Undertake research and write a critical essay on a topic related to team wor
Discipline knowledge and capabilities: appropriate to the level of study related to a discipline or profession.
Evaluating information using critical and analytical thinking and judgment.
The essay aims at providing an insight into team dynamic by outlining how dispersion applies to the team. The essay also puts forward a discussion on the positive and the negative impacts of dispersion. In addition, there is also discussion about potential approaches that helps in overcoming the negative impact of dispersion in respect to the team along with an evaluation of their success within teams depending on their past application. Teams are simply the building blocks of the organization and provide companies with means that combines talents, perspectives and skills of the individual group in achieving the corporate goals. Previously, the managers collocated team members due to the higher levels of interdependencies inherent within the group work. In recent times, increasing number of companies have started to organize their project over the distance, manage teams consisting of people in dispersed location, different cultural background, language and the varied values systems. In the last 10 years, investigations have put forward the difference between the performance of the collocated and the dispersed teams with the assumption that the members of dispersed team never met face to face in person. Dispersion is matter of kind and not degree and most of the teams remains dispersed at certain level. They either remain temporally separated, spatially separated, culturally diverse and configurationally uneven. In this essay, the discussion revolves around geographical distributed team also referred as the virtual team where the members belong to the different countries. It has been found that the virtual teams seem to put forward opportunities despite the immense managerial challenges. Besides, the appropriate processes allow the dispersed team in significantly outperforming their counterparts.
The level of dispersion of the team is neither fixed nor predetermined; it represents an organizational design parameter that allows the organization in adjusting and setting themselves (Siebdrat, Hoegl and Ernst 2009). While making decisions, the managers should therefore consider the various advantages and disadvantages of dispersion. Several studies have put forward that the collaboration across countries is more difficult compared to the collocated environment (Charlier et al. 2016). The issues involve the difficulties in coordination and communication, enhanced inability in establishing common ground and reduced trust. Proximity however tend to promote frequent communication and development of more positive and closer interpersonal relationships. Besides, the physical presence of the coworkers at regular intervals also helps in improving the feelings of fondness, familiarity, and informal interactions that serves in strengthening the social ties (Hoch and Kozlowski 2014). Physical distance on the other hand decreases affinity and closeness that results in the greater potential for the conflict (Bathelt and Turi 2013). Besides, other issues also come up with distance that includes the negotiation of the team members with the multiple time zones and requiring them in recognizing the workdays for accommodating the work schedule of the others. These situations might result in confusion and frustration especially when the coworkers remain regularly unavailable for clarification or discussion of issues related to task.
There are also certain advantages of dispersion. First, it allows the team in accomplishing the complex activities such as the research and the development (Lilian 2014). Clustering of competencies by larger companies in varied areas of excellence helps in reducing the cost and global know how (Jang 2013). Each of the competence centres tends to enhance the depth of the expertise to be strong while diversity of the functional background remains relatively weak due to the aspect of specialization. Managers are also able to take certain advantage of the organizational structure through gathering employees from the different locations in certain networks for the creation of the team that enables in optimally integrating different expertise pools for performing a specific task (Erez et al. 2013). Besides, the companies can remain in an advantageous position due to the enhanced heterogeneity that remains inherent within nature of the dispersed teams. In other words, virtual teams have a tendency of incorporating higher levels of demographic and structural diversity compared to the collocated teams where both the types of the diversity seem beneficial (Hoegl and Muethel 2016). Team members from multiple locations having association with various business units and reporting to the different managers also results in the structural diversity (Pinjani and Palvia 2013). This type of diversity is valuable for the team as it exposed the members to the heterogeneous sources of the feedback, work experience and the networking opportunities. Further, the team members belonging to the virtual team also remain nationally diverse. However, such diversity might complicate the team dynamics but it enhances the problems solving capacity of group.
Advantages of Dispersion
Let us now look into how dispersion is advantageous to our team. We have a virtually dispersed team with one member living in Vietnam and the others in Australia and Srilanka. One of the benefits of having a virtually dispersed team remains in gathering a wider variety of talent. This is because looking at the local applicants might not provide the manager with the ideal solution (Eubanks et al. 2016). Expansion of the hiring pool to the national and the international search brings in increasing number of candidates that exceeds or meets the job qualification (Scott and Wildman 2015). These candidates are unable to either relocate or require a hefty relocation fee to appear for the interview. Hiring such candidates as the virtual team members acts feasible in choosing from diverse array of talent and skills. This will help the business in transforming into the best one irrespective of the talent. It will also result in a higher degree of job satisfaction as dispersion provides the workers to have work life balance along with flexibility (Golden 2013). It also allows the team members to work in telecommute situation. It also results in enhanced productivity as the employees can have a preference of working from their own location. In other words, dispersed team shows a better overall job performance (Hill and Bartol 2016). Besides, the virtual meetings are held quickly and efficiently thereby saving the work duties of the others. Dispersion of team will also result in educational and cultural diversity (Nielsen and Nielsen 2013). In global market scenario, the knowledge of the different cultures acts as the key for understanding the client base and thereby gaining newer business. Hiring virtual workers in the different locations allows adding more people to the team from diverse backgrounds and culture (Boud, Cohen and Sampson 2014). Besides, there are also people from diverse educational background who focuses on specific degree and training programs focused on the desirable skills thereby resulting in increased innovation and creativity. Dispersion will allow the team in having expanded hours of business (Klitmøller and Lauring 2013). This is because hiring employees from different locations not only leads to the expansion of the service hours but also the work hours of the concerned location. Dispersion also puts forward the benefit of accessing the newer market (Mykhaylenko et al. 2015). This is because the dispersed team can make connections with the clients in their specific location. This implies that it is not only a new market but also a new business that will opens up for the team. The new wave of people interested in the new product or service will also act as a boost for the growth of the company (Huxham and Vangen 2013). Having a dispersed team also reduces the office cost. Hiring employees from dispersed locations outweighs the downsides. Video conferencing facilities allow the dispersed team to not only become social but also remain close knit and stay in touch. Thus, virtual employees on board not only expand the reach and enhance productivity but also reduce cost. In other words, companies however need to balance the pros and cons of dispersion in a manner so that they are able to take advantage of the opportunities and minimize the liabilities (Laudon and Laudon 2015).
Benefits of having a Virtually Dispersed Team
In order to boost team’s performance it is necessary for a company to implement appropriate mechanisms in order to boost the task related and the socio emotional process. I believe that for the virtual teams it is necessary for the managers to pay required attention to the task related process that would capitalize on specialized knowledge and the expertise of the group. Various approaches help in maximizing the performance of the virtual teams by overcoming negative impacts. This involves emphasizing the skills for teamwork, promotion of self-leadership across the team, undertaking face-to-face meetings and fostering a global culture.
In emphasizing the teamwork skills, I believe that one of the sole reason for organizing the dispersed team remains in drawing superior knowledge residing in the remote locations (Chen 2014). But the manager should first consider the social skills as a major prerequisite for better teamwork in meeting the requirements instead of simply staffing the teams. This is because it is unrealistic to imagine that individuals from different locations will collaborate automatically. It is found that the groups with enhanced levels of dispersion are increasingly dependent on the level of the teamwork that ensures the ability of performing the key process such as coordination, communication and the mutual support. However, in order to achieve greater potential in terms of the structural and functional diversity, the members of the virtual team should set up a base for exchange of the varying capabilities that required skills related to teamwork as the critical ingredient. Therefore, it is important for the managers to consider skills related to teamwork as the necessary attribute while selecting the virtual team members. This will help in motivating my team through fostering loyalty and friendship. The close-knit relationships developed will motivate the employees and encourage them in to work hard, be supportive and cooperative of each other and act as positive impact. I have found that individuals possess diverse weakness, talents, strength and habits. Lack of teamwork environment will pose challenge towards the achievement of the overall objectives and goals. This leads to the creation of an environment that leads to the insufficient and unhealthy working environment.
Potential Approaches in Overcoming the Negative Impacts of Dispersion in the Team and Evaluation on How they are Successful for the Team
To overcome the negative impacts of dispersion it is necessary for promoting self-leadership across team (Pinjani and Palvia 2013). Beyond the social skills, it is important for the managers of various other firms to put forward that the dispersed teams possess broader capabilities of leadership. I have seen in other companies that when a group remains closely collocated an individual leader can easily detect deficiencies in the teamwork and addresses them with hands on managerial style. For instance, talking in person with the different parties within informal setting helps in resolving interpersonal conflict. I find this approach to be hugely nonexistent for the virtual teams. Cultural diversity and geographic dispersion makes it difficult for the individual leader in ensuring effective functioning of the team. Advanced use of communication technologies and latest information might not be capable of creating the magical solution for managing the people across time zones and countries. However, I have only found the experienced team leader to handle such challenges thereby ensuring the success of the team. By observing the scenario, I believe that in order to succeed, the members of the virtual teams needed to be aware of difficulties of the dispersed collaboration and thereby search for effective ways of overcoming the obstacles by themselves. This will help in highlighting the need of the people in becoming more self sufficient in the ways they managed work since the team leaders remains in a lesser position for extending help. Besides, I believe that for ensuring virtual collaboration it is also necessary in observing the efforts of the human resource in designating the team members as well as the team leaders so that the individuals can develop required skill sets necessary for working in virtual setting.
I can say that development of self-leadership provided greater insight into the personal behaviours and the way they hinder or influence the results in the team. For instance, when once when I tried to put across a message to the non-financial managers about the consequences of excess spending, the message fell in into on the deaf ears but the accountant with self-leadership skills noticed the start and adopted varied approaches in influencing non-financial managers. It will also help in the development of the personal drive and commitment to keep going in spite of insurmountable obstacles or setbacks. Self-leadership helps in putting clear plans and help the team achieve what they want. This approach will also help in taking decisions and getting into the actions instead of becoming a procrastinator. Besides, it will also help the team in becoming personally effective. I believe this will allow the virtual teams to focus some time on what they do best.
Face-to-face meeting is an approach that contributes in overcoming the negative impacts of dispersion. Cyclic face-to-face meetings of the dispersed team members remains effective in maintaining and initiating the key process that helps in encouraging informal communication, cohesion and team identification(Verburg, Bosch-Sijtsema and Vartiainen 2013). For example, I have seen that companies used kick-off meeting for project that brought everyone together into one specific location for days that helped the people in developing a shared understanding of task and their acquaintance with team. The process will help in supporting task collaboration during a project. Thus, the expense and time necessary for providing opportunities for the face-to-face interaction then becomes an investment that can result in larger returns provided the virtual team takes complete advantage of its diverse heterogeneity and expertise. It is remembered that the informal interactions are equally important as the formal ones. Nevertheless, the face-to-face meeting has put forward a newer perspective of advantages for the virtual team. It will help in strengthening the bond amongst the team members, creation of the similar experience for building comfort amongst the team members. Reinforces the importance of the work related roles and its implications on the team members and the real people. Real world meeting also have various benefits for the virtual team. This helps in strengthening of bond amongst the team members and the presence of a person becomes more than just a voice as he might become friend or a colleague. Strengthening of bonds changes the perspective of relationship amongst the team members(Morgan, Paucar-Caceres and Wright 2014). In other words, a face-to-face meeting simply brings the people closer to one another thereby making it easier for them to work as a team in future. A face-to-face meeting have led to the creation of a more comfortable communication experience amongst the members of the virtual team (Purvanova 2014). In other words, the face-to-face meeting will act as the icebreaker for the future meetings that will make the team more comfortable. I believe that face-to-face meeting has also reinforced the importance of the virtual team members. Thus, through creation of bonds and raising the comfort levels amongst the team members such meetings can actually enhance the productivity of the virtual team. In fact, I believe that the team members will be able to feel that work done will have real life implications on the real people that they connect.
The approach of fostering a global culture also contributes to overcoming the negative impacts of dispersion (Chang, Hung and Hsieh 2014). I have found that research suggested a global mindset where people are able to view themselves as the part of the international network that puts forward an environment conducive to the dispersed teams. It is necessary for the team members and the managers in framing and recognizing the company based on the operations and market of the organization. There exist various human resource strategies that help in fostering the mindset including the temporary staff assignments at the foreign location. I have mostly observed bigger companies like Nestle, General Electric and IBM mostly known for global reach of the business activities. They provide examples of actively fostering the mindset of the global employee. I have also seen the managers of Nestle to make a move to the other countries for three or four years such that they are able to learn the specifics for each market thereby developing global mindset from the experience. For example, the steering committee at General Electric Co oversaw the research and development efforts where the employees remained assigned to the different worldwide locations for facilitating the development of the informal network across the research and development sites in China, United States, India and Germany. Such practice I believe will help in developing diversity friendly attitudes and the ability of working in the different contexts that helps the employees in coping with the challenges of distance while working for the virtual teams.
Looking closely at the state of a virtually dispersed team, I have discovered that in spite of corporative rhetoric of teamwork and communication there are certain unwritten rules that helps the team in outshining their performance. It is therefore necessary to share the knowledge and ideas with the people as much as possible. Thus, within weeks of joining the employees virtually dispersed team learns to talk about the aspect of cooperation and act competitively.
On a concluding note, it can be said that the dispersed teams performs better than groups that remain collocated. The essay however puts forward that in order to gain success the collaboration of the virtual team is managed in a specific manner. It is also seen that the performance of the team suffers with the rising levels of the dispersion and hence the managers are forced to view dispersion as liability instead of the opportunity. Nevertheless, the essay portrays that dispersion can put forward enough benefits if the firms are able to not only take advantage of diversity but also the diverse experience of the team members at the different locations. Thus, it is seen when managed in the right manner virtual teams outperforms the collocated counterparts. However, a firm cannot just create a dispersed team comprising of talented individuals and think of its best. It is necessary in ensuring that the group created should have required task related and socio economic process in place. It is only then that the virtually teams can integrate the dispersed knowledge and take advantage of the structural and the cultural diversity. These enable them in avoiding some of the drawbacks of dispersion and enjoy certain benefits.
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