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Human Resource Management In Virtual Organizations

1204 words - 5 pages

As we move into the 21st century, a number of innovations that were once merely ideas are now becoming reality. One of these is the virtual organization, where organizational members are geographically separated, but work together through computer technology. To date, much of the research and thought on virtual organizations has focused upon virtual technology and organizational design-how to link the individual members and how to design the virtual organization to carry out its work. This book takes this further in addressing the crucial question, how do you do human resource (HR) functions in the virtual organization? This question is particularly relevant when you consider that most traditional HR functions-hiring, training, evaluating performance, and rewarding (or disciplining) performance-assume there will be face-to-face interaction as the basis for carrying out that function.This book examines human resource management (HRM) in the virtual organizational in 14 chapters written by various authors and compiled into four parts. Part I as the introduction contains two chapters. Greenberger and Wang define and describe the virtual organization in the first chapter. Then Crandall and Wallace look at the difference between traditional and virtual workplaces in the second chapter. Part II examines HRM program delivery in three chapters. McClendon, Klaas, and Gainey look at HR outsourcing. Snell, Stueber, and Lepak examine HR departments, and Ulrich and Beatty describe the role of the HR professional in the virtual organization. Part III presents HRM programs in virtual organizations. Sk chapters describe job analysis (DeCaprio), staffing (Elllingson & Wiethoff), training and development (Noe & Simmering), performance management (Cleveland, Mohammed, & Skattebo), hybrid reward systems (Heneman, Tansky, & Tomlinson), and negotiation (Lewicki & Dineen). Part IV contains two case studies delineating the problems and solutions to electronic commerce (e-commerce) banking in China by Wang, and cross-functional teams cyberlinked in an orthopaedic manufacturer written by Crandall and Wallace. Finally, Part V concludes with a chapter on observations by Cardy.Most of the authors are academicians. Thus, they have a natural tendency to describe virtual organizations in terms of conceptual models, evolving constructs, and theoretical foundations. To the authors' credit, however, they make a concerted effort to use real virtual organizations (is that an oxymoron?) to illustrate their points, like the Technology One Alliance among BankOne, AT&T, and IBM, the networks between Walmart and its vendors, Merck's virtual HR activities, and Lucent's virtual product development team composed of 500 engineers operating over 13 time zones. In the first chapter, Greenberger and Wang take on the large task of trying to define exactly what a virtual organization is. They review 25 definitions from various articles and conclude that a virtual...

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