- Research Feature
- Read Time: 23 min
Teams that are basically left to run themselves can be highly efficient and productive. To be successful, though, such autonomous groups require a specific type of external leadership.
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Many companies have developed strong leaders for business units but have overlooked developing people who act in the interest of the whole organization. Understanding three issues can help: What are the key elements of the enterprise leader‘s job? Why is learning to lead at the enterprise level so challenging? What can companies do to identify and develop enterprise leaders?
For many product-oriented companies, establishing a corporate consultancy can be a good first step toward a more solutions-based orientation. As Ericsson, Shell and AT&T, among others, illustrate, the consulting unit can take a number of forms dictated by its key knowledge base and its relation to the product businesses‘ value chain. The challenge is to determine how similar the consulting unit should be to the parent company in identity, mission and structure.
Vertical “command and control” sabotages organizations that need bottom-up innovation to be competitive. Yet organizational integration is increasingly essential. New research shows how technology is helping cutting-edge companies meet the challenge by integrating horizontally.
Traditional teams are not faring well in today business environment because they are too inwardly focused and lack flexibility. The authors detail the high levels of performance of a new, externally focused team, the X-team and outline the five components of X-teams they have studied.
During the 1980s, Benetton was known as the archetypal network organization. But it decided to take a new direction representing a major discontinuity with its past and a divergence from industry practices. Without giving up the strongest aspects of its networked model, it integrated and centralized, exerting greater control over its supply chain even as it diversified its operations and product lines. The authors offer a detailed case study of this dramatic transformation.
Research shows that the most successful strategic alliances are in companies that have a dedicated function specifically assigned to oversee alliances. Such companies more readily solve problems related to the four key alliance-management elements — knowledge management, external visibility, internal coordination and accountability.
How one company implemented a “telework” program that transformed paper-based processes and reliance on voice communications into automated procedures supported by full-scale connectivity.
How a diverse group of IT managers responsible for global technology infrastructure developed a way of working together that enabled Xerox to create and transfer knowledge more effectively.
Current models of organizational strategy and structure fail to meet the challenges of the information age. Based on field study, the authors conceptualize an architecture, or guide, for virtual organizing that focuses on the importance of knowledge and intellect in creating value. Information technology lies at the heart of this business model for the twenty-first century.
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