remote locations. Significant data that was once stored in warehouses are now easily accessed, managed, shared, and stored quickly on small devices or from online storage facilities for a fee. In addition, email has replaced the traditional method of communication, letter writing, and other forms of correspondence in organizations. Advances in communication systems now allow individuals to work by communication through various portals, from remote regions to transmit larger volumes of information with services like Dropbox, social media networks like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as well as other systems designed to enhance the communication experience (Drucker & Bruckentstein, 2013). Production and systems can still be managed and operated so long as there is internet access that allows a company to maintain open frequencies. When it comes to what makes a virtual office profitable we have discovered it consists of the same components that makes a large corporation profitable, establishing and applying efficient systems that technology tools offer.

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References:

Bresciani, S., Eppler, M. (Writers), & Frei, G. (Director). (2009). Visualization for knowledge sharing: Experimental evidence [Motion Picture]. Galen University. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsHlO8UXaLw

Drucker, D., & Bruckentstein, J. (2013). Technology tools for today’s high-margin practice. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Galsworth, G. (2005). Visual workplace visual thinking. Portland, OR: Visual-Lean Enterprise Press

Organizations as Systems

Published April 17, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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As human beings, we spend most of our lives in systems: a family system, a classroom, peer groups, teams, organizations, community, nations, and ethnic groups to name a few. When individuals fail to recognize systems, they tend to fall out of partnership with one another and their surroundings. They are prone to misunderstandings and invent information to explain what they do not know. They create falsehoods and biases. In short, they become separated when they could remain a part of something. People become oppressed when they could live in accord with one another. As a result, most systems, organizations, families, and other groups squander much of their potential. When this occurs without awareness or choice it becomes a blind reflex. Oshry (2007) identifies five types of system blindness: (a) spatial, (b) temporal, (c) relational, (d) process, and (e) uncertainty.  For example, when a person suffers from spatial blindness, they only see part of a system, not the whole. They see what is happening to them, but not necessarily what is occurring elsewhere for instance. They cannot view another’s perspective or comprehend some of the issues they face, the stresses they may feel, nor can they ascertain how their views impact their lives or that of others (Oshry, 2007).

Black-Box

Espejo and Reyes (2011) research contends there is a distinct difference between what they classify as a black box organization and an operational interpretation of an organizational system. The former is concerned with the transformation of inputs and outputs; the latter centers on the relationships that create a whole entity from a set of various components. The black box description is often formulated from an individual’s concept who is trying to control the situation from the outside. In other words, it is a form of unilateral control.  An operational system on the other hand, is connected to ongoing explanations between components that are determined to achieve stability in their relationships. Control in this model is quite different than that of the unilateral control system of the black box frame. It is attained from communications, accommodation and mutual influence (Espejo & Reyes, 2011). An independent contractor for example, may create their own systems of operation, as well as adhere to the systems and parameters from those that hire their services.

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Garvin (2003) postulates that an effective organization must consist of the following six critical activities for a learning organization to be successful: (1) collect information, (2) learn from the successful experiences (benchmark) of others, (3) learn from past experiences, (4) experiment with new ideas, (5) encourage problem solving, and (6) share knowledge (Garvin, 2003). For many businesses, important information for projects  flows as input and data processing. Once data is received, it is then interpreted and formulated into a new project ascertaining priorities and giving attention to deadlines.  A client that conducts a monthly Lunch-n-Learn presentation, for example, to recruit and motivate new clients, would require systems in place to manage the event. Once the data is received regarding an upcoming event, the information is processed and transformed into intellectual properties in the form of invitations, a press release, and creative marketing to support the event. Next, reports are organized from the feedback of potential participants. Once the presentation is completed, follow up systems are implemented to keep connected with participants, including appreciation forms of communication like thank you cards. Feedback for self-assessment is also important. It helps make the next presentation more effective. With having systems in place, including the organization of client information, leaders can evaluate and learn from their mistakes by observing what works and what does not. These systems serve as a tool that help people learn and work better together, as well as serve others more efficiently. Acknowledging mistakes, keeping open communication, listening to feedback, and engaging in active action reviews, are some of the systems organizations have implemented to make their working relationships more effective.

References:

Espejo, R., & Reyes, A. (2011). Organizational systems: Managing complexity with the viable system model. New York, NY: SPi Publisher Services.

Building a more effective learning organizztion (2003). [Motion Picture]. Retrieved April 2, 2013, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hXwBw2EZKHE#!

Oshry, B. (2007). Seeing systems: Unlocking the mysteries of organizational life. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.