This project is about managing and implementing virtual teams. Successful implementation, initiation, and execution of a virtual team can increase attention to a product design, and construction community (Malhotra, 2000). Virtual teams can transform the concept of project planning and implementation if resources are leveraged, equal opportunities given to different people and the right technology is used on the project of an organization. Nontechnical factors like cultural differences, communication, and different leadership approaches can turn a virtual team into a virtual frustration. Other factors like security, appropriate technologies, and system compatibility can be used to solve or leverage virtual teamwork. This paper shows the methods of starting and managing the virtual teams of gulf and United States region for a global manager of www.souq.com online merchandise.
A virtual team refers to a group of people working together from different geographical areas (Bal, & Teo, 2000). www.Souq.com is an online merchandiser that sells electronics, clothes, shoes, house accessories game accessories among other products. Currently, souq.com is operating in the Gulf region and wants to venture into the US online platform. This paper focuses on the strategies, and methods that the online merchandiser will use to join and operate on the US online platform successfully. The virtual teams will be based in the Gulf and US geographical areas. They will be communicating online or using emails, texts, and phone calls. As a global manager, I will be explaining how to successfully implement, manage and control the virtual teams of the gulf and United States regions. I will also explain the advantages and disadvantage the virtual team is likely to encounter and how to overcome such challenges. This paper will also show how to solve conflicts and manage cultural diversity among the virtual team members.
Implementing virtual management
The most crucial aspect of virtual management is first getting the right team. Hire experienced people that have ever worked on online merchandise before and assign the respective roles that match their skills. Put the members into groups of the right size and dividing labor appropriately among them. Hire people with good communication skills, leadership skills, and high emotional intelligence, responsible, able to work independently, problem solvers and appreciate and acknowledge other cultures. For successful virtual teamwork, as the global manager for the souq.com, I would create a team of only five people (Bal, & Teo, 2000). These few team members will be assigned different roles and responsibilities and will be held accountable for any work mistakes committed. Out of these executives, I will create an operational team and outer management teams. The core team is the five executives that are responsible for strategy. The operational team is a sub-team that will have more members and will be accountable for day to day decision making in the work activities. The outer team will consist of part-time members that are brought in at particular stages of the project according to their specialization. The leaders of these teams will be experienced and have the right leadership skills. I should ensure that trust is fostered among all the team members by encouraging them to share their background information, holding brief online meetings for all members to air their views on areas of success and encouraging them to communicate through texts, email, or phones. Then open dialogue should be encouraged and call on the virtual members to practice team collaboration and communication.
The goals, visions, ambitions, and guidelines for souq.com will be defined and known by all the virtual team members. The procedures should be stated to avoid ambiguity and misconduct among the team members (Malhotra, 2000). The time taken to respond to a call or text message by team members should be stated and agree that no multitasking when one is on call. Video meetings and calls should be simple, fun and open to all team members. For easy management, the team will have the right touch points. Team members can meet face to face. The first meeting should be at least physical; then when members are far from each other, they can hold online meetings, conference calls, and meetings. We will use the right technology, right search engines, and systems that available to all the members and customers of all the countries 24/7. The technology system to use will allow for conference calls, direct calling and text messaging, discussion forums and virtual team rooms.
Managing cultural diversity
The team in the US that has a different culture, economy, and politics can be managed by two processes. Social, emotional process and task processes. The social, emotional process consists of trust, relationship building, and shared emotion. Task process involves communication, goal setting, coordination, and leadership (Shachaf, 2008). The chosen US leaders will set clear goals for each team member and give constant feedbacks of their performance. All the virtual teams will be expected to appreciate different cultures, build relationships with other team members from the United States, understand their different personalities, communicate with each other and perform their assigned roles to achieve their goals. Cultural differences could be used to make several decisions and innovations if the used to the advantage.
Learning about different cultures among countries and people, and having appropriate communication channels such as electronic media can minimize the cultural differences among the team members. Incorporating the proper language for all the people to communicate with will reduce language barrier and misunderstandings (Shachaf, 2008). Members will have an open dialogue where they are allowed to air their different views about work professionally and to use the right communication skills even when disagreeing with each other. Assigning different roles among members from different countries will encourage relationship building, interaction and appreciating different cultures.
How teams will work together
The virtual teams will work together in the following ways. Each team member will be required to sign off on their responsibility (Gibson, & Cohen, 2003). The responsibilities shall be defined. Establish the time zones for the different countries, and the financial currency to use for the team members in different countries. Agree on the time zone to use, and give allowance for deadlines for submission or replies to the members according to the existing time difference zone. Therefore, the staff from each country will be working and giving feedback to the executives as required. All the team members will have given deadlines to respond or provide feedback according to their time zones.
How meetings will be held
All the online meetings will be held after considering all the team members in the different countries. The leaders will be required to respond quickly to any concerns raised by members. Therefore, the time set for the meeting will ensure that all the members of gulf and United States are available. The sessions will be online and a professional language that is common for all the members. At most times, the English language is the most appropriate language to use. The language used should be courteous, polite, and to the point to avoid misunderstandings. Any member with complains, concern or issue is allowed to email, call or text the responsible persons immediately. Work ethics, integrity, teamwork will be core principles of the virtual team Gibson, & Cohen, 2003). Collaborative tasks, communication, relationship building and trust will be highly encouraged among the members. Honesty and successful communication will be crucial for the team. Members should keep their promises, meet their set goals and willingly solve problems with other members.
The members will be using google hangouts that offer video call services that are less costly than the skype. They will be sharing documents, videos, watch YouTube channel and have live online meetings. They will also use eZTalks cloud meeting as a team collaboration tool. They can also use Skype to communicate and interact with each other when building relationships among themselves. They will use Dropbox for synching different folders on different computers (Duarte, & Snyder, 2006). The TeamViewer tool will also enable them to transfer files among themselves, and make a unique product. The WebEx Meeting center application will allow the members to share content and videos, quick decision making, corporate videos and save time and money. All will have at least a mobile phone and a laptop or a computer.
Advantages of virtual teams
Some of the advantages of using virtual teams are cost savings, leverage global talent, increased productivity and higher profits, reduced time to market, and newer opportunities. www.Souq.com will save costs on office space, executive travels, and utility bills such as water, electricity, and gas. The team members from both countries have different talents that work together on a project. The members will have a higher focus on their tasks at hand (Bergiel, Bergiel, & Balsmeier, 2008). They do not deal with the unnecessary bureaucracy that fastens the decision making hence increasing productivity. The different time zones in the countries ensure that 24/7 members are working as others are resting. Therefore there is a short product development time, faster response time to demands in both global and local markets. Virtual teams have created newer opportunities for members who have difficulty in leaving their families to work in other countries. They can work comfortably from their home countries.
Disadvantages of virtual teams
The challenges that the virtual team will experience include the cost of technology, lack of trusts and collaboration, conflicts, and social isolation. The tools that the virtual team uses are interdepended and costly. The cost of installation maintenance of the tools is relatively high. Conflicts among members could be caused by the cultural differences among them (Kirkman, Rosen, Gibson, Tesluk, & McPherson, 2002). For example, the United States people are frank and talk straight to the point\. They could be in conflict either members from Gulf region for frankly describing a bad situation. Members experience social isolation because of lack of social interactions. Effective communication strategies, greater role clarity and different leadership and managerial approaches can overcome all these challenges. Define expectations, employee performance, agenda, and metrics to be used. Encourage face to face meetings, video calls, for the members to use and capitalize on technology.
Managing outsourced projects
As a manager, I will manage outsourced projects by first helping the outsourced party understand the business and goals. Then, ensure that every team member on working on the same playbook. Be mindful and respectful of everyone’s time zone and use them to my advantage (Choudhury, & Sabherwal, 2003). Have a good project management software and ensure all the parties use it. Use the drop box to synch up files on different computers of the members. Hold regular video charts with the parties involved and treat with respect the outsourced member of the team.
I will use a conference phone call to solve a problem between members. Before using the method, I will first set ground rules that I will not take sides, will serve as a mediator and help clear misunderstandings (Montoya-Weiss, Massey, & Song, 2001). Let each party air their views without agreeing or disagreeing but just getting the critical information. Compare the ideas of the team members and address the air areas of conflict. State the necessary actions to be taken with help from other team members. And lastly, give a solution to the problem according to the original goal and purpose of the team.
For improvement, all the virtual team members should have three essential characteristics; trust, communication, and attentiveness. The team leaders should have strong interpersonal skills, take the initiative and demonstrate flexibility (Kirkman, Rosen, Tesluk, & Gibson, 2004). They should be chosen on clear and on a fair basis and without a base. The success of a virtual team highly depends on the leaders. Clear guidelines and procedures of how to choose the leaders should be well stated and understood by all the team players. Experienced leaders are the best options but also new leaders can be chosen if they qualify.
The global manager of the company should concentrate on the virtual team rather than tangible assets in order to gain knowledge, ideas, and increased employee creativity give the existing demographic levels and the competitive US online market. Virtual teams have various advantages like flexibility, cost savings, new opportunities among other benefits. They are also faced with a few challenges like communication and leadership that can be overcome. Proper management and leadership among the virtual groups bring out the best purpose and benefits of a virtual group. Mismanagement and wrong leadership can destroy the purpose and benefits of virtual teams.
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