This is a solution of Global Virtual Team Management Assignment which discuss about challenges, benefit and management of the global virtual team
Global virtual teams: These are the teams which work virtually through phones, emails and video- conferencing. These teams typically never meet each other face to face but they achieve desired targets as a team by sharing the knowledge and ideas virtually. These teams perform their designated tasks with limited or no physical interactions with each other. They mainly work through VOIP technology and sometimes other virtual meeting applications like Share Point.
Teams are those building blocks on which the success of an organization stands. They act talent pool of knowledge, skills, ideas and perspectives for the organizations. It comprises of people coming from different backgrounds, follow different cultures, speak different languages and have different value systems. Global virtual teams can create a competitive advantage for the company on international level if they are dealt effectively and efficiently by the leaders of the team (Shachaf, 2008). The main challenge for a leader is to bind together the members of the global virtual team to work with harmony with a common vision.
As The Director of Research and Development, the main aim behind having Global virtual teams will be,” Making diversity and distance, the competitive advantage of the company”.Multinational companies use their wide talent pool for the successful and effective completion of their projects by using Global Virtual Teams.
An effective global virtual team must have executive support for building a working environment based on mutual trust and collaboration with developed social group relationships among the members of the team. For the effective working of the global virtual teams the effective HR Practices must be followed in the organization. The effective HR practices must be on building collaborative behavior with the help of training for the development of skills of working with a diverse workforce virtually and building an informal community of virtual workers (Munkvold, 2007). Effectiveness of HR practices is calculated on the basis of succession planning and promotions done by HR department with constant follow up to ensure that members of virtual team are getting proper and deserved recognition and credit. Global virtual teams must be well structured as they play a crucial role in the success and achievement of organizational goals. The members of a virtual team are independent thinkers, must be ready to take initiatives and are able to tolerate ambiguity. They must be self motivators and self reliant individuals who understand the interdependence of working relationships.
Challenges faced for managing Global Virtual Teams:
In the era of globalization every company has to make its own position to be recognized in the international market policies that will be distinctive from others. The workforce in the companies is diverse and they pose challenges for the leader to manage the teams effective to get the desired output from the teams. When the teams are virtual teams and are not under direct face- to -face control of the leader. The challenges a leader face to manage the teams are: The global virtual teams are from different scenarios who are working for a common goal so the challenge for the leader is to make the whole team understand their basic motive of being together as a team. He has to make the goals and objectives of the company business plan clear in the minds of all team members so that they can give their best for the desired output. The roles and responsibilities to be fulfilled by each member of the team must be well defined, clearly stated and well communicated by the leader to the team. A leader must giver proper and concrete directions to the team according to the expectations of the management to achieve the desired goals. The next major challenge for a leader to is to set a healthy and open business communication with all the team members as they belong to different cultures and speak different languages so the challenge for the leader is to manage each member of the team with due concern for his culture and the language they speak. So the manager must use common language with phrases and idioms that is understood by all team members. The most important challenge a manager has to deal with is of building trust in the team. Trust acts as a medicine to reduce the potential grievances among team members. If member trust each other and their leader the productivity of the team will be increased (Malhotra, 2007). Team being a global virtual team is a mixture of people belonging to different cultures. So they pose a challenge to the leader that every member should have some knowledge about various cultures that will be represented in a team. The leader should an in-depth study about various cultural back grounds. Each member should talk with each other to gain knowledge about various cultures. This will help in building a harmonious environment in the team and members will be more committed for achieving the desired objectives. Stereo-type thinking should not be there in global virtual teams as this can lead to misinterpretations about the members of the team. Other major challenge for a leader is to manage teams of different time zones. As virtual teams work through video conferencing, emails etc so at the time of meeting for al team members some members have to attend the meeting the odd timings due to different time zones so it is the responsibility of the leader to manage the meetings hours in such a manner that every time same member of the team should not face the problem of attending meeting in odd hours (Kanawattanachai, 2007). The meeting hours should be fixed in such a way that every member gets a chance to compromise for the team in terms of attending the meeting in odd hours.
Benefits of a global virtual team:
If a leader manages the challenges stated above he will have benefits of having a global virtual team and these benefits are: the cost of having global virtual teams is less than having normal teams. The benefit of conducting a meeting any time with more frequency is also there which is not possible in case of normal teams. The heterogeneity in global virtual teams because the team belongs to different cultures, backgrounds and value systems leads to more creative and innovative ideas than a normal homogenous team (Kankanhalli, 2007). The duplication of work is eliminated in the case of global virtual teams as each member performs his tasks for providing solutions to companywide problems which in case of normal teams is overburdened by duplication of work as the problem is dealt separately by each division of the company and at business management level.
Steps to manage a global virtual team:
The global virtual team is composed of members from different backgrounds with different value systems.
- The leader has to understand this diversity in their value systems and be available for every member whenever they need any help or assistance of the leader for the completion of the task or achieving the objectives of the company. The leader should make both formal and informal relations with the members so that he can help them formally in the completion of their duties and informally he can make them feel valued by the company.
- The leader should organize regular meeting with the members of the team. These meeting should be at individual and whole team level. This will help the leader to understand the issues of the team as a whole and at individual level. The leader by conducting regular meetings can revise the objectives and goals of the teams in the minds of the members and by eliminating their doubts and grievances he can lead to productive outcomes.
- The leader not only builds informal relations with every member on his own but he should encourage informal meetings between the team members. So that they can understand each other’s culture well and can have a relation of trust and respect with each other.
- The leader must ensure the rotation of members of the team for short period of time in different locations. So that the barriers between the members of the team can be easily removed as by doing these members of the team will get a chance to know each member in a much better way in terms of cultures and value systems etc.
- Creativity is a quality of a leader which he has to show in managing the global virtual teams. He should find out new ways to motivate team for performing better. This can be done by arraigning a small trip with all members so that Team bonding can be created in the members of the team. A leader can plan surprise gifts for all team members whenever they achieve a target and ask all the members to share their experiences on video conferring with all other members about the achievement of the target and feeling after they received the gifts for their achievements.
Global virtual teams must take into account while working the latest and changing business trends. This information will be helpful in formulating effective polices for the working of virtual teams. The leader of the virtual team must form short term and long term goals for the achievement of the objectives of the company. He should take regular follow ups from the members and closely evaluate the achievement of the goals of the company and if any deviation is found corrective measures should be taken to achieve goals in an effective and efficient manner. The leaders of virtual teams must focus on building relationships with team members as physical interaction among members is next to nil. The leader must have excellent communication skills analysis with emotional intelligence. He must keep track record of production and transactions held between the members of the team. Team members must respect the contribution made by each team member and his strengths, so the members of the global virtual teams must be cultural savvy and must always be ready to help each member of the team I solving problems with creative and innovative solutions.
- Dekker, D. M., Rutte, C. G., & Van den Berg, P. T. (2008). Cultural differences in the perception of critical interaction behaviors in global virtual teams.International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 32(5), 441-452.
- Kankanhalli, A., Tan, B. C., & Wei, K. K. (2007). Conflict and performance in global virtual teams. Journal of Management Information Systems, 23(3), 237-274.
- Kanawattanachai, P., & Yoo, Y. (2007). The impact of knowledge coordination on virtual team performance over time. Mis Quarterly, 783-808.
- Malhotra, A., Majchrzak, A., & Rosen, B. (2007). Leading virtual teams. The Academy of Management Perspectives, 21(1), 60-70.