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Virtual Teams and Their Role in Organizations

Discuss about the Virtual Teams for Benefits, Challenges and Solutions.

Virtual teams refer to a group of persons who link up together in a social way on a technical platform (Fernando A. Crespo, 2012). The communities usually have a common interest, which unites the group, or a similar challenge or task pursued based on implicit and explicit codes of behaviour. The virtual teams play a role in assisting organisations to develop solutions to problems by breaking the barriers of space and time (Nader Ale Ebrahim, 2009). Additionally, the virtual teams consist of persons with complementary skills and have a common objective or require solving a similar challenge.

Virtual groups develop to fulfil various activities within an organisation. Therefore, different virtual teams exist each supposed to fulfil the type of goal held by the partners. The most common virtual group is the telework group, which refers to a virtual team that deals with telecommunication services. The teleworkers perform telecommunication activities and all report to the same management. All the activities happen in different places at the locality of the employees or the virtual team members (Michael D. Coovert, 2017).

The virtual organisations function based on technology to ensure successful communications among the team (Nader Ale Ebrahim, 2009). The virtual team requires efficient and effective communication technology to ensure the free flow of information in the organisation. Moreover, the technology should ensure free communication since the members do not meet to work on an issue. The virtual teams also require internal group dynamics and other external technical support to ensure success. The support systems ensure richness of information shared by the teams and the proper implementation of the technology (Nader Ale Ebrahim, 2009). 

Virtual teams require technology to facilitate the group’s communications in an efficient and effective manner. Technology plays a role in bringing the group together since the members are in different locations. Therefore, the need for a medium to pass and share information within the group. The best use of technology is the development of a group website to create cohesion and flow of activities in the group. The website should have a similar appearance to reduce difficulties of navigation by the group members.

The virtual teams require a medium that facilitates a communication similar to face-to-face communication (Nadeem Ehsan, 2008). All organisations require face-to-face communication, which lacks in virtual teams and could result in failure. Therefore, the team should implement technology to ensure smooth and constant sharing of information in the virtual team. Therefore, the virtual teams utilise the computer-mediated communication through computer technologies such as emails and video conferencing (Nadeem Ehsan, 2008). The CMC assists in sharing information with the geographically dispersed virtual team members. The communication assists in maintaining the socio-emotional attitude of the group members to get the jobs done. Moreover, the group develops a mutual collaboration and a mutual interaction within the group, which results in efficient accomplishment of tasks. Therefore, the major role played by the technology mediation is creating a collaboration and cohesion among the group members. The cohesion prevents the failure of the group due to the constant communication (Nadeem Ehsan, 2008).

Technology Requirements for Virtual Teams

Transparency in virtual teams plays a role in the success of activities since all the members feel a belonging to the team. The team members need to feel connected with the activities and decisions made in the group (Fernando A. Crespo, 2012). The team leaders should ensure that all the members play a role in the choices and decisions made through getting a chance to give suggestions. Moreover, transparency enables the team members to identify with the community due to the emotional attachment with the members (Kursat Cagiltay, 2015).

Likewise, transparency cultivates the feeling of being influential in the group when the members are involved in the decision-making. The team members require a platform to give suggestion in the management and have the freedom to act on behalf of the group. The failure to give a chance of decision-making results in the breakdown of a group. The breakdown results from the conflicts in ideas among the group members. Therefore, the virtual team should create an environment of transparency to ensure the group stays together (Kursat Cagiltay, 2015).

Additionally, transparency helps in developing a sense of belonging and an emotional attachment to the virtual group. The emotional attachment to a group plays a role in the continued existence of a virtual team, which is the aim of all groups. Therefore, all virtual team leaders should cultivate transparency for the perpetuity of the group into the long-term future (Kursat Cagiltay, 2015).

The virtual teams face various challenges, which the members should look out for and try to overcome the prolonged life of the organisation (Fernando A. Crespo, 2012). The challenges occur due to some factors such as the geographical dispersion, language differences and lack of personal touch within the group.

The challenges facing virtual teams include such as lack of overlap for immediate communication among the group members due to the geographical dispersions. The challenge could result in a disconnection among the group members, which leads to poor communication and reduced relations among the group members. The challenge is inherent to the virtual teams since the members are in different locations far from each other. Therefore, the inability to have constant communications results in a breakdown within the group (Dietrich, 2016).

Additionally, the virtual team managers claim that the team’s lack trust since most of the members use work time for private activities (Dietrich, 2016). The problem arises since the managers lack a means of physically monitoring the employee activities. Therefore, the members could end up allocating very little time for the virtual organisation tasks.

Moreover, virtual offices cause security issues due to lack of a central point of storage and access to office files. The access of files happens at multiple points, which could result in access by unauthorised persons (Dietrich, 2016).

Conclusion

The virtual teams should focus on the technology required to ensure smooth flow of communications. Furthermore, the leaders should install the required technology to bring unity and sharing of information among the group. Likewise, the team managers should cultivate transparency within the group to have a sense of belonging among the members. The virtual teams should also check out for challenges facing the organisation and develop solutions.

Challenges Faced by Virtual Teams

Virtual teams require the coordination of various aspects to function successfully. The teams should ensure the incorporation of all the factors in running the organisation (M. Guinaliu, 2016). The factors played a role in the success of the European Working Group on Operational Research for Development (EGW ORD). The EGW ORD started in Switzerland to promote operational research in Europe. The group focusses on research ideas and topics of interest developed from constant communication among the members. The members communicated through emails, which lead to the formation of the EGW ORD working group. The organisation developed the dimensions required to run a virtual team, which include the use of technology, sense of belonging, identifying the success factors, levels of trust, virtual community management and knowledge on the contents of a virtual community (Fernando A. Crespo, 2012).

The virtual team use technology to facilitate communication in the group by sending emails and accessing the group website (Fernando A. Crespo, 2012). The most important technology is a website that develops cohesion and diffusion of the activities in the group. Additionally, the technology should allow constant messaging in the group.

Moreover, a sense of belonging is important to the group due to the development of a personal connection with the group, which leads to job satisfaction and enhanced organisation behaviour. The success factors refer to the 32 success tips which the organisation should rank in order of importance and pursue accordingly to ensure success (Krawczyk-Brylka, 2017). The other factor is virtual community management and understanding the contents of the virtual community. However, the most important factor is the level of trust among the group. Trust assists in developing a sense of belonging and entitlement to the activities of the virtual team. The virtual team cannot operate without trust since most of the members will feel left out which results in the breakdown of the group (Markovic, 2015).

The aspect of trust plays a major role in bringing the group together and allowing a healthy exchange of knowledge within the group (Fernando A. Crespo, 2012). The virtual team can cultivate trust through a website for communications and sending emails to the group members. Trust results from two major factors, which include perceived goodwill and perceived competence. The two factors determine the levels of trust within an organisation. For example, the EWG ORD gained trust based on the intellectuals within the group. The academic levels of the researchers and members of the advisory team helped the group gain trust (Pozin, 2016).

The members of the virtual team should trust the leader for the success of the group and achieving objectives. The team should trust the leader in both physical appearance and the behaviour traits. The leader should look attractive to the members to create an environment of trust. For example, the leader should look smart to appeal to the members (Sandra Morley, 2015). Additionally, the leader should ensure justice and empathy on the group members which results in increased trust levels. The leader efforts to develop trust in the group assist in putting the group together for a long time. Moreover, trust enables the members to feel appreciated and can easily work with any of the group members (Catherine E. Connelly, 2016).

Communication Technology in Virtual Teams

The team requires developing trust since working with strangers could prove difficult for the various parties. The burden falls on the team leader to come up with means of cultivating trust among the group members. The managers could use the cognition-based strategy, which refers to building trust based on the perception and thoughts of the team members (Barbara Larson, 2017). The team members build trust on the records of task accomplishments, which develops a basis for relationships among the members of the group. The development of cognition-based trust results in a relaxed and free atmosphere among the group, which gives an opportunity of free sharing of information and personal relationships based on trust (Thi Bich Hanh Tran, 2015).

Moreover, the team leader could develop trust through the affect-based approach. The affect based approach results from the team members observing that the group follows a clear and meaningful processe developed by the team leader (Owonikoko, 2016). The following of clear processes results in the development of trust on the leader by the virtual team members. The affect-based trust improves the team connection and will to work together since the members feel free to interact with one another. Therefore, the members openly make open contributions to the group activities without fear of adverse consequences. The social exchanges within a group develop affect-based trust (Pamela Johnson, 2010).

Conclusion

Trust is very important in an organisation since the members cannot operate without believing in each other’s capabilities. The virtual teams require that the members cooperate with strangers, which calls for very high levels of trust. The leader faces the task of ensuring that the group members trust each other and can work effectively without fear.

Trust has many benefits to a group such as causing efficiency in the group activities. The members need act in a trustworthy manner to prevent mistrust among the group members. Therefore, trust forms the core of a group and all the members require to act towards developing trustworthy relationships with the group members.

Barbara Larson, O. L. K. M., 2017. Tools for Teaching Virtual Teams: A Comparative Resource Review. Sage Journals, 2(4), pp. 333-347.

Catherine E. Connelly, O. T., 2016. Effects of Team Emotional Authenticity on Virtual Team Performance. Frontiers in Psychology.

Dietrich, G., 2016. The Benefits, Challenges, and Solutions of a Virtual Office. [Online]
Available at: https://www.spinsucks.com
[Accessed 23 April 2018].

Fernando A. Crespo, C. S. P. L. O. G. W. W., 2012. Contribution to the Collaborative Work in Virtual Organization-A Case Study. Volume 45, pp. 228-235.

Krawczyk-Brylka, B., 2017. Intercultural Challenges in Cultural Teams. Journal of Intercultural Management, 8(3), pp. 69-85.

Kursat Cagiltay, B. B. G. K. A., 2015. Working With Multicultural Virtual Teams: Critical Factors for Facilitation, Satisfaction and Success. Smart Learning Environments.

  1. Guinaliu, P. J., 2016. Building Trust in the Leader of Virtual Work Teams. Spanish Journal of Marketing, 20(1), pp. 58-70.

Markovic, D., 2015. A New Virtual Team Competence Defining Model. Economic Research, 28(1), pp. 1034-1045.

Michael D. Coovert, E. E. P. M., 2017. Assessing Trust and Effectiveness in Virtual Teams: Latent Growth Curve and Latent Change Score Models. MDPI-Social Sciences, 6(3), p. 87.

Nadeem Ehsan, E. M. a. M. A., 2008. Impact of Computer-Mediated Communication on Virtual Teams' Performance: An Empirical Study. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, 2(6), p. 10.

Nader Ale Ebrahim, S. A. a. Z. T., 2009. Virtual Teams: A Literature Review. Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 3(3), p. 17.

Owonikoko, E., 2016. Building and Maintaining Trust in Virtual Teams as a Competitive Strategy. pp. 20-100.

Pamela Johnson, V. H. K. O., 2010. The Wonderland of Virtual Teams. Emerald Insight, 13(1), pp. 24-30.

Pozin, M. A. A., 2016. Effective Factor of Virtual Teams: Resolving Communication Breakdown in IBS Construction Project. 1761(1).

Sandra Morley, K. C. P. F., 2015. An Analysis of Virtual Team Characteristics: A Model for Virtual Project Managers. Journal of Technology and Management, 10(1).

Thi Bich Hanh Tran, C. H. O., 2015. Effects of Learning Orientation and Global Mindsets on Virtual Team Members Willingness to Cooperate in: The Mediating Role of Self-Efficacy. Journal of Management and Organization, 22(3), pp. 311-327.

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My Assignment Help (2019) Virtual Teams: Challenges, Technology And Dynamics [Online]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/virtual-teams-benefits-challenges-and-solutions
[Accessed 15 July 2024].

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My Assignment Help. Virtual Teams: Challenges, Technology And Dynamics [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2019 [cited 15 July 2024]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/virtual-teams-benefits-challenges-and-solutions.

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