Sample Communications Paper on Global Virtual Teams

Global Virtual Teams

Global virtual teams are becoming common trends in the modern business and the main influence is the connectivity made possible by the internet era and globalization (Butler, & Zander, 2008, 192).  Global virtual teams (GVT) have enabled many organizations to build knowledge and greater efficiency thereby realizing higher success levels. These teams are faced with the challenge of meeting the deadlines and requirements needed in a very demanding and urgent goals, unless they apply the best practices, then the distance between them may turn into a night mare that could ruin the team. Overcoming these challenges would require the application of best time-tested practices whose results have been seen over the years.

Strong Foundation

The most essential and necessary step towards having a successful global virtual team is the presence of a strong and stable foundation. A strong foundation would be the basis from which the team operates on and this could be achieved by finding a shared purpose that all members of the virtual team would be committed to see accomplished (Duckworth, 2008, 6). The commitment and the shared purpose help reduce the virtual distance among the team members.

The huge distance makes team members to have hard time collaborating effectively with others and working as a team, but when a common purpose is set and felt by all members then the problem of distance is half solved (Flammia, Cleary, & Slattery, 2010, 89). It is necessary that the virtual team have an established charter that outlines the responsibilities, goals and roles of each group member as the expectations and team processes.

The team must have consistent meeting processes and times in case they are from the same time zone (Hertel, Geister, & Kondradt. 2005, 65). Meeting processes should cater for the time zone differences. For example, the use of email could be used as a means of communication between team members in Japan, Kenya and the United States of America.

Members would only be required to leave their inbox open and make it a priority to check their inbox. In case there is any agenda or emerging issue regarding an on-going project, the message could be sent earlier and members given a timeframe to look at it and respond in time (Liu, Magjuka, Lee, & 2008, 77). They can be directed on where to find the needed information before responding to an agenda. Quick responses serve as a motivation to the team members.

Respect the Differences

Global virtual team members are from various cultures. They operate in different ways and cannot be expected to work in the same manners (Lovelace, Shapiro, & Weingart, 2001, 479). Group leaders must learn how to take advantage of the multicultural differences that exist among the group leaders. Different cultures react differently to situations; they also respond differently to conflicts while others could have high tolerance to risks, others would prefer to avoid risks during decision making processes.

Those with low tolerance must be involved in all the decision making processes that the groups have. The difference in time zone could be an advantage to the team (Sutanto, J., Kankanhalli, A., Tan, and B. C. Y. 2011, 133). They could work all round the clock as a team without necessarily having members working throughout. While the team member in Japan is working, the one in The United States of America could be deep a sleep, while the one in Kenya would be about to wake up. This ensures a continuous work 24/7.

Effective Collaboration

The team could research on the best possible ways that would promote collaborations among the members of the team. They could utilize the appropriate technologies, such as the video conferencing to conjure up face-to-face meetings when possible. Collaborating rooms should also support interactive elements such as the polling and the white-board. Where necessary, the team members could be trained on the use of latest technologies so that they are able to collaborate fully.

Provide Suggestions

Members should learn to discuss issues among themselves carefully in private until they both agree on something (Wildman & Griffith, 2015). The virtual distance among members could easily lead to situations whereby a mere lack of clarification could lead to a bitter argument between members of the team. Members should therefore suggest alternative when they disagree with any member’s idea and not just share his or her dislike for the proposed idea.

The same should apply when a member has something positive he wants to share or when he is happy with an idea from any member (Taras et al., 2013, 414). The member who suggested an idea that one likes should be told that his idea is supported. Multi-tasking could help members remain faster as it enables members to work on other tasks when they have an issue they don’t understand in another, instead of remaining stack and frustrated.

Part 2

At the beginning of the semester, I knew I had weaknesses when it comes to communicating with people from other cultures. I remember having had time when found myself in a group of students from various cultures. I could not even utter a word as I had nothing to discuss with them. I therefore made me my priority to do my best and learn competencies that would help improve my communication with people across different cultural backgrounds.

During the semester, I have developed some communication competence that I believe would be very instrumental in ensuring that I engage fully and successfully in a multicultural communication. Some of the competences developed during this time include; agreeableness and openness

Agreeableness

I have learned o show concern for my group members and the achievement of our goals. This has replaced my initial priorities in multicultural communication which were mainly to achieve my desires and to promote my areas of interests (Webster, & Wong, 2008, 41). My improvement in this aspect has made the people I have shared groups with to see me as a very cooperative member. This competence has enabled me to be more responsive towards other group members and not to merely focus on myself.

Openness

When engaging with people from various cultural backgrounds, I have learned to be open to the experience that I would have with them. I have become more independent, imaginative and have developed high preference to variety (Zakaria, 2008, 1115). I enjoy communication where there are more variations in terms of cultural backgrounds, opinions and approaches to various issues. I have become more independent in my thinking and this has made me to enjoy more when am left to think for myself and not subjected to many rules or routines. Multicultural communications have exposed me to interesting facts and the ability to appreciate these new facts from others has really increased in the recent past. I can fantasize and imagine life of others, how they live and the things they believe.

It has now become much easier to feel for others by being receptive to their emotional experiences and states (Webster, & Wong, 2008, 44). To effectively communicate with other people from various backgrounds, I have learned that this ability to respond to their inner emotions has contributed to an immense success towards having constructive conversations.

Traveling to new places has become my hobby of late. Meeting new people, trying out new things learning a few things about their cultures has become much of interest to me of late and my curiosity to learn their cultures and try out new ideas has been great. I have found myself re-examining political, religious and traditional social values as their importance in a person’s life cannot be underestimated. I believe that these developments have improved my communication competence.

Action Plan for Developing Confidence

Become Aware of Myself

This would be the first step towards achieving confidence. In this step, I would put down all my strengths, interests, and physical and personal abilities in paper and then reflect deeply on them (Taras et al., 2013, 416). It is said that for one to know where he wants to go, he must know where he is coming from so I will start from where I am before proceeding to where I want be.

Self Motivation

I must be able to motivate myself. I would encourage myself to do certain things consistently for a long period, For example, I would do exercise for 30 minutes daily, write one blog article every week, and Practice Piano three times a week

Taking Care of Myself

I would do my best to always feel and look good. I would engage in things that make me feel good, but I latest fashion trends as well as work on my postures and how I conduct myself around people.

 

Developing My Mind

This would make me interesting to interact with and also help me develop a sharp and active brain. I would play more strategy games like the chess, read more on various issues and stay informed on the current affair

References

Butler, C., Zander, L. 2008. The business of teaching and learning through multicultural teams. Journal of Teaching in International Business, vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 192-218.

Duckworth, H. 2008. How TRW automotive helps global virtual teams perform at the top of their game. Global Business and Organizational Excellence, vol. 28, pp. 6-16.

Flammia, M., Cleary, Y., Slattery, D. M. 2010. Leadership roles, socio-emotional communication strategies, and technology use of Irish and US students in virtual teams. IEEE Transactions of Professional Communication, vol. 53, No. 2, pp. 89-101.

Hertel, G., S. Geister., U. Kondradt. 2005. Managing virtual teams: A review of current empirical research. Human Resource Management Review, vol. 15, pp. 65-95.

Liu, X., Magjuka, R.J., Lee, s. 2008. An examination of the relationship among structure, trust, and conflict management styles in virtual teams. Performance Improvement Quarterly, vol. 21, No. 1, pp. 77-93.

Lovelace, K., Shapiro, D. L., Weingart, L. R. 2001. Maximizing cross-functional new Product teams’ innovativeness and constraint adherence: A conflict communications perspective. Academy of Management Journal, vol. 44, No. 4, pp. 479-493.

Sutanto, J., Kankanhalli, A., Tan, B. C. Y. 2011. Deriving IT-mediated task coordination portfolios for global virtual teams. IEEE Transactions of Professional Communication, vol. 54, No. 2, pp. 133-151.

Taras, V., Caprar, D., Rottig, D., Sarala, R., Zakaria, N., Zhao, F., Jimenez, A., Wankel, C., Lei, W.S., Minor, M., Bryła, P., Ordenana, X., Bode, A., Schuster, A., Vaiginiene, E., Froese, F., Bathula, H., Yajnik, N., Baldegger R., Huang V., 2013. A global classroom? Evaluating the effectiveness of global virtual collaboration as a teaching tool in management education. Academy of Management Learning & Education, vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 414-435.

Webster, J., Wong, W. 2008. Comparing traditional and virtual group forms: Identity, communication and trust in naturally occurring project teams. International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 19, No. 1, pp.  41-62.

Zakaria, N. 2008. Using computer mediated communication as a tool to facilitate intercultural collaboration of global virtual teams. In M. Pagani (ed.) Encyclopedia of Multimedia Technology and Networking, vol. 2, pp. 1115-1123. New York: Information Science Reference.