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Question:

Write a Literature Review on Challenges Managing Global Teams.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

The objective of this research work is to conduct the research in the field of managing global teams. With globalization and internationalization, organizations have expanded in different parts of the world. Therefore, it is important that organizations must learn the ways to manage the global teams (Govindan & Rajendran, 2015). The research work is done for the multinational organizations in Australia that have to manage their business globally. The research would be useful for BHP Billiton which have to manage their operations in different countries.

Challenges Managing Global Teams

  1. Project Objective
  2. Project Scope
  3. Literature Review

Doh & Quigley (2014)  argued that in an organizational setting, employees are the most important assets for organizations and therefore, it is important that organizations should provide a culture where employees can work with higher productivity levels. There is a need for multinational organizations to manage global teams but talent is wide spread and the organizations may not be able to get the desired talent. For example, an organization situated in Australia may want to best engineers with adequate technical knowledge and there is a possibility that the engineers are present in India. Therefore, it would make sense for Australian company to get the talent from Indian market. There would be further challenges to manage the employees from different countries. However, it appears that the benefits outweigh the challenges or limitations. It is also important that organizations should have a long-term plan and vision in place to hire and recruit the people from different nationalities. There also exist various cultural and other issues with global workforce; however, it is expected that the stakeholders would manage these issues at individual level and would ensure that the quality of organizations’ products and services is not compromised (Langley & Smallman, 2013).

 


Helms and Mills (2017) highlighted that managers who actually lead global teams are up against stiff challenges. Creating successful work groups is hard enough when everyone is local and people share the same office space. But when team members come from different countries and functional backgrounds and are working in different locations, communication can rapidly deteriorate, misunderstanding can ensue, and cooperation can degenerate into distrust. Therefore, it is important that organizational leaders and managers should have a complete understanding of the issues that can exists with employees. There are three main challenges to manage the global teams. The first and the most important challenge is the cultural challenge. The employees form different cultural backgrounds have different thinking style and it can affect the working of organization as a whole. For example, Australians are more extrovert than Chinese in their work. When a Chinese employee is working with an Australian employee that Chine employee can feel offensive. Authors argued that the ways to overcome the cultural challenge is cultural training. It is suggested that organizations should have a training academy in place that would ensure that all the employees of the company are provided training about the culture of other countries. This is particularly more important when the organization have to send their employees on International travel (Vinkenburg & Jansen, 2014). For example, Amazon may need some specific skills engineers from India to manage their Australia operations. In this case, the employee or the employees coming from India must be trained about the cultural difference between India and Australia. It would help the Indian employee to work without any differences with Australian counterparts. Amazon would want to hire some consultants from outside who can give cultural training to all the employees of the organization.  

Graham & Harvey (2015) argued that it is always difficult to manage the global teams due to the cultural differences between people. In an organizational setting, the critical thinking is an important aspect of learning and development for employees. Benner’s stages of competence suggest that in the acquisition and development of a skill, a employee passes through five levels of proficiency: novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient, and expert. For an organization in global environment, it is difficult to manage the employees when they are at different level. The continuous improvement in the decision-making skills and critical thinking comes from a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical exposures (Lee & Desai, 2014). The Benner’s stages also suggest that in novice stage, Practice is within a prolonged time period and he/she is unable to use discretionary judgement. Whereas, a proficient employee perceives situations as wholes rather than in terms of chopped up parts or aspects. Proficient employees understand a situation as a whole, because they perceive its meaning in terms of long-term goals.

It is believed that organizations can also use social networks to manage the global teams. Social networks are a powerful tool for organizations (Opara & Eboh, 2017). However, these tools are like a two-way sword. There are various advantages of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc. However, organizations must also analyse the risks involved with the use of social networks and likewise the strategy to use the social networks within the organization should be developed. One of the key benefits or the advantages of social media in the contemporary business environment is that it provides a platform where real time communication can happen (Hogan & Coote, 2014). Another benefit of social media platforms is that it helps the employees to break the ice among themselves. In an organizational setting, the overall productivity of the organization or department depends on the way different employees work together. The social media platforms and the social media tools helps the employees to interact and freely communicate with other employees (Janis, 2015).

 


Foss & Lyngsie (2013) argued that one of the key challenges or the threats of managing global team is the chances of compromise in the productivity levels. Within global teams, different employees can have different perceptions and different expectations from organizations. There are times when the gap between the employees’ expectation and management perceptions of employees’ expectations can eventually result in loss of productivity. Therefore, it is important that leaders and managers should focus on critical thinking to overcome the challenges of working in global team. The focus on practice and scholarship helps people to attain a good level of critical thinking. In fact, there can be a transformation in the problem-solving skill with the combination of critical thinking, scholarship, and practice. It is also important that the organizations, leaders and managers must focus on quality while developing the global teams. The report ‘Crossing the Quality Chasm’ also suggest that it is critical that leadership from the private sector, both professional and other leaders and consumer representatives, be involved in all aspects of this effort to ensure its applicability and acceptability to employees and staff members. It would be correct to say that technology would play a critical role to help organizations to achieve their goals and objectives. It is believed that technology can provide a platform where organizations can overcome the challenges associated with global teams.

 


Qian & Cao (2013) argued that organizations must also have a plan to manage the structural challenges that can occur with global team. The key thing is that the organizations should have a flexible or flat organizational structure when they have to manage the global teams. With this structure, employee should be able to interact with management and leaders without any difficulty. The availability of management for employees would ensure that employees get a feeling of self-belongingness. It would eventually help the organizations to get the best from people. One of the key challenges to manage the global team is the classical management challenges. Organizations would find it difficult to manage the teams and employees in the global environment. On the other hand, management is easy when the managers have to manage the team that sits in one place. There could be various reasons for mismanagement. One of the key reasons is difference in the time zone. It is obvious that managers of large organizations like BP would find it difficult to manage the employees that work in different time zone. The time when Australian employees would be available may not be best for the employees working in UK. It is believed that these challenges could be overcome with the use of Internet and technology. With Internet, technology and social media platforms, organizations can have a structure of internal portal and these internal portals can be used to host the knowledge sharing sessions. With the social media platforms, different department within the organization can communicate with each other freely. For example, the inventory manage department can put the available inventory on the social group and the sales executives can see that. It would help the sales executives to plan the sales for the upcoming season accordingly. Therefore, it can be said that social media and platforms has the potential to improve the efficiency of the business. The social media platforms would also help the employees to get a better understanding of other people in the organization. With this, people should not be worried when they are working together with the people from different cultural backgrounds.

Erez & Lisak (2013) argued that global teams are different with the virtue of differences in culture, location, geography, demographic, etc. The challenges of the global team can be managed if organizations can manage all the parameters that overcome the differences. The key point is that employees should be able to associate themselves with the organization or brand. There should not exist the differences between the individual objective of employees and the organizational objectives. There is a motivation for organization to go global as there are various advantages to operate in the global environment. With moving the team to global level, organizations are able to get the best from the people. It has helped organizations to strengthen their position in the global market. Therefore, it is important that organizations should look beyond the domestic boundaries to recruit the best talent from the industry.

 


With the above literature review, it can be said that BHP Billiton may face certain challenges to operate in the global world. However, there are ways to overcome these challenges and it would be in best interest of BHP to have strategy in place to manage the global teams. In this era of high competition and with the forces of globalization, it has become extremely difficult for organizations to sustain in the business with local workforce only. The recommended course of action for multinational organizations is to analyze the internal and the external environment before making any decision about managing the global teams. For some of the organizations, internal environment may not support the working in global context. For these organizations, it is important that leaders and managers should first take the steps to improve the internal culture. Once the improvement is seen in the internal culture, organizations can start with the recruitment of best talent form the global community.

 

Reference List

Doh, J.P. and Quigley, N.R., 2014. Responsible leadership and stakeholder management: Influence pathways and organizational outcomes. The Academy of Management Perspectives, 28(3), pp.255-274.

Erez, M., Lisak, A., Harush, R., Glikson, E., Nouri, R. and Shokef, E., 2013. Going global: Developing management students' cultural intelligence and global identity in culturally diverse virtual teams. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 12(3), pp.330-355.

Foss, N.J., Lyngsie, J. and Zahra, S.A., 2013. The role of external knowledge sources and organizational design in the process of opportunity exploitation. Strategic Management Journal, 34(12), pp.1453-1471.

Govindan, K., Rajendran, S., Sarkis, J. and Murugesan, P., 2015. Multi criteria decision making approaches for green supplier evaluation and selection: a literature review. Journal of Cleaner Production, 98, pp.66-83.

Graham, J.R., Harvey, C.R. and Puri, M., 2015. Capital allocation and delegation of decision-making authority within firms. Journal of Financial Economics, 115(3), pp.449-470.

Helms, J.C. and Mills, A.J., 2017. Rules, Sensemaking, Formative Contexts, and Discourse in the Gendering of Organizational Culture?. In Insights and Research on the Study of Gender and Intersectionality in International Airline Cultures (pp. 49-69). Emerald Publishing Limited.

Hogan, S.J. and Coote, L.V., 2014. Organizational culture, innovation, and performance: A test of Schein's model. Journal of Business Research, 67(8), pp.1609-1621.

Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. (2012). Crossing the quality chasm. The IOM Health Care Quality Initiative. Retrieved from: https://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Report%20Files/2001/Crossing-the-Quality-Chasm/Quality%20Chasm%202001%20%20report%20brief.pdf

Janis, I.L., 2015. Groupthink: The desperate drive for consensus at any cost. Classics of organization theory, pp.161-168.

Langley, A., Smallman, C., Tsoukas, H. and Van de Ven, A.H., 2013. Process studies of change in organization and management: Unveiling temporality, activity, and flow. Academy of Management Journal, 56(1), pp.1-13.

Lee, C.A., Desai, N. and Brethorst, A., 2014, December. A keystone-based virtual organization management system. In Cloud Computing Technology and Science (CloudCom), 2014 IEEE 6th International Conference on (pp. 727-730). IEEE.

Opara, O.U. and Eboh, E.A., 2017. Organization management today: setting the human resource agenda in the globalized competition. International Journal of Development and Management Review, 12(1), pp.193-201.

Vinkenburg, C.J., Jansen, P.G., Dries, N. and Pepermans, R., 2014. Arena: A critical conceptual framework of top management selection. Group & Organization Management, 39(1), pp.33-68.

Qian, C., Cao, Q. and Takeuchi, R., 2013. Top management team functional diversity and organizational innovation in China: The moderating effects of environment. Strategic Management Journal, 34(1), pp.110-120.

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