Final Project

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MSA 601 Final Project

Virtual Teams

Ben Presnell

Central Michigan University

Brandt, V., England, W., & Ward, S.. (2011). Virtual Teams. Research Technology Management, 54(6), 62-63

In this article Brandt, England, and Ward define what virtual teams are, they state “virtual teams are individuals working together who have never met each other in person and probably will not meet face-to-face during the assigned project (Brandt, England, Ward 2011).” The next part of the article is used to define what virtual teams consist of. Virtual teams mainly consist of members from different locations working together on a specific project. Although some members of the team may meet each other at some point, they will never see each other on a frequent basis. In the main body of the article Brandt, England, and Ward give 6 common dimensions of successful virtual teams, they are as follows:

1. Trust-Trust generally develops from a history of interpersonal interactions through which people come to know one another. In virtual teams, trust must be established through other means since team members may have no past experience to draw on and no future to reference (2011).

2. Cultural Differences-Cultural and language differences become magnified in virtual teams because it is much easier to hide errors and problems and make wrong assumptions. Unintended non-inclusive behaviors based on cultural norms can be interpreted as rudeness or intimidation. Fostering cultural understanding breaks down the barriers that can hamper success and leads to more effective virtual teams (2011).

3. Communication-Communication issues for virtual teams include both the tools or technologies for communication and the rules of engagement. Both are critical for virtual team success and what works well for co-located teams is generally not effective for virtual teams. Shared electronic workspaces such as shared websites on an intranet are preferred communication tools for virtual teams (2011).

4. Social Skills-Use caution when assembling virtual teams solely on the basis of people’s expertise and availability. Social skills should be considered as a major prerequisite for good teamwork within the virtual team. If the team is unable to establish a basis for the effective exchange of know-how, performance will suffer (2011).

5. Mission and Goal Clarity-While all teams need clear missions and goals to be effective, virtual teams have more opportunities for diverse assumptions about the team’s mission and goal to take root. Clarity comes from discussion among all team members to reach a common understanding of the team’s deliverables. Another key requirement for the virtual team is the need to highlight the expertise of each member of the team and how that expertise relates to the team’s goals (2011).

6. Rewards and Recognition-Finding appropriate ways to compensate virtual teams with global membership require creativity. The diversity of the individuals on the team along with local rules and regulations makes a common reward for all approach difficult to execute. Incentives for both project and personal performance need to take into account the diversity of the team (2011).

While all of these dimensions of virtual teams are important to their success, it is also noted that all virtual teams are not the same. The importance of each dimension can vary from team to team and each separate component should be emphasized more or less depending on the team make up, assigned task, and time permitted.

Wally Bock. (2003). Some rules for virtual teams. The Journal for Quality and Participation, 26(3), 43.

In this article Wally Bock describes what the best uses for virtual teams are. Virtual teams are best used for problem solving, quality assurance, product development, information sharing, and a variety of other team...
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