Communication Challenges in Global Virtual Teams

Topics: Communication, Culture, Management Pages: 9 (3268 words) Published: July 17, 2011
Communication Challenges in Building Successful Global Virtual Teams Due to Diversity and Cultural Differences

This paper introduces an approach to effectively communicate within a global virtual team by discussing the challenges faced by them, understanding cultural differences in communicating, diversity within a team, building trust in virtual communication, and communicating across different regions and time zones. This approach appears in many discussions surrounding the difficulties managers and team members have in communicating effectively in global virtual teams. Specifically, this paper evaluates how the diversity of a global virtual team makes it challenging to communicate when members are not present face to face and adhering to the different regions and time zones these members are located. It will also examine the challenges in understanding the different cultures amongst a team and how to effectively build trust by researching, acknowledging, and understanding these cultural differences and communicating them to the team in a virtual environment.

Communicating Challenges in Building Successful Global Virtual Teams Due to Diversity and Cultural Differences
In today’s economy, many organizations must expand their operations globally in order to remain competitive and to stay afloat. With this business model companies have to develop teams across all functions of the organization and in all regions of the globe in which the company operates. For these companies, many have set up global virtual teams to manage processes and implement any projects or company initiatives with other employees of the organization. However with these teams come many obstacles and challenges definitely in communicating across cultural differences, understanding the diversity of the team and communication management within the different regions and time zones. Various authors (Danielle, 2006; Kayworth, 2000; Lee-Kelley, 2008 to name a few) have noted that these groups consisting of dispersed members across the globe and accumulated from various cultural backgrounds have an impact on how effective global virtual teams can be. Kayworth determines that there are four main challenges that global virtual teams face; which are communication, culture, technology, and project management. This paper observes the difficulties that virtual teams face within their communication efforts, analyzing the diversity of team members and the obstacles of communicating across different regions and times zones. As well as it takes an extensive look at the cultural differences that consists of these virtual teams and the challenge of building trust amongst a dispersed group. And in order for a global virtual team to operate effectively, managers and the members must research the different cultural backgrounds of its members, understand the communication challenges they face, and utilize them accordingly in order to build trust amongst the team to fulfill their goals that they place ahead of them. Defining Global Virtual Teams

There are many authors that have provided definitions of global virtual teams, Lee-Kelley (2008) mentions that Towsend along with Lipnack and Stamps define a virtual team as a group that is geographically dispersed and utilize telecommunication and information technology as forms to communicate and perform. Lee-Kelley also refers to Alge, Balosky, Christensen, and Davis’ definition that virtual teams are typically a group that are dispersed who use various sources of information technology to communicate. In the case of these definitions, there is a lack of emphasis on the concept of team, but further definitions tie in this concept and place more value on the aspect of team. Cascio’s and Shurygailo’s mentioning of multiple-relationships in global virtual teams, by referring to the number of manager’s involved, number of team members, and number of locations. Many researchers in this...
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