New Working Format Model: e-Work in Web 2.0 Era Collaborative Telework as Knowledge Creation

Mayumi Hori


In this paper, I propose the road map to lead Telework to more advanced and professional working format by Collaborative Telework through building KCC(Knowledge Collaboration Center). As a result, a new working format -e-work focusing on telework- has emerged which has enabled people to choose alternative working styles. Japanese & Korean working women have a serious problem called M-shape curve, which shows labor force participation rates by age group. There are two peaks in aged 21-25 and aged 45-49 and with a bottom in aged 30-34 when they have to take care of their child. The age 25-35 with baby have to decide to chose work or home (childcare). It is difficult to continue working with baby at hard working conditions. In other advanced countries, women need not chose work or home. They can chose work and home also if they wish when they have a baby. Collaborative Telework will be one of the strong solutions and effective for human resource and construct the circumstance of knowledge-based society which shows what the working should be in web2.0 era.

There is a major impact of ICT on working environment. Other conspicuous factors contributing to these changes are the aging of society, the trend toward fewer children, globalization of the economy, and increasing concern about fair corporate competition internationally. All of these megatrends are forcing companies, domestically and internationally, to review and revise some of the traditional employment practices that were the strengths of Japanese companies during the period of high economic growth. Naturally, ICT and the changing social and business environments are having a strong impact on the labor environment. Combined with a generally increased presence of women in the workforce, all of these trends are forcing companies to alter their traditional stance that women should play only a supporting role. Many companies are now seriously exploring the potential of women as integral members of the corporate team. ICT is not merely increased the number of jobs. It is actually creating entirely new types of jobs. As a work option, telework is a “new work format” with enormous potential for revolutionizing conventional work and employment formats. Along with these changes, more women today are better educated than ever before thus willing to build their career resulting in a shift in their attitude toward work. However, there are still few women engaging in high-level decision making processes or utilizing their expertise. Consequently, the rapid growth of the female workforce has increased the interests in the potential of telework as an avenue for Japanese women to fully exercise their capabilities.

Telework still is not a popular working style, although it has made an appearance in the1980s in Japan, The reasons why telework is not so popular in Japan are as follows: first, “face to face” communication is highly valued in Japanese culture, thus working in the office with colleagues is regarded as the best working environment. Secondly, many Japanese have not yet been introduced to this new working style. Thirdly, Japanese decision making is carried out through group-style management, which is one of the prominent features of Japanese management. Majority of teleworkers are often excluded from the decision making process in business as they are hired as a means of outsourcing. They can not take an objective and a comprehensive outlook on the job itself. Although telework has been considered merely as a means of outsourcing in Japan, ICT has increased the potential for its expansion, resulting in the conception of Collaborative Telework. Consequently, as the global economy continues to move further from a manufacturing base more towards a service base in web2.0 era, the demand for Collaborative Telework will grow. Thus, the critical factor becomes a process of determining how to divide and distribute the work by both its nature and quality.

The concept of Collaborative Telework is to build a society where diversity is embraced and creativity appreciated, thereby allowing workers to pursue their mission in a coordinated manner. Collaborative Telework, which transcends the boundaries of traditional telework, may play a significant role in realizing this harmonized vision of a knowledge -based society. It generates innovative ways to make effective use of human resources of both in-house and outside staffing with ICT. Better managing human resources may enable in-house teleworkers to promote and maintain their mental and physical health. Additionally, deconstructing the existing structure of an organization by adopting telework would permit the viewing of the system and its internal relationships within the organization. This encourages the discovery of new connections to be drawn between different branches of the organization of same or different ontological levels. By doing so, they will be able to allocate financial and human resources appropriately and avoid bottlenecks. What is more, through efficient coordination and collaboration, organizations will be able to share the know-how and the expertise that each worker possesses. The Collaborative Telework requires one to work toward common goals with other members of the group who have perspectives other than one’s own. It can also assist group members in creating a shared new value and understanding.

In a knowledge-based society, personal knowledge is required to transform into organizational knowledge for the benefit of business, administrative activities and. Collabolative Telework is designed as knowledge-creation system, which enables and encourages people with different expertise in different regions to collaboratively exchange their know-how and knowledge to positively affect policies and decision-making processes. In addition, it is required to be accompanied with knowledge-Creation Center (KCC), which is called. KCC serves to manage and solve problems systematically by sharing, exchanging and learning knowledge, skills, experiences among collaborative teleworker.