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Project Objective

Discuss about the Challenges Managing Global Teams for Literature Review.

The businesses are not limited to a single country or boundary. They are going global which are creating lot of challenges for the managers to manage and handle teams at global levels. The teams of a single business are located at various locations which creates a difference of culture, language, understanding, time zones and methods of doing business. It makes business processes complex and creates a need for the teams to prepare for such complex situations which might occur in future. People from diverse cultures and foreign backgrounds have faces differences in the working culture and procedures. Therefore, it creates challenges for managing global teams in an organisation for superiors and managers. The project will be concentrated on the management of global teams and what challenges are faced while managing the multicultural teams.  Project scope and objective will be defined and the views and opinions of various authors will be discussed which will end with a meaningful conclusion.

The main objective of the project is to find out the major challenges which are faced by the organisations while managing global teams and to identify the reasons behind it. The project also aims at finding out the methods through which these challenges can be met.

The scope of the project is wide. Global teams are being employed with a rapid speed nowadays by the multinational organisations in order to integrate the knowledge and resources from various parts of the world. It creates challenges for the organisations which need to be resolved and met. This project will help in creating the insights for the type of challenges which an organisation can face while managing global teams and how each challenge can be met. It will help the freshly started firms and organisations to handle complex situations and to develop strategic advantages for gaining success in the highly competitive business environment. It is because it helps in exchanging the viewpoints from different perspectives which helps in delivering better solutions to the problems.

According to Gibbs and Boyraz (2014), global teams offer an opportunity to the companies to operate at an international scale and to meet every challenge with broader perspective. Global teams have greater risks and challenges in comparison to the local teams in terms of their cultures, different time zones, different backgrounds and methods of operation which also hampers their normal business operations. The teams operating at various physical locations meet rarely and communicate through technological mediums like internet, telephones, video calls and faxes.

Project Scope

Globalisation of business helps in increasing the efficiency of the organisation and also lowers down the costs of the companies. It enhances innovation and performance of the companies which helps it in excelling the industry at a global level. Global teams are the ones which are formed across various geographical locations and cultural boundaries to achieve diverse expertise and knowledge. It helps organisations in lowering down the costs and in getting more benefits than handling the teams at a local level. The managers have to give multiple commitments at the same time and have to be present for all the teams at an equal level which also create stress and burden for the managerial level. The team members operate from remote areas and different physical locations which creates lack of awareness and interest in each other. The more dispersed teams are, more personal attachment with the common motive of the project is found.  They make their own contributions at the local level but fail to understand the mutual benefit and interests of the team as a whole.

In addition to this Rodrigues and Sbragia (2013) says that the internationalisation of the businesses brings new reality into the corporate world. The cultural differencesbetween the societies and government brings up challenges in managing global teams. The Hofstede cultural dimensions theory clears up the same. There are four dimensions proposed by Hofstede which are Power Distance index, Individualism versus collectivism, masculinity versus femininity and uncertainty avoidance (Rinuastuti, Hadiwidjojo, Rohman and Khusniyah, 2014).  These dimensions represent the differences between the national cultures. Every country has different level of indexes which brings differences in their perception and processes. One country might be more collectivism than individualism. It depends on the country’s wellbeing and quality that how they handle different situations and take various decisions. Hofstede started the research in 1960’s which continued for more than 30 years. The work patterns and culture of more than 50 countries of IBM were studied. All the above discussed culture values specifies that how the difference in cultures can affect the working patterns of the teams (Hofstede, 2011).

A manager in an organisation has to play diverse roles. A manager has to be focussed on the Human Resource Planning for managing different teams at different locations. To retain the best talent of the organisation, the company has to take care of their needs and to influence them to stay with the organisation for the longer period of time. There are lot of benefits of going global. It benefits in attaining talents human resources across the globe and expertise which helps in solving the complex situations but it also creates hurdles and challenges for the companies. One of the biggest challenges is the delay in the process of decision making due to the distances between teams. It becomes very tough to arrange everyone at the same time to take quick decisions because of the difference of time zones. Face to face communication is not possible between the teams which lacks in increasing the collaboration from different teams and slower down the decision making processes and its execution (Lilian, 2014).

Literature Review

It also brings lack of clarity because of the differences in the native languages of different teams located at different geographical locations. Because of this distance the significant data gets lost. The corporateculture in every country is different because of which teams find it different to grab the culture of other team which affect the ultimate result of the project or task on which the teams are working together. Communication is the integral part of the success of the teams and their projects (Reilly, 2015).

The development of technology brought new opportunities for the companies to communicate and operate across the world which made it easier for the companies to operate and to gain success.  The organisation has to be very selective and wise while choosing the mode of communication between the global teams. The failure in choosing the right method of communication can lead to misunderstandings and can also hamper the productivity of the teams as a whole (Markovi?, Krumov and Nikitovi?, 2014).


The other challenge is culture. Culture can be defined as the programming done in the mind which makes one person of the group different from other. It includes the traits and the differences which influence the thinking, interpretation, perception, activities and assumptions of people. The differences in culture influence the communication of the people and it affects the work process of the companies in different countries. It is not necessary that different cultural backgrounds will have conflicts but the chances of the same increases. Culture lead to the formation of subgroups which form their own opinions and restrict themselves. They tend to oppose whatever other subgroup suggests and that is why it leads to more confusion and complexities. It creates serious communication barriers which in turn lead to the poor management of global teams. The project managers must have intercultural competence in order to meet the challenge of different cultures within the teams of the same project. The managers need to analyse and understand the differences between the cultures and to adapt a leadership style which brings a uniform culture and understanding between different teams (Kardes, Ozturk, Cavusgil, and Cavusgil, 2013).

Other challenge is of different time zones. Due to different time zones the teams working at different geographical locations get limited time to contact and communicate with each other. It hampers the critical projects of the company where delays cannot be accepted. The advent of technology has made easier for the teams to communicate but still, time holds the most important place. The timing of message delivery is important for the successful communication between teams.

As perHuang (2016) people from different cultures creates a challenge for the teams. It is the responsibility of the project manager to bring down the obstacles and to create an environment among the teams which helps them in connecting with each other. There should be a common culture of the organisation which is to be followed by the teams at various geographical locations and in different departments of the same organisations. The common culture created in the company will help the employees to adjust in the organisation’s environment as soon as possible (Schuler, Tarique, and Jackson, 2004).

The manager is the central figure in every project and it depends on his/ her skills that how the teams will be managed to get the most out of the efforts given by the team members. The manager should set the clear criteria of performance which should be uniform for all the teams. It helps in reporting the results of the team efforts. It is very important to have a right personal mind-set for managing the multicultural teams (Klitmøller and Lauring, 2013).

As per Huang (2016), a survey conducted in different countries which helped in analysing the challenges and problems faced by the teams in different countries. The study was conducted on the assumption that the customer is an automobile company from America and technical design partner is from Germany. Production is done in China and project manager is in States. As per the results, it was clear that the local work practices of every country play a big role in the project execution and implementation. There is a different work philosophy of every country which is followed while completing the project.  It is very difficult to change the local mind-set of people. For e.g. Chinese divided the whole project in parts and move forward in steps. They follow autocratic leadership style and are hardworking. On the other hand, Germans understand their work and work as per their knowledge. They work as per schedule and strictly observe the progress of the work. Americans can be considered as the combination of both Germans and Chinese. They systematically move forward after analysing the objective of the project and then take steps to move forward (Thamhain, 2013)

As per Roper (2015), the companies and the managers of the global teams should create space for everyone to speak in a global team.  Their diversity should be respected which will manage the situation more effectively. Global team managers should have quality to navigate through time zones. For this meeting planner tools can be used. Time variances can be managed easily by using these tools. The managers should be aware of the national and local holidays of the nations in which they are dealing. It will help in getting the emotions and availability of the team members sitting in other countries. The cultural differences between the members of the teams should also be respected. The cultural backgrounds of the team members should be researched well in order to understand their efforts and steps they take. A common software platform should be shared with all so that it becomes easy for the team to connect and communicate. It also makes scheduling of the meetings easier. Right tools can be used to bring in the collaboration within the team members (Heizmann, 2015).

The world is going to be complex in the coming years. It generally requires change in the methods used by the company with an improved tendency towards globalisation. Global teams have advantages as they tend to be more flexible and adapt quickly in the changing external environment. It also provides different perceptions to solve the complex problems in the company. The organisation which learns how to use the power of their globally dispersed teams can succeed in future. It mainly involves communication which focuses on exchanging the ideas and views of different teams with each other and conveying the meaning of the messages. It depends on the project managers that how they allow team to communicate and what tools them use to make the most of the given resources and tools (Ye, et. al.,, 2016).

Conclusion

It can be concluded that global teams and their management is a big challenge for the companies.  There are issues of communication and also the differences of culture bring insensitivity among the members which disrupts the success of the team as a whole. The biggest challenge is to narrow down the gap between the teams which are sitting in different countries and have different cultures and time zones. It is a challenge for both the team members and managers. The managers need to be aware of the political and social changes of different teams which help in reducing the conflicts between the teams. It also helps in meeting deadlines of the projects which improves the timing of the projects and overall success rating of the teams. The managers are required to identify these challenges and make sure that the teams can feel to be the part of the same culture and standards which will make them feel valued by the management. It is seen that the culturally aware management and cross culture communication among the teams can lead to better management of the companies and their projects.

References

Gibbs, J L and Boyraz, M (2014). International HRM’s Role in Managing Global Teams. The Routledge companion to international human resource management, pp.532-551.

Heizmann, H., 2015. Working across cultural spheres: the knowledge sharing practices of boundary spanners in a global insurance firm. Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 7(1), pp.1-16.

Hofstede, G., 2011. Dimensionalizing cultures: The Hofstede model in context. Online readings in psychology and culture, 2(1), p.8.

Huang, J(2016). The challenge of multicultural management in global projects. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 226, pp.75-81.

Jones, N.B. and Graham, C.M., 2015. Virtual teams in business and distance education: Reflections from an MBA class. Journal of Business & Economic Policy, 2(1), pp.49-59.

Kardes, I., Ozturk, A., Cavusgil, S.T. and Cavusgil, E., 2013. Managing global megaprojects: Complexity and risk management. International Business Review, 22(6), pp.905-917.

Klitmøller, A and Lauring, J  (2013). When global virtual teams share knowledge: Media richness, cultural difference and language commonality. Journal of World Business, 48(3), pp.398-406.

Lilian, S.C., 2014. Virtual teams: Opportunities and challenges for e-leaders. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 110, pp.1251-1261.

Markovi?, D., Krumov, K. and Nikitovi?, Z., 2014. Challenges in managing cross-cultural virtual project teams. International review, (1-2), pp.7-24.

Reilly, P., 2015. Managing across borders and cultures. Strategic HR Review, 14(1/2), pp.36-41.

Rinuastuti, H., Hadiwidjojo, D., Rohman, F. and Khusniyah, N., 2014. Measuring Hofstede’s five cultural dimensions at individual level and its application to researchers in tourists’ behaviors. International Business Research, 7(12), p.143.

Rodrigues, I and Sbragia, R(2013).The cultural challenges of managing global project teams: a study of brazilian multinationals. Journal of technology management & innovation, 8, pp.4-4.

Roper, J (2015). How to manage a global team [Online]. Available from https://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/how-to-manage-a-global-team [Accessed 15 April].

Schuler, R S, Tarique, I and Jackson, S E, 2004. Managing human resources in cross-border alliances. In Advances in mergers and acquisitions (pp. 103-129). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Thamhain, H (2013). Managing risks in complex projects. Project management journal, 44(2), pp.20-35.

Ye, R., Wang, X.H., Wendt, J.H., Wu, J. and Euwema, M.C., 2016. Gender and managerial coaching across cultures: female managers are coaching more. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 27(16), pp.1791-1812.

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