a. Provide a table outlining information that will be captured during system development, the tools and software that will be used to develop the system, and outline who can update / view the information.
GVT or global virtual team could be stated as a group of individuals, who are eventually working as a team from different geographic location and is relying on communication technologies. These GVTs can communicate with the help of several communication technologies such as video conferences, audio conferences, fax and emails (Pinjani & Palvia, 2013). These global virtual teams are responsible for engaging and delivering the projects with no physical interactions amongst one another. The most significant characteristic of this GVT is that all the project works are done with the help of technology. The technological applications play the most important role in this type of team and hence technological importance is enhanced in this scenario (Klitmøller & Lauring, 2013).
This research report will be outlining a brief discussion on cultural diversification with the characteristics, benefits, challenges and their management strategies for a global virtual team. A specific organization in Australia has taken the decision to consider the establishment of several teams that are situated in several countries throughout the world. For the purpose of this establishment of GVTs, the senior executives of the organization wants to research about the various issues or problems that can occur from the employment of the culturally diversified team members within the project. This report will focus on three major characteristics of GVT with relevant information. Moreover, the advantages of the culturally diversified teams with their problems will also be provided in the report. The final part of this research report will provide various management strategies for reducing those problems.
DEFINITION AND CHARACTERISTICS OF GVT
Definitions of global virtual teams
“Global Virtual Teams (GVTs) are groups that are (a) identified by their organizations and group members as being a team; (b) are responsible for making and implementing decisions important to the organization’s strategy; (c) use technology-supported communication more than face-to-face communication; and (d) work and live in different countries” (Pinjani & Palvia, 2013, p. 1).
According to Pinjani and Palvia (2013), the GVT is the virtual team, which is acknowledged by the team members and even their organization for being a single team having similar goal and objective. The GVTs implement their decisions, which are advantageous both the organization as well as its strategy. This type of team utilize technology supporting communications like video or audio conferences, phone calls, emails, fax and many others. The global virtual teams usually do not communicate as the face-to-face teams and these are culturally diversified.
Characteristics of the global virtual team
The global virtual team is extremely popular in the entire world because of its flexibility (Erez et al., 2013). There are several important characteristics of GVTs. The most significant and important features or characteristics of the global virtual teams are given below:
According to Morgan, Paucar-Caceres and Wright (2014), the first and the foremost characteristic of the global virtual team is that the members of this team are culturally diversified. The cultural diversity is the significant quality of the different or diversified countries and is different with the mono culture (Lilian, 2014). Another advantage of global virtual team is that globalization is incremented. Moreover the best talent is procured by this presence of GVTs. Since, the team members are from dispersed locations, it is much easier to find out the best talent from these teams (Magnusson, Schuster & Taras, 2014).
utilization of technology to communicate
The next significant characteristic of a global virtual team is that for the reason of geographical dispersion, technology is the only way of communication. The team members take help of several technology oriented communication such as faxes, video and audio conferences, emails or any other similar technology (Derven, 2016).
Temporary or geographical dispersion
Another noteworthy characteristic of the global virtual team is that it is dispersed geographically; that refers to the fact that team members are from different geographical locations.
BENEFITS OF CULTURALLY DIVERSIFICATION IN GVT
There are some of the major and the most significant benefits of the culturally diversification in the global virtual teams (Derven, 2016). The various benefits of culturally diversification in the global virtual team are given below:
greater availability of talents
According to Carter et al., (2015), the first and the foremost benefit of this type of team is that there is a greater availability of talents. Since, the virtual teams have their team members from all over the world, there is a pool of talents present within these teams. Hence, the recruitment of these teams is done from everywhere. There is a high potential that the productivity of these teams would be better since, only the best talents are procured here eventually (Iorio & Taylor, 2014).
The second benefit of the cultural diversified global virtual teams is that these teams are completely technology oriented. As the communications of these global virtual teams are done with advanced technologies, these are absolutely technology oriented (Hosseini & Chileshe, 2013). Without the utilization of technology, it is not possible to communicate with the rest of the team members. The regular video or audio conferences, phone calls, electronic mails, faxes and many others are eventually utilized by them for completing the daily meetings and assignments (Shachaf, 2008).
encouraging different languages
Taras et al., (2013), state that since, the team members are from different locations, a cultural diversification takes place and thus there is a pool of various different languages. Although, there are certain issues with the linguistic barrier, the global virtual teams encourage different languages. This type of encouragement is extremely important for the virtual teams, since the team members, who are not comfortable with the utilized language, might feel left out from the team (Killingsworth, Xue & Liu, 2016). With the proper encouragement, help and technology use, that particular member would be able to restrict such issues in a better manner.
The fourth important benefit of the cultural diversification in these global virtual teams is the higher productivity. The team members, who are comfortable for working from home, could eventually increment the overall productivity of the team (Iorio & Taylor, 2014). Moreover, since the regular travelling and office distractions are eliminated, there is higher scalability as well as flexibility within the team (Hosseini et al., 2015). This in turn increases the total productivity of these teams subsequently and the team performs even better.
PROBLEMS CAUSED BY CULTURAL DIVERSIFICATION IN GVT
Although, the above-stated factors clearly state that there are several important and significant benefits of the cultural diversification in the global virtual teams, there are few problems present as well, which make these teams often suffer through various issues (Purvanova, 2014). These several problems or challenges for cultural diversity in the global virtual team are given below:
The most significant problem for the cultural diversity in GVT is communication (Crisp & Jarvenpaa, 2013). As the team members are geographically dispersed, communication can be stated as only method of connecting with each other. Three distinct issues are present for communication in cultural diversified teams that are lack of trust, language barriers and communication styles.
lack of trust: This is major challenge of communication for cultural diversification in a global virtualized team. The virtual working subsequently creates mistrust within the team members (Hosseini et al., 2013). The team members of the global virtual team rarely work at similar time and hence could not see one another for getting any response. Moreover, they do not even get immediate responses. Less productivity is the first demerit of this particular issue. If the team members of team leaders are not trusting their fellow members, continuous monitoring of the tasks and progress is required. The excess interaction within the members or leaders are also disturbing for the team members as they could not work independently. Klitmøller and Lauring (2013) state that, moreover, accountability is completely diluted for lack of trust and the reinforcement of ability also occurs in a culturally diversified GVT. Hence, the expectations of team are not clarified and the members suffer eventually.
linguistic barriers: Although, the cultural diversifications in the global virtualized teams encourages different languages, often a linguistic barrier creates a major issue for this team. The team member, who is not comfortable with the utilized language, might feel left out from the team (Gibson et al., 2014). This would also affect the productivity of the team, since one of the members will not be able to perform better. Moreover, this member will be unable to share the views or ideas with his fellow team members; thus the specific organization might be losing some efficient or effective ideas for the GVT. These types of barriers are also responsible for coordination and communication breakdown within team members. Work culture difference is the next disadvantage of such teams.
communication styles: This is the third issue of communication for culturally diversified global virtual teams. Several styles of communication are present like passive style, aggressive style, passive aggressive style and finally assertive style (Purvanova, 2014). Passive style of communication is considered as one of the weakest style since the members are unable to express their views with others and hence communication gaps and misunderstandings take place. Aggressive communication subsequently focuses on the clarity of expression of words or ideas. These types of communicators make the respective passive communicators often dominated by the aggression. Passive aggressive communicators could eventually express their views or ideas; however could not confront any situation (Iorio & Taylor, 2014). They could not express their words since they are unable to show body languages. Assertive communicators can effortlessly express their feelings and views and also look for the expressions of other team members. Hence, these various styles of communication are responsible for bringing major misunderstandings within a culturally diversified GVT.
cultural or ethnic differences
According to Pinjani and Palvia (2013), these issues are also common for cultural diversification in a global virtual team. I has been observed that some team members are not happy with few individuals, having a separate ethnicity. The religious as well as cultural backgrounds are often kept as top priority. The subsequent prejudice or even discrimination increases and hence these problems are welcomed. Team interactions are hampered for these issues and teams face conflicts. Moreover, another reason of ethnic differences is power distance.
lack of idea acceptance
Another important and significant issue of cultural diversity in the global virtual teams is lack of acceptance of ideas. If the team members will not accept ideas of team members due to the diversified culture, conflicts arise eventually (Cogliser et al., 2013). Hence, team coordination is affected majorly and collaboration is also affected. As these members lack from proper training, they cannot accept the ideas easily.
This is the fourth significant issue for cultural diversity in global virtual teams. E-leaders have the ability of adapting several styles of leadership according to their cultural backgrounds. Gilson et al. (2015) state that, they are extremely motivating as well as advanced in comparison to the others; however few issues are present. For the changes in cultural and company structures, e-leaders could not control their team efficiently. Furthermore, for the dependency of communication, e-leaders cannot check for the progress.
MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS FOR IDENTIFIED PROBLEMS IN GVT
Management strategies are the significant techniques, which are to be utilized for directing as well as controlling the organization for the proper achievement of the respective set of objectives or goals (Purvanova, 2014). These strategies majorly involve the various strategies of leadership, business execution and administration. The management strategies are the management techniques that are used for solving any type of issue present in the organizational management. The respective organizations could eventually create a clear vision by proper development of proper longer term oriented strategies. Thus, the necessary procedures and resource allocation are easier for the achievement of these goals. These teams often face several issues associated to cultural diversification (Taras et al. 2013). The management solutions or strategies for the above mentioned problems within the global virtual teams are as follows:
solution for communication
Communication is the most significant and important problem for the cultural diversification within the global virtual teams. The most relevant management strategies to resolve these issues are as follows:
arrangement of face-to-face meeting: According to Klitmøller, Schneider and Jonsen (2015), this is the most effective and efficient managerial strategy for removing the communication issues. Since, when any particular team member does not comprise of any scope for face to face communication with the other team members; there is a high chance that the communication gap might take place (Cogliser et al., 2013). The best method to mitigate these issues of lack of face-to-face communications is by the proper arrangement of the face to face meeting. The arrangement of the monthly or weekly video and audio conferences for each and every team member would be quite effective in these cases (Shachaf, 2008). Body languages are extremely important to reduce these types of misunderstanding or communication gaps.
utilization of technology: The next strategy for the reduction of communication issues within the culturally diversified GVTs would be the perfect usage of technologies. The technology is responsible for the maintenance of connection and also fostering of the relationships between team members (Zaugg & Davies, 2013). Social interactions are also needed for the improvement of the collaboration as well as coordination. Furthermore, team members can know one another with these technologies and miscommunications or communication gaps would be easily removed.
solution for cultural or ethnic differences
The most effective method of reducing the cultural or ethnic differences is by the arrangement of cultural awareness programs. These programs would help the specified team members in providing deep level of attribute. Proper trainings are also required to encourage social relationships or variance acceptances with attributes.
solution for the lack of idea acceptance
The next issue that is being identified in the global virtual team is the lack of idea acceptance between members of a team. The most effective methodology to solve these types of problems is by the maintenance of clarity within ideas (Hoch & Kozlowski, 2014). If the team member is completely proper and clear with his or her idea, it is evident that his or her team members would be listening to him or her. Another effective strategy to solve this type of issue is role clarity. The respective team leader should arrange for meetings and all members should be allowed to represent their views and ideas. This would encourage that individual and the remaining team members would listen to him without raising any issue. The next effective management strategy in this issue is the involvement of reward or recognition (Gibson et al., 2014). This particular strategy would help both the audience as well as the speaker to participate in such meetings and they would feel motivated.
solution for the e-leadership
The various issues that are associated to the e-leadership can be easily resolved by bringing changes within the processes. An e-leader has the responsibility of properly outlining the various guidelines for his team. The positive or immediate feedbacks from the respective e leader are extremely important for this type of teams. The efficient or effective team leader should always provide an immediate feedback for all the issues that had been raised and should also be absolutely clarified with his responsibility. Proper motivational push is also needed to solve such problems.
Therefore, conclusion can be drawn that GVTs are the significant group of people, who eventually work altogether from various geographic locations in the entire world. These specific teams are always dependent on the ICT. Each and every member of this globalized virtual team has the same goal and thus these goals are significantly attained by following the team activities or projects. Since, the members are dispersed and distributed throughout the world, regular communication is extremely important for them. It is not possible to a part of this team, without proper communication. This is even considered as the fastest mode of communication. Phone calls are also effective for these teams; however, due to the differences in time zones, it often becomes a major issue to call another team member. Various new and innovative ideas are being explored with the help of such teams and hence a major success is being achieved. These virtual teams often undergo cultural diversity issues and hence the team loses its positive attitude. The above report has clearly outlined the brief discussion on cultural diversification of GVTs. The several details regarding the problems like cultural differences, e-leadership and few more. However, significant management strategies or solutions are also explained in the report for eradicating the issues.
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