Business Without Boundaries: An Action Framework for Collaborating Across Time, Distance, Organization, and Culture (Business and Management Series) / Edition 1

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$35.88
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 95%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (10) from $1.99   
  • New (3) from $30.66   
  • Used (7) from $1.99   

Overview

The New World of Complex Collaboration

"The very nature of work has changed in our increasingly turbulent economy. We are now expected to work effectively with people we never see. We are expected to coordinate with people in other functions, other companies, other countries. How do we do these things? How do we span enormous distances and transcend traditional boundaries? How do we work in a world that discourages effective collaboration? Drawing from successful cases in highly visible companies, the authors answer these questions. They give us practical guidelines for resolving one of the most difficult issues of our time. This book is a must-read for anyone who seeks to flourish in the modern world of global business."
–Robert E. Quinn, professor of business administration, University of Michigan Business School

"When it comes to organizational effectiveness, no issue is more central or challenging than collaborating across geographic, cultural, and organizational boundaries. This is the first book to make a comprehensive analysis of how to make these complex collaborations work.
It offers interesting cases, insightful analysis, and a helpful framework for managers responsible for developing successful collaborations in an increasingly complex and shrinking world."
–Edward E. Lawler III, director, Center for Effective Organizations, University of Southern California; and professor of business, University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

"A clear and insightful analysis of how functions and businesses can become more productive by improving collaboration. This well-constructed, easy-to-read book offers practical, usable conclusions. It is an essential handbook for any senior executive."
–Brian Cunningham, former marketing director, IBM Personal Systems, Europe

"Today’s highly competitive business environment demands successful global collaborations, yet many companies are frustrated trying to create them. This book provides the much-needed road map for success."
–Patrick S. Feely, president and CEO, Radica Games, Ltd.

Read More Show Less

What People Are Saying

From the Publisher

“The very nature of work has changed in our increasingly turbulent economy. We are now expected to work effectively with people we never see. We are expected to coordinate with people in other functions, other companies, other countries. How do we do these things? How do we span enormous distances and transcend traditional boundaries? How do we work in a world that discourages effective collaboration? Drawing from successful cases in highly visible companies, the authors answer these questions. They give us practical guidelines for resolving one of the most difficult issues of our time. This book is a must-read for anyone who seeks to flourish in the modern world of global business.”
—Robert E. Quinn, professor of business administration, University of Michigan Business School

“When it comes to organizational effectiveness, no issue is more central or challenging than collaborating across geographic, cultural, and organizational boundaries. This is the first book to make a comprehensive analysis of how to make these complex collaborations work. It offers interesting cases, insightful analysis, and a helpful framework for managers responsible for developing successful collaborations in an increasingly complex and shrinking world.”
—Edward E. Lawler III, director, Center for Effective Organizations, University of Southern California; and professor of  business, University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

“A clear and insightful analysis of how functions and businesses can become more productive by improving collaboration. This well-constructed, easy-to-read book offers practical, usable conclusions. It is an essential handbook for any senior executive.”
—Brian Cunningham, former marketing director, IBM Personal Systems, Europe

“Today’s highly competitive business environment demands successful global collaborations, yet many companies are frustrated trying to create them. This book provides the much-needed road map for success.”
—Patrick S. Feely, president and CEO, Radica Games, Ltd.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787959111
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/28/2004
  • Series: Business and Management Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.41 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Don Mankin is the president and founder of Co:e-laboration Design Associates, a consulting firm specializing in the development of complex collaborations involving dispersed teams, multiple organizations, and diverse cultures. He is the author of four books and numerous articles on team development, systems implementation, and collaboration in a global economy.

Susan G. Cohen is a senior research scientist at the Center for Effective Organizations at the University of Southern California. She is coauthor of two books and author of numerous articles and book chapters about teams and teamwork, employee involvement and empowerment, and human resource strategies.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1: Introduction – Business Without Boundaries in the New Global Economy.

CHAPTER 2: Across Organizations – The John Deere Construction and Forestry Technology Program.

CHAPTER 3: Across Time, Distance, and Culture – The Radica Games Group, Inc. Case.

CHAPTER 4: What the Radica Project Tells Us About Collaboration Across Time, Distance, and Culture.

CHAPTER 5: Across the Supply Chain – The Solectron Case.

CHAPTER 6: What the Solectron Initiatives Tell Us About Collaboration Across the Supply Chain.

CHAPTER 7: The Action Framework Part I – From Setting the Stage to Getting Started.

CHAPTER 8: The Action Framework Part II – Conducting the Project From Beginning to End.

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Business Without Boundaries

An Action Framework for Collaborating Across Time, Distance, Organization, and Culture
By Don Mankin Susan G. Cohen

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7879-5911-1


Chapter One

Introduction

Business Without Boundaries in the New Global Economy

People have worked together from the beginnings of civilization, and the forms of collaboration have barely changed since that time. Although a group of laborers building the pyramids of Egypt may seem to bear little resemblance to a team of machine operators working in a plant, the two groups actually have much in common. Both are made up of people of similar backgrounds, with clear loyalties and interests, interacting face to face to perform relatively well defined tasks in pursuit of a shared goal.

But things have changed in recent years. New technologies have made the world a smaller place and altered the nature of work. Competition and markets have become global, and knowledge is now the most important resource for organizations trying to make their way through an increasingly complex world. As a result, traditional forms of collaboration are no longer sufficient for competing effectively in this new, more demanding global business environment.

To meet constantly changing conditions and demands, business has to transcend boundaries to get what it needs regardless of where it exists-geographically, organizationally, and functionally. According to James Flanigan (2004, p. C-5), business columnist for the Los Angeles Times, "Companies large and small see the entire planet as a place to do business. As long as they have enough expertise, every human being on every continent is a potential employee. Borders are virtually irrelevant." In other words, we live in an era of business without boundaries, where competing effectively means collaborating across time, distance, organization, and culture. Organizations now have to go farther to find the right pieces and rapidly pull them together to create the best fit for their purposes. When circumstances change, they also have to be able to take these collaborations apart just as rapidly and start over with different pieces. In short, organizations need more complex collaborations to address the challenges of a more complex world.

These new collaborative forms are not like the teams of recent years. They may be strategic partnerships among multiple organizations with similar stakes in the outcome of the project, or they may involve virtual collaborations among people and teams working in different parts of the world. Collaborative value chains-collaborations among different organizations to produce a product or service that is primarily identified with one organization-are yet another emerging collaborative form. These collaborations are as complex as they are because of the number of people involved, the multiple organizational contexts within which they must function, and the potential psychological, cultural, and geographical distances that must be overcome. That is what this book is about: how to span these distances and transcend these boundaries to create collaborations that can address the business challenges of the new global economy.

In the next several chapters we will explore what these new, more complex collaborations look like, the challenges they face, and how to make them work. From our in-depth analysis of three case studies we will construct an action framework to help managers and executives compete successfully in the new world of global opportunities, boundary-spanning technology, and "anytime, anyplace" collaboration.

The New World of Complex Collaboration

To compete effectively in the new global economy, organizations are becoming increasingly dependent on more complex forms of collaboration. What are the characteristics of these collaborations, and what are the unique challenges they present? This is one of those situations where it's easier to define an expression by first describing its opposite-a "simple collaboration"-and then comparing a complex collaboration against this baseline. A simple collaboration is an ideal case: a situation that involves no barriers to be overcome, and where the collaborative process can flow unobstructed. The characteristics of simple collaborations and of their more complex counterparts are summarized in Table 1.1.

One characteristic of a simple collaboration is a simple task, where the inputs are predictable and manageable, and where the procedures for processing these inputs-that is, "the work"-are well defined. These are routine tasks and are characterized by low "uncertainty." In other words, both the nature and the timing of the inputs are predictable, and the procedures for dealing with these inputs are well defined and fixed. An assembly line task is an example of a task with low uncertainty: known objects (such as automobile chassis) moving down the assembly line at a predictable rate. The procedures for working on these objects-for example, mounting a particular part on each chassis-are also known, straightforward, and unvarying (see Pava, 1983).

A highly uncertain task-one in which the nature and the timing of the inputs are difficult to predict and the task procedures are not predetermined but require judgment-is more complex. What is typically referred to these days as "knowledge work" is characterized by high task uncertainty (Mohrman, Cohen, and Mohrman, 1995). New-product development, new-program development, process improvement, and the buying, selling, and manufacturing decisions involved in global supply chains would be examples of highly uncertain tasks.

The simplest kind of collaboration also involves only two people. With only one person, there is no collaboration, and with the addition of more than one other person the possibility of different goals, points of view, personalities, and so forth, increases significantly, as does the level of complexity.

In fact, differences of any kind make the collaborative task more complex. Two very similar people do not need to spend a great deal of time trying to understand each other's point of view, language, and expectations. The more diversity involved in the collaboration, however, the more obstacles to be overcome. By now everyone is familiar with the challenges of cultural diversity, but the challenges of organizational diversity, although less obvious, are just as important. People from different organizations who are involved in an interorganizational collaboration bring different agendas, goals, points of view, and even different cultures to the collaboration, and so these collaborations are far more challenging than they would be if the people involved were all from the same organization. Similarly, people from different functional units-engineering, manufacturing, marketing-within the same organization bring their different professional "thought worlds" (Dougherty, 1992) or cultures into the collaborative mix, and this kind of collaboration, too, is more complex than one among two like-minded engineers, for example.

Face-to-face collaboration is simpler than virtual collaboration. The immediacy, social cues, richness, and almost instantaneous reciprocity of a face-to-face interaction generally make it easier for two or more people to collaborate. But their task becomes more difficult if they have to interact via media that are less rich and more impersonal and that feature time delays between the back-and-forth responses that characterize successful collaborations.

All these factors can contribute to the complexity of a collaboration. Therefore, the important issue is not whether a collaboration is complex but how complex it is. From this definition we can see that complex collaborations go well beyond the images that typically come to mind when we think about collaboration-for example, two people who are working together on a face-to-face basis, or the internal processes that take place within intact, well-defined work teams. Complex collaborations involve individuals and formal teams, but they also encompass much more. Different individuals, teams, organizations, and cultures, often in dispersed locations, combine in various combinations to comprise the types of collaborations that are the focus of this book. The important thing is to understand that the more complex the collaboration, the more difficult it is, and the more effort is required to make it work. The challenge is to overcome the difficulty, to compensate for the complexity.

Showing how to do this is the purpose of this book.

An Action Framework for Designing Complex Collaborations

All collaborations, complex or otherwise, have the same foundation: people, the relationships among them, and the interpersonal processes that enable the people to work together. This is where collaboration begins; it is the petri dish within which collaboration breeds, grows, and develops. The success of any collaboration depends first and foremost on the people involved in it and on the nature and quality of their interrelationships and interactions.

As the discussion in the previous section suggests, however, complexity can distract or overwhelm even the most skilled, well-intentioned, and motivated collaborators. Therefore, the challenge is to manage complexity so that it enhances and energizes the collaboration instead of destroying it. We will show in the chapters that follow that the key is structure: well-defined roles, expectations, responsibilities, decision-making processes, and the like, make it easier for participants to get a handle on the many issues, problems, and challenges they have to face in making a complex collaboration work. Structure helps to focus action, informs decisions, serves as a buffer against distraction, and improves efficiency. Structure in and of itself is not the essence of collaboration, but it does reduce uncertainty and confusion and increases predictability, and it can make complex collaborations less complex and more manageable. The more complex the collaboration, the more structure is needed. Structure creates a zone of stability within which creative collaborations can develop and thrive.

These two dimensions-people and their relationships, on the one hand (the "soft" side of complex collaboration), and structure, on the other-are, of course, related and inseparable: structure supports collaborative relationships, and collaborative relationships can produce structure. These two dimensions are like intertwined threads weaving through the cases we present in this book and through our action framework. Both threads are needed in stitching up the fabric of complex collaborations; without both, the garment falls apart. These are the fundamental truths, the DNA, that underlie our action framework and our perspective on how to make complex collaborations work.

The Action Framework

The broad outline of our action framework is presented in Figure 1.1. In many respects, our action framework is similar to other, generic models for project management and organizational change (see, for example, Mohrman and Cummings, 1989). The difference with our framework is that we pay special attention to the challenges that arise when projects require collaboration across temporal, geographical, organizational, and cultural boundaries. How to structure, facilitate, and support these kinds of collaborations is the primary focus of the framework as we present it in this book.

The framework is composed of four loosely defined, overlapping phases linked in an upward-moving spiral.

Phase I: Setting the Stage. This is the phase of getting organizations ready for complex collaborations in general. In essence, this phase creates the potential and provides the impetus for moving forward.

Phase II: Getting Started with Specific Projects. This is the phase of initiating specific projects through the efforts of key people working together. Creating collaborative relationships among key people is one of the most critical steps in this phase.

Phase III: Creating the Infrastructure. This is the phase of developing the structure for the project, especially those elements that support collaboration, and outlining the processes to be followed in carrying out the project.

Phase IV: Doing the Work. This is the phase of carrying out project tasks, and of revisiting and revising the infrastructure and the processes as needed. While participants are doing the work, they can also learn from their successes and failures and use that information to modify their goals, plans, and tasks. Ultimately, these learnings can be used to develop the collaborative capabilities of the organization in general, setting the stage for even more ambitious collaborations down the road. That is why we depict two Phase I's in Figure 1.1. Each project does not end where it begins but instead sets the stage for a new round of complex collaborations built on experience and knowledge gained from projects that have come before.

In the next several chapters we will flesh out the skeleton of our action framework by examining three very different cases. These cases feature very different complex collaborations involving a variety of organizations pursuing diverse goals and operating under varying circumstances. The cases enable us to show how the action framework plays out in real life as we recount the actual challenges that participants faced, what they did and did not do in response to these challenges, and what happened as a result. On the basis of this information we will identify specific action steps that other organizations can follow in collaborating across their own temporal, geographical, organizational, and cultural boundaries.

About Our Cases

Our three cases, each more complex than the last, are also wide-ranging. They touch on many different aspects, enterprises, and regions of the emerging world of boundaryless collaboration:

Training programs for construction equipment service technicians

Development of electronic games

Manufacture of sophisticated computer network technology

Construction equipment dealerships in the heartland of North America

Product engineering teams in Hong Kong

Factories in southern China

High-tech companies in Silicon Valley

We chose to examine a small number of cases in depth instead of concentrating on a larger number of less intensive cases narrowly focused on specific practices, and our choice was dictated by the nature of our subject. Complex phenomena require complex cases to illustrate the many interrelated elements that make up those phenomena.

Continues...


Excerpted from Business Without Boundaries by Don Mankin Susan G. Cohen Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)