An exciting new approach to teamwork has resulted from advances in information technology, shifting employee expectations and the globalisation of business, namely the virtual team. A virtual team is made up of geographically or organisationally dispersed members who are linked primarily through advanced information and telecommunications technologies.
Your Sydney HQ is developing a new marketing team with team members located in Sydney, New York, Beijing and Mumbai. This will necessitate the establishment of a virtual team spread over four different time zones using both synchronous (real time) and asynchronous (not concurrent) communication. One of the primary advantages of virtual teams is the ability to assemble the most talented group of people to complete a complex project through creativity and innovation.
On a practical level the virtual team can also save employees' time and cut travel expenses. However, virtual teams also present unique challenges. A number of the team have expressed concerns about how it will all work, and whether meetings might be scheduled when one part of the team is about to go to lunch, while the other part is asleep. Other concerns include: language difficulties, time-and-distance challenges, the absence of face-to-face contact, as well as the barriers posed by cultural differences such as work-pacing, communication styles, decision-making, and the perception of deadlines.
To help 'sell' the idea and persuade the team members of the advantages of the virtual team your boss, the Marketing Director, is planning a virtual meeting with all team members. She is aware of the concerns and knows that the issues raised by the staff have the potential to provide rich soil for misunderstandings and conflict. To that end she understands how important this presentation will be in creating a favourable association with virtual teams, as well as a good opportunity to start to build engagement, trust and candour among the team members.
To prepare for the virtual meeting she has asked you to prepare two documents:
(i)a short report (using the memo format) identifying some of the critical areas that need to be addressed when leading and managing virtual teams; and
(ii) a PowerPoint slide presentation comprising no more than five slides highlighting three practices for establishing effective virtual teams and solutions for achieving such practices (recommendations or how it's done).
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