Virtual Teams: Making It Work
Virtual teams are composed of employees who are physically dispersed throughout the nation or around the world. They are linked by various forms of electronic technology. Face-to-face contact is usually minimal or nonexistent. Virtual teams face several challenges: time zone differences, which make quick information exchanges difficult, and cultural miscues, which can cause misunderstandings. When teams don’t meet in person, its less likely they will develop the kind of chemistry common to productive teams that have face-to-face meetings. Many virtual teams are in continuous danger of becoming dysfunctional.
Recent research has identified certain traits and practices common to most virtual teams. Here are a few important rules for making these teams productive.
- Choose a few team members who already know each other. This will speed up the process of building networks among team members. Invest in online resources that help all team members quickly learn about one another.
- Ensure the task is meaningful to team members and the company. Assign tasks that are challenging and interesting.
- The virtual team should include “boundary spanners,” persons who have many connections to useful people outside of the team.
- Develop a team mission statement along with teamwork expectations, project goals, and deadlines.
- Create an online site where team members can collaborate, exchange ideas, and motivate one another. The team should have a shared online work space that all members can access 24 hours a day.
- Encourage frequent communication and try to reach agreement about preferred communication tools.
- If you are a virtual team leader, find ways to mark team progress toward goals.
Instructions: Answer the questions below for this assignment. Keep in mind the information preceding the instructions when preparing your paper, and ensure that you follow the format for this assignment provided immediately following the Questions.
1. In your opinion, which of the five dysfunctions of a team would be the greatest barrier to virtual team productivity? Defend your answer.
- Absence of trust: Trust is considered the foundation of effective teamwork.
- Fear of conflict: Teams that lack trust are not capable of engaging in open, unfiltered debate.
- Lack of commitment: When team members fail to voice their views openly during passionate debate, they rarely buy-in and commit to decisions.
- Avoidance of accountability: Without commitment and buy-in, team members are often hesitant to call their peers on actions and behaviors that seem counterproductive to the good of the team.
- Inattention to results: Failure to hold one another accountable creates an environment where team members put their own needs above the collective goals of the team.
2. What can be done to avoid information overload when a virtual team is made up of 25 or more members?
Research Paper Instructions:
Submit your work as an MS WORD ATTACHMENT in either a .doc, .docx, or .rtf format. No other file format can be accepted (i.e., no .pdf, read-only, or Apple file formats).
Write a 1-2 page paper regarding your findings, using APA format, and submit no later then Sunday, midnight. Your paper must have an introduction, body, and conclusion. In addition, papers longer than 2 pages will not be read after the second page. As such, please ensure that all questions are answered within the first two pages, as your grade will be based on the first two pages received. Your paper must include a reference page, title page, and in-text citations for all listed references in accordance with the APA manual, 6th edition chapters 6 (citation formatting) and chapter 7 (reference/source formatting).
Please support your ideas, arguments, and opinions with independent research, include at least three (3) supporting peer-reviewed references or sources (do NOT use Wikipedia, encyclopedias, unknown, undated, or anonymous sources, such as websites), include a reference section, and cite all listed references properly in your paper, in accordance with the 6th edition of the APA manual, chapters 6 & 7.
Please ensure that you review the grading rubric (click on checkerboard under grade details above) for this assignment carefully, to ensure that you receive the highest possible grade for your work!