A virtual team is a group of individuals trying to accomplish a given task from different geographic locations, with the use of communication technology such as video conferencing and email to ensure their connectivity. Virtual teams have been adapted by companies to help in widespread research in different regions so as to provide different findings used to solve various problems. In regards to technological innovation and product development, virtual teams are important as they ensure that widespread research is done in different regions in order to ascertain the suitability of the region in regards to getting a Self-Powered Wireless Communication Platform. The teams also will usually research on the people’s familiarity with the form of technology being provided and they will be able to come up with solutions based on their findings. For this reasons, virtual teams tend to be able to assess how prepared the people of various countries are with regards to the management of disaster.
Virtual teams are effective in cases where they are global as this ensures that members are able to work continuously from different parts of the world by utilizing the factor of different time zones in the world (University of Aberdeen). By being in strategic locations, different projects are able to be completed on time and effectively, for example if teams are based North America, Europe and Far East. Virtual teams are built from the best possible members available and even from other organizations, based on strategic alliances, thus ensuring that high quality work is done (University of Aberdeen).
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For teams located in multiple countries and geographies, difference in time zones may hinder communication between the team members and this may delay task completion. There may also be incompatible communication preferences whereby some members may prefer to use emails to communicate, while others may prefer video teleconferencing. These same team members, in the event that they are located in developing countries, may be stranded due to the inability to access expertise that may be present in developed countries and this may pose a challenge to the completion of their tasks.
In comparison to co-located teams where members are located in the same workspace, virtual teams are more efficient in a hypercompetitive market since they provide a wide spectrum to research the market and bring efficient results within a short time. This also allows the people to be creative in coming up with efficient results (Management Study Guide). Virtual team set-up also allows supervisors to delegate work to each member of a team and this helps to reduce the overall workload and makes it easy to monitor the work done by a member, unlike in co-located set-up where the command and control leadership style is applied. Virtual teams are flexible since members are not restricted by time zones or organizational constraints whereas co-located teams are limited by working hours (University of Aberdeen).
However, virtual teams also have their disadvantages. Since this set-up largely relies on technology, there may be communication problems depending on difference in time zones in cases where members belong to a global virtual team and this may cause delays in task completion. This is not so for co-located teams in which members are not limited to technology since they can meet face-to-face and reach a consensus during informal discussions. The virtual set-up has members that are task-oriented hence others may feel discouraged due to lack of personal feel in communication. This does not allow for members to build relationship during teamwork. Co-located team members re able to socialize on a more personal touch and improves personal relationship (Management Study Guide; Fowler, 2015).
A virtual team can be constructed using the Bruce Tuckman’s model of team development that constitutes of forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. Simply broken down, the team members first meet each other for purposes of their own familiarization. They then start to run their ideas with each other, and this is in order for these very ideas to gain acceptance, after which they begin to work together as a team while relying on each other to improve their results before finally parting ways at the end of the task (Abudi, 2010).
Managing a virtual team entails building a proper relationship between the members and the supervisor in order for all managerial functions to be effectively executed. According to recent studies, trust and cohesion should be fostered and a shared sense of purpose should be developed in the team (Stewart, 2012). The members should not totally over-rely on electronic communications. The task issued should ensure that the team members achieve team experience.
Abudi, G. (2010). The Five Stages of Team Development: Case Study . Project Smart. Retrieved from https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/the-five-stages-of-team-development-a-case-study.php
Fowler, M. (2015). Remote vs Co-located Work . Retrieved from http://martinfowler.com/article/remote-or-co-located.html
Management Study Guide. (N.d.) Virtual Teams vs Traditional Teams . Retrieved from http://www.managementstudyguide.com/virtual-teams-and-traditional-teams.htm
Stewart, L. (2012). Building Virtual Teams: Strategies for High Performances . Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes,com/sites/ciocentral/2012/03/30/building-virtual-teams-strategies-for-high-performances/
University of Aberdeen. (N.d.). Benefits of Virtual Teams . Researcher Development. Retrieved from https://www.abdn.ac.uk/develop/managers/benefits-of-virtual-teams-327.php