Effective Virtual Teams
A virtual team also called a remote team is a group of persons who coordinate and work across space, time and organizational boundaries (Daft, 2013). Celestial Cooperation is an American firm that has used virtual teams to solve her hitches (Baba et al, 2004). Virtual group use communication technology to strengthen its web communication. Remote teams have three major aspects which are the purpose, links and people. Purpose forms the basic background of a virtual team. The purpose defines the goals that the team is supposed to achieve within a certain stipulated duration of time. The team lacks hierarchical ranking because members of the team could be from different organizations that have been brought together within a stipulated time frame to meet a certain stipulated objective.
In this competitive world, virtual teams stand for an instant rapid response to the necessity to a low cost and rapid solution to complex challenges that face organizations. The current world is experiencing incidences where a lot of firms are investing heavily in virtual teams (Celestial included) to meet their goals and solve problems that they face (Daft, 2013). Despite their rapid prevalence, little information is known about virtual teams. This study offers an extensive literature review of the existence and functionality of the virtual teams as well as reasons for the effective running of a virtual team.
Organizations face several unprecedented challenges resulting to the present day changing global trends. Most global economic activities are being integrated into globalization to enhance market expansions (Daft, 2013). There was a great technological gap between developing and developed countries. With the current technological advancements and electronic information, global distribution of responsibilities, work has become faster, easier and efficient. The technological upgrade has over the last years eliminated the geographical, social and cultural barriers and therefore enhanced the working of the virtual teams to achieve their intended goals and objectives (Daft, 2013). The advancement in global use of the internet enables large firms and organizations to frequently use the virtual teams to solve their problems. The information technology sector provides the infrastructural base and support for the development of new organizational forms and simultaneously provide leverage for scarce resources through geographical boundaries.
The four dimensional framework is key in the running of virtual teams. The framework works on a number of dimensions such as hierarchical collective wisdom, moving from bureaucracy to emergence, movement from orientation to obliquity and movement from extrinsic to intrinsic motivation (Daft, 2013). The four dimensional model is interlinked with the data and reasons provided in this report. In the USA, the virtual teams came into existence as early as the 1960s. At this time, the total quality management movement was in effect. In the 1980s and 90s companies used the self-management and empowerment teams. The later years witnessed the technological advancements virtual teams have been widely used on a global scale. It is from the global application of the virtual teams that the definition of the term developed. Gassmann and Von Zedtwitz defined a virtual group as an assembly of persons and sub teams who relate via interdependent task led by a common goal and work together and are geographically dispersed and coordinate their working abilities via electronic communication and information (video conferencing, emails, telephone e.tc).
The Celestial Cooperation was established in the 1980s and had a great background to conduct her commercial activities. The company has a variety of branches ranging from the USA, Europe, Asia and Latin America (Baba et al, 2004). The company’s development faced serious setbacks in the 1990s because of competition. The use of virtual teams was used to plot a strategy to solve the imminent complications that the firm was undergoing with a plan drafted to achieve a better future for the firm.
Several factors may have an effect on the working of a virtual team. Members of the team who have high focus attention and have a lower flow exhibit higher performance. Another example is if members have a high levels of attention would prefer asynchronous communication networks while the ones with lower levels of flow would prefer synchronous communication as the ideal channel.
The virtual teams face various problems. Poor leadership and management can lead to a total failure of the virtual team. Communication channels should be in a position to send clear and accurate emails and messages that have limited ambiguity (Daft, 2013). Inability to communicate and reach to the members of the team at the right time could have a significant impact on the project.
Having incompetent team associates that have inadequate experience in the field may affect the aptitude of the team (Boesch, 2007). Lack of self-drive, self-motivation and discipline can greatly derail the effectiveness and functionality of the team. Suppose a section of the team members are lazy and show little commitment to their work, their impact will directly derail the efforts and overall outcomes of the whole team (Daft, 2013).
Communication deficiency is the major setback that most struggling virtual teams face. Lack of efficiency in communication as a result of constraints arising from communication mediums lower the output of the team. People have a better communication in terms of vocal and body language. Virtual teams may face serious complications as a result of limitations arising from poor internet connection. Inability to effectively communicate and address a complication arising from inability to answer mails could result to frustration and eventual failure of the team (Baba et al, 2004). For instance, the case of Viola office in France where there was poor communication between the management and the retailers, Celestial company moved quickly to amend the situation by changing the management of the office and replacing it with a new team which would comprehensively initiate a good cordial relationship between the company with her clients and retailers (Baba et al, 2004). The customer care department was enhanced to timely respond to any query.
Time mix ups can be headache in the management of the virtual team. The differences in time zones could result to serious implications in terms of the time when the team are supposed to commence simultaneous tasks at a given time frame. Sacrificing by working during odd hours could offer a solution to such kind of problem. For the sake of Celestial cooperation, the varying time zones between its various offices in Americas, Europe and Asia can affect the interaction of the members.
Project managers coordinating teams from different global locations have a challenge to ensure that the team members have a perfect communication group. At times, a team is assembled but the big challenge under some circumstances is that members of the team use different languages as their means of communication. A team could be composed of Chinese, Spanish and English speaking personnel (Boesch, 2007). Such grounds make it extremely hard to allocate responsibility and roles because the members cannot communicate.
It is extremely hard to trust persons who someone has never met or briefly met. There is a necessity to develop trust and commitment among members for the success of the team. At some incidences it is hard to monitor the progress of some members because of their geographical location. The report they submit may not reflect the work they are performing on the ground. When the lie is unearthed, mistrust develops (Frishman & Sonnenschein, 2010).
Selection of well-disciplined and determined individuals is essential for the success of a virtual team. Self-drive is essential for the working of the virtual team. Self-drive is critical for the working of the group because the individuals have to work with minimal supervision and deliver their best (Boone & Kurtz, 2011). The development in terms of internet use has been a breakthrough in terms of overcoming language barrier because despite the language barrier, Google can interpret different languages and therefore these people can understand one another.
Investment in IT is critical in eliminating communication barrier while at the same time increase effectiveness and efficiency in keeping tabs with the advancement and setbacks facing every member of the virtual team. Video conferencing is the key in ensuring that the interaction of the team is almost physical, improves the individual bonding of the team and at the same time develops trust.
While there is an exponential increase in the number of companies expanding their operations to different countries cultural differences are a major setback in the operation of these firms (Boone & Kurtz, 2011). Knowing a country’s culture is a major breakthrough in adapting the market and cultural diversity of the people living in that particular location. In most cases, the success of businesses firms is greatly influenced by religion, language barrier, attitude and values. Managers of firms have to ensure their team fits perfectly in the culture of the people (Pico, 2002). Common cultural complications that face managerial firms are;
The power distance is where the less powerful individuals in a company accept the unequal distribution of power. The inequality in power affects the employees’ performance and service delivery at workplace. Under normal cases, the PDI (Power distance index) determines the functionality of the societies that are affiliated to a particular firm (Baba et al, 2004). Religion and culture have an impact on managing international companies. The culture of a particular country must be considered before and during the operations of a particular firm in a different country.
The Celestial company for instance faced a challenge in running her office in Hong Kong especially after an American was appointed to head the Hong Kong but faced serious challenge fellow employees who accused him of not respecting their culture and termed as being too American (Pico, 2002). Countries such as Saudi Arabia have an Islamic base and therefore for any company to operate in such environment it must abide to the Islamic rules, honor the Islamic rites, lifestyles and holidays (Frishman & Sonnenschein, 2010). Failure to do that, the consumer behavior and perceptions of the consumers will be changed. Dietary associated laws have to be observed. In Islamic states, for instance, pigs are not reared because they are viewed as unclean. Rearing of such breeds of animals that conflict with the religious background of the people would lead to withdrawal of consumers from purchasing the products manufactured and distributed by the specific country.
The aesthetical aspect has an impact on international marketing of any company. The artistic taste of culture is aesthetic value of a particular community. The artistic taste could be based upon music, colors, clothing design or even packaging. At times a certain dress code could be acceptable in one country while in another one viewed as a taboo (Pico, 2002). There is a necessity to carry out an extensive research in understanding to norms of a particular society before deciding which product would perform best in that country and avoid cultural and aesthetic row.
The divergence in terms of cultural setting affects the manner in which assembling people from different cultural backgrounds would affect the running of the team. The differences result to varied and diverse social norms, dos and don’ts and therefore task execution becomes a problem. The geographical differences of individuals even if they could be speaking the same language could result to misunderstanding of certain terms. Some words may have a certain meaning in one location while in the other place the word means a totally different concept.
The head of the virtual team is the project manager based in the USA (Baba et al, 2004). The mandate of the manager is to oversee the efficient and effective operations of the team. The assistant project manager coordinates the operations of the team and hands in regular reports concerning the progress of the team (Boone & Kurtz, 2011). The person is based in one of the other offices which are located in various global offices for instance the Viola office in France. The project manager and assistant project manager work to oversee that all the arms of the team effectively work to their best levels and hand in regular reports to the company that gave the mandate to run the virtual team and solve the impending problem that the firm is facing (Schedler, 2007).
The monitoring and evaluation department should be located in the Asian office to monitors and pinpoints the arm of the team that lags behind in terms of submitting their progress in time (Baba et al, 2004). The accounts office funds the team’s monetary demands and submits the team’s budget to the funding body. The rest of the team members’ work to see the set objective and work is effectively done.
Poor coordination and cooperation in running the team is a major reason why the team faces challenges in its running. To establish a performing and effective virtual team there is a necessity to integrate proper negotiation skills to accommodate varied opinions and point of view. Cognitively binds the team members together to achieve specific set group goals over individual ones. Proper communication and allocation of individual responsibilities and target to each team member churns the best out of every individual (Schedler, 2007). Close supervision and random checking of the progress of the individual team members’ progress by the assistant project manager ensure the team working is at per with the set targets and lazy individuals are identified in good time before it is late.
The implementation of the PFM by the Celestial company expanded the commercial outreach of the firm at the period when it’s major market; America during the period when the financial position of the country was undergoing financial crisis (Frishman & Sonnenschein, 2010). After an analysis and monitoring the feasibility of the PFM program a good commercial relationship was forged between retailers and company suppliers (Baba et al, 2004). The results were an exponential growth in terms of sales and increase in the profit margin.
The power is vested in Celestial’s top management who have the capacity to influence and change policies for the better working of the firm. Organized and proper coordination among a number of offices in the over 400 branches that the company has ensure the success and prosperity of the firm even in the event of financial crisis like it was in USA (Baba et al, 2004).
Enhancing proper customer care relations is essential in ensuring that their grievances regarding the quality of products Celestial Company produced marched their standards. Incorporation of women and youth in the formulation and structuring the future commercial trends of Celestial would work to ensure the needs of all ages across the board are adequately met.
There were several reasons that resulted to challenges that faced Celestial corporation. The abolishment of the French system and implementation of the American structure resulted to excessive implementation of the American (Boone & Kurtz, 2011). The results were the differed interests between the French and American sides with each striving to exhibit superiority over the other. In the Far East branch, Hong Kong to be specific tried to sabotage and force David Hyde to quit his job because he tried to over implement American policies in the Far East states.
The impending problem the corporation faced was members of the French team felt horrible in the manner affairs were run at the company (Schedler, 2007). They were unhappy with the manner in which affairs were run but the problem was they never openly discussed the problems to the other officials in neither other branches nor the main office.
Incorporation of both genders in the implementation of celestial policies is critical in ensuring the company empowers everyone in the society. Comparatively, there is a necessity of ensuring that the culture and lifestyle of the people in every region are respected. Understanding the consequences of importing a culture from an employee’s home country and introducing it to a foreign land could result to a conflict of interest as it was the case of Hong Kong.
Based on the four frame assessment, poor leadership is among the key reasons that could lead to the downfall of an organization. The four dimension of assessment outlines a number of bases where the framework is created (Schedler, 2007). The movement from hierarchical to collective wisdom can be applied in the Celestial corporation in a variety of ways. The principle of cooperative wisdom enhances development of trust among the team members. The principle enhances proper interaction and cooperation. Creativity and bonding is enhanced and incidences such as the one that occurred in the French office where employees are uncomfortable but cannot speak out are limited. The virtual team at some point can collectively apply the CODM model to solve impending problems that may arise (Moran et al, 2011). The principle also enhances the working of the virtual team because they frequently interact via blogs, twitter as well as video-conferencing. The internet based communication encourages collaborative sharing of knowledge.
The proper management of the Celestial cooperation is based on proper management. Interaction between virtual team members builds trust and confidence among the employees. Creation of proper communication channels among the over 500 branches that Celestial cooperation has worldwide ensures that the progress of every branch submits its periodical report and development (Boone & Kurtz, 2011). The drawbacks are identified and alternatives suggested (Baba et al, 2004). Creativity to identify the current best alternatives required to address a problem in good time. In the case of Celestial cooperation proper teamwork helped identify the American system as the best alternative to counter the falling French strategy (Moran et al, 2011). The four dimensional framework is the best basic background of identifying the problems that may be present in the cooperation and offering the best alternatives giving all the best available alternatives. The team has to evaluate the best alternatives that will enhance team work, cohesion and bonding with the aim of developing Celestial Cooperation and enabling it reach greater commercial heights.
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