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Enabling knowledge creation in far‐flung teams: best practices for IT support and knowledge sharing

Arvind Malhotra (Assistant Professor, Kenan‐Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA (malhotra@bschool.unc.edu).)
Ann Majchrzak (Professor, Information and Operations Management, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA (majchrza@usc.edu).)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 1 August 2004

Abstract

This paper provides an insight into how companies faced with hypercompetitive environments are leveraging their globally dispersed knowledge resources through far‐flung teams. Far‐flung teams are virtual teams that are multi‐unit/multi‐organizational, multi‐functional, globally dispersed and conduct their interdependent activities mainly through electronic media with minimal or no face‐to‐face interactions. A multi‐phase multi‐method study of 55 successful far‐flung teams. The first phase followed a highly successful far‐flung team over a period of ten months. The second phase involved survey participation from members of several far‐flung teams in multiple companies across multiple industries. Distinct communication and knowledge sharing norms emerge in successfuly far‐flung teams. Four different types of IT support are required for task coordination, external connectivity, distributed cognition and interactivity. The communication and knowledge sharing norms that emerged can be used to test impact on failure/success of other far‐flung teams. The impact of each of the four disctinct types of IT support has to be taken into account when studying far‐flung teams. Teams have to achieve a strategic fit between task characteristics, team composition and information technology support to overcome the barriers to knowledge sharing and successful creation of new knowledge in extreme environments faced by far‐flung teams. This paper takes an extensive multi‐methodology empirical approach to exploring successful far‐flung teams. It provides a theoretical model for future research on far‐flung teams.

Keywords

Citation

Malhotra, A. and Majchrzak, A. (2004), "Enabling knowledge creation in far‐flung teams: best practices for IT support and knowledge sharing", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 75-88. https://doi.org/10.1108/13673270410548496

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited