The Virtual Environment - Essay Example

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University of Richmond
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A virtual environment is a representation of a setting that is computer-generated, three-dimensional, and in which the individual using the technology feels to be operating in and where interactions can occur (Earnshaw, (2014). It is also referred to as virtual space, virtual landscape, or virtual world. It is a computer simulation of a real system, and it enables the user to perform functions on the simulated system, showing the effects in real time. Virtual environments are commonly used in medical research, simulations, and gaming.

A virtual organization is one that utilizes virtual environments such that its entities including the employees and the entire enterprises are detached and disseminated. Such a structure relies on information technology in supporting their work and communication. A virtual organization has the form of a real corporation from the outside but is inexistent physically. These kinds of entities are faced with various challenges otherwise known as soft issues in conducting the organizational functions. Leading in such a setting can prove to be an uphill climb, especially for those individuals who have familiarized with conventional work groups (Ebrahim, Ahmed, & Taha, (2009). The challenges experienced are categorized in areas of communication, culture, interpersonal relations, technological, and economic drawbacks.

Communication is an integral factor in the success of any business entity. In a virtual organization, communication determines the efficiency and survival of the entity. Since virtual organizations involve autonomous and international employees, drawbacks like different time zones and language barriers could be encountered. Additionally, complications might develop in collaboration between associates since this setting allows for minimal face-to-face interaction. This lack of multiple communication can paralyze the effectiveness of the workers and eventually affect the survival of the organization. Culture entails a very crucial element in any organization. The culture of a firm defines how activities are carried out, and the way employees conduct their roles. In other words, culture shapes the image of an organization. Virtual organizations comprise of workers from all over the world who are self-reliant and possess different cultural grounds (Lipnack, & Stamps, 2008). Such a mixed up team will also have different approaches to work and a set of distinctive philosophies. Integrating these differences requires a lot of vigilance on the part of the management to ensure that every team member feels respected and appreciated.

Interpersonal relations form part of the communication process but is narrowed down to the interactions among the team members. To achieve success in virtual management will necessitate valuable communication and cooperation among the team members. Since the team is composed of members from various parts of the world with dissimilar perceptions and ideologies, conflicts could easily arise (Lipnack, & Stamps, 2008). It is, therefore, upon the management of the virtual organization to ensure a solid relationship is built among its team members despite being distant from each other. Policies that could foster trust among the team members can also be implemented. Building trust will ensure that associates can entrust the operations of particular functions to the other team members allocated such tasks. Favorable interpersonal relations will translate to successful relationships even with the management.

Virtual organizations depend entirely on technology for their survival since all their operations are internet-based. Therefore, it is important that all the associates and other individuals in the organization possess similar technological tools. The software, hardware, and the operating system in use have to possess compatibility failure to which the efficiency of the virtual organization will be compromised. For instance, incompatibility in any of the technological tool would result in critical information being inaccessible to some team members which paralyze the performance of the entire organization. Additionally, issues of security and data protection are critical since all the information in a virtual organization are transmitted digitally. If there are loopholes in the system, critical and possibly confidential information may be linked out and end up in the wrong hands and possibly compromise the position of the organization (Lipnack, & Stamps, 2008). To avoid such inconveniences, the management should conduct continuous control and evaluation of the technology in use to prevent it from being outdated and avoid loss of opportunities. Virtual organizations are not exceptional to economic challenges. The process of setting up the organization, purchasing equipment, and maintaining the system is considerably costly. The processes of measuring, evaluating, and tracking the work being carried out within the various departments are also costly in a virtual setting. When there is lack of an efficient process of performance evaluation, workers may become reluctant leading to loss of profits.

In summary, virtual environments are settings generated in three dimensions that allow the user to feel as if he or she is in that setting and can interact with other users. It is in such a setting that a virtual organization is created. A virtual organization has its employees and all other enterprises detached and disseminated, takes the form of a real corporation from the outside, yet it is physically inexistent. Although it has some advantages, a virtual organization encounters challenges in areas of communication, culture, interpersonal relations, technological, and economic hindrances. However, the management can find a solution to all these challenges.



Ale Ebrahim, N., Ahmed, S., & Taha, Z. (2009). Virtual teams: A literature review.

Earnshaw, R. A. (Ed.). (2014). Virtual reality systems. Academic Press.

Lipnack, J., & Stamps, J. (2008). Virtual teams: People working across boundaries with technology. John Wiley & Sons.



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