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Management of Virtual Teams

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Introduction

Virtual teams are groups of people who are geographically spread and are aimed towards achieving a common goal (DuFrene & Lehman, 2012). The teams are either working within the same business organization or in the same departmental unit using ICT to enhance their communication and interaction to make the coordination of work by the top management easy (Hoefling, 2003). Many business organizations in the modern world have adopted the process of working virtually because there are well improved communication technologies which allow people to work in places of their choice in different geographical areas.

 

The improvement of communication technology has made many organizations to assign jobs to people wherever they are without taking them to the company headquarters. Currently it is not necessary for people to be physically present in their workplaces as they can perform their assigned responsibilities within the geographical locations they are. It is very difficult to manage virtual workers since they are from different cultural backgrounds as it causes misunderstanding between the workers and the top management. The importance of virtual work in the organization is that the travelling costs are reduced and time is also conserved by the employees when they are not travelling to the location of the company.

Cultural and Language Differences

There are many challenges which affect the management of virtual work such as difference in the cultural backgrounds which makes management difficult since there is much misunderstanding between the top managers and the employees (Lepsinger, 2010). These problems are encountered and can be reduced by properly instituting rules and regulations that govern the teams. For effective execution of work by these virtual teams the management must develop communication links which can make them to coordinate the work in real-time.

Communication tools used by the organization when supervising work should not be time consuming since one manager is responsible for assessing many workers within a short time frame. The top manager must possess the communication technology which is mostly preferred by the people working in different locations to accommodate all the problems encountered due to cultural difference of the people in the virtual team. This can reduce the cultural conflicts which affect the overall working condition of the organization.

Rules Governing Virtual Teams

Currently there are various communication technology devices, such as video conferencing, Internet and mobile phones which support organizations to employ virtual workers (Andriessen & Vartiainen, 2005; Huw, 2003). These may increase misunderstanding between the management and the virtual teams if not properly managed. These problems can only be reduced when the management develops rules which regulate the use of these tools for effective performance of timely and good work.
Non response to communication over the Internet is an indication that the work is not in progress and therefore for easy management the two parties are to keep their communication links intact for easy ascertainment of the condition of the work progress. The management is to develop rules which will allow to constantly monitor the work so that it can be uploaded for verification in time. Timely submission of work reduces the possibility of work clogging in the management desk and also increases the quantity of work done by the organization.

Team Organization

Virtual workers are effectively organized when the top management assigned to them works at the right time and gives them enough time to perform their duties effectively. Each virtual worker should be responsible and accountable for his or her work to reduce the conflict which may arise between him/her and the managements’ corporate values such as empowerment, honesty and accountability which are instituted by the management to motivate the members of the virtual team. According to Griffin (2008), good corporate values improve the commitment and dedication of employees.

Duties are to be delegated to the members of virtual team according to their qualifications and experience to allow them to be responsible for a task which they can perform best. The top manager should ensure that the personnel recruited have qualification. The employee evaluation process should properly assess the confidence and effectiveness of candidates towards using the communication media which will keep them in full contact with the management throughout their working sessions (Williamson, 2009). There should always be frequent visits to the local countries by the executives to conduct direct interviews with the virtual workers in order to detect the talents and skills which the individual workers have so that the work is assigned to them according to their skills and talents.

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There should be one universal language which is applicable to all the virtual workers and the management because language barrier will hinder the effectiveness of the work (Conlin, 2009). The management and people of the virtual teams are to be in constant communication but when others do not understand the language used by the organization, it will be very difficult to reach the progress of work in different geographical regions. The management should only recruit candidates who understand the language of the organization such as English which will make the communication easy when the tasks are being assigned to them.
The top management is also to organize refreshing common courses to update the virtual teams on the current technological development via the Internet to improve their efficiency and effectiveness of their jobs. The courses will act as incentives to virtual workers and will make them feel they are valued by the management.

The top management is to develop a schedule of work which indicates the time allowance within which the work is to be completed. This encourages workers and improves their work efficiency as they will work very hard to complete their work in time (Griffin, 2008). The management must closely follow up the tasks assigned to the employees via appropriate communication media to ensure that they meet the expected standards as the management has the responsibility of maintaining good relationship between customers and employees.

Relationship between the customers and the management is developed when customers are satisfied with the services of the company. This helps the company to obtain global reputation. The executives are also to develop good relations with the employees to create humane and harmonious environment for the performance of their duties.

Conclusion

The management should establish measurable objectives which can be achieved by the virtual workers. The systems which monitor the progress of work done by the virtual workers should also be instituted to effectively access ongoing jobs in other geographical regions. People in the virtual team should also be treated as members of the organization by including them in the major decision making process of the organization. This will make them feel that they are stakeholders of the organization and therefore act responsibly when performing their duties.

The management must also properly choose the communication media to enhance the effectiveness of communication between the workers and the management. When selecting communication tools, culture and gender of the members of virtual team should be taken into account to avoide misunderstanding. In the evaluation process of the candidates to be recruited to join the virtual team, the management should consider their abilities to apply the current communication technology in the organization to select the right candidates who can perform according to their standards.

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