Sarah (the name given by us) has been working in McKay, Sanderson, and Smith Associates a mid-sized accounting team located in Boston that is specialized in commercial accounting and audits for past five years. Her specialty is accounting practices for shipping companies, ranging from small to certain big fleets along east coast. About two months ago her company merged with another two other accounting firms which has offices in Miami, Seattle, Baton Rouge, and Los Angeles. They avoided centralizing their business around one office in Los Angeles. Instead they formed a new firm called Goldberg, Choo, and McKay Associates in order to leverage the synergies of their collective knowledge. This merges affected Sarah when she was told that she would be working with the other three members from the other two firms to become the firm’s new shipping industry accounting team, by her boss. The other members were Elias in Miami, Susan in Seattle, Brad in Los Angeles. She had earlier met Elias at a meeting in New York but not the other two. This shipping team activity involved e-mailing each other about new contracts and prospective clients. They were asked to submit the joint monthly statement reports and issues. Sarah submitted her own monthly reports which summarized the activities of her own clients. This coordination of monthly reports took much more time since different accounting documentation procedures across the three firms were resolved. This took numerous e-mails and phone calls to work it out. During this process, it took lot of Sarah’s time than it was worth doing it. Moreover Brad’s communication was not that effective. He rarely replies the e-mails. He often used telephone voice mail system which resulted in lots of telephone tag. Brad comes to work at 9:30 a.m. in Los Angeles which is early afternoon in Boston while Sarah has a flexible work schedule from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Because of this Sarah and Brad had merely less than three hour to share information.
The biggest nuisance started when all four of them were asked to develop a new strategy to attract more shipping firm business which was a messy one. They have to share their thoughts on various approaches, agree on a new plan, and write a unified submission to the managing partner. Already this project was taking most of her time writing and responding to e-mails and talking in conference calls which none of them did before the team was formed. Susan and Brad had already faced two or three misunderstandings via e-mail about their different perspective on this strategic plan. A conference call was required to resolve the disagreements. Except for the basic matters, they don’t understand each other. She came to a conclusion that she never wants Brad to work with her in Boston office. Sarah and Elias agreed on most points. But overall team can’t form a common vision or strategy. She doesn’t know how the other three felt but she preferred to work somewhere, where these long-distance headaches are not required. Question 1
WHAT TYPE OF TEAM WAS FORMED HERE? WAS IT NECESSARY, IN YOUR OPINION? Virtual team because the three firms when they merge they agree not to centralize their office, therefore it must be a long distance relationship for the teams. Another thing is that Susan, Brad n Elias with the character lives apart from each other but they are a team. Another proof is that in the case study, it is mentioned that they used emails a lot so it is definitely virtual. So as a virtual team, what is necessary here is of course a good communication. This is a long-distance relationship so good commitment is needed here when it comes to meetings and communicating as there is not much of chance to communicate anyway. Question 2
USE THE TEAM EFFECTIVENESS MODEL AND RELATED INFORMATION IN THIS CHAPTER TO IDENTIFY THE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESES OF THIS TEAM’S ENVIRONMENT, DESIGN AND PROCESSES. Virtual team effectiveness...