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Published by: مهنوش جوادی پورفر on May 08, 2011
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Managing virtual teams

A review of current empirical research

Virtual Team
‡ Two or more persons Who ‡ Collaborate interactively to achieve common goals

While ‡ At least one of the team members works at a different location, organization, or at a different time - Geographically Dispersed Team So that ‡ Communication and predominantly based communication media

coordination is on electronic

Various Forms of Virtual Work
Depending on: ‡ The number of persons involved ‡ The degree of interaction between them

‡ People working at home, often through a home, different employment contract. If the workers contract. communicate with each other through the network this is an instance of electronic teamwork

Virtual Groups
‡ When several teleworkers are combined teleworkers ‡ Each member reports to the same manager

Virtual Teams
‡ When the members of a virtual group interact with each other ‡ To accomplish common goals

Virtual Communities
‡ Are larger entities of distributed work ‡ Members participate via the Internet ‡ Common purposes, roles and norms ‡ Are not implemented within an organizational structure

‡ the relation of face-to-face to non-face-to-face face-tonon-face-tocommunication ‡ the average distance between the members ‡ number of working sites represented in the team ‡ the number of members at each site

Virtuality in Teams
‡ Individual ‡ Organizational ‡ Societal

‡ Advantages higher
² flexibility ² time control ² responsibilities ² work motivation ² empowerment

of the team members

‡ Challenges
² feelings of isolation ² decreased interpersonal contact ² increased chances of misunderstandings ² conflict escalation ² increased opportunities of role ambiguity and goal conflicts due to commitments to different workworkunits

‡ Advantages (strategic)
² working by skills ² working round the clock ² speed and flexibility in response to market demands ² a closer connection to suppliers and customers suppliers customers ² expenses for traveling and office space can be reduced

‡ Challenges
members¶ ² difficulties to supervise team members¶ activities ² additional costs for appropriate technology

‡ Advantages
² develop regions with low infrastructure and employment rate ² integrate persons with low mobility ² decrease environmental strains

‡ Challenges
² isolation between people

Lifecycle Model of Virtual Team Management
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Phase A: Preparations Phase B: Launch Phase C: Performance Management Phase D: Team Development Phase E: Disbanding

Phase A : Preparations

Personnel Selection
‡ KSA ‡ general cognitive abilities ‡ taskwork-related attributes (hard working and taskworkreliable , integrity) ‡ teamwork-related socio-emotional attributes teamworksocio(agreeableness , emotional stability) ‡ attributes relevant for telecooperation ‡ diversity

Task Design
Suitable tasks for virtual teams: teams: ‡ the lower their degree of physical work ‡ the higher the degree of information-based informationwork

Task Type
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Generating Choosing Negotiating Executing

Task Interdependence
‡ describes the degree or requirement of tasktaskdriven interaction among group members ‡ is determined by the design of the group task

High Task Interdependence
‡ is created when team members have to coordinate their activities frequently so that the performance of one member strongly affects the work process of other team members

‡ positive effect: effect:
increases of ² teams cohesion ² the sense of indispensability contributions to the team ² team communication ² trust



‡ negative effects: effects:
² increase process losses and conflicts within the team

Rewards System
‡ have to be adapted to
² goals ² task interdependence ² autonomy ² diversity ² degree of virtuality

‡ To support the collaboration of virtual teams ‡ Groupware : workgroup support systems - help people involved in a common task achieve their goals ± interaction through computers ‡ GSS : a collaboration technology designed to support meetings and group work - electronic meeting system
² GSS can improve communication, structure problem-solving problemprocesses, and maintain an alignment between personal and group goals

Organizational Integration
‡ sufficient organizational support ‡ frequent communication organizational units with other

Phase B : Launch

Kick-off Workshops
‡ getting acquainted with the other team members ‡ clarifying the team goals ‡ clarifying the roles and functions of the team members ‡ information and training how communication technologies can be used efficiently ‡ developing general rules for the teamwork

Phase C : Performance Management

‡ After the launch of a virtual team, work effectiveness and a constructive team climate has to be maintained using performance management strategies

‡ team managers are not at the same location as the team members ‡ delegative management principles : shift parts of classic managerial functions to the team members

Leadership Approaches
‡ EPM : Electronic Performance Management
² Standardization ² Separation ² Simplification

‡ MBO : Management By Objective :
process of agreeing upon objectives within an organization so objectives that management and employees agree to the objectives and understand what they are ² goal setting ² participation ² feedback about task fulfillment

‡ Self-management Self² Self organization

Regulation of Communication
‡ The main concern here is that electronic media reduce the richness of information exchange compared to face-to-face communication face-to-

‡ Conflict escalation
² describes the escalation of a conflict to a more destructive, confrontational, painful, or otherwise "less comfortable" level. level. ² A clash of interests, values, actions or directions often sparks a conflict. conflict.

‡ Dis-inhibited communication ( flaming ) Dis² Disinhibition is a term in psychology used to describe conditions of a person being unable (rather than disinclined) to control their immediate impulsive response to a situation.

Non-jobNon-job-related Communication
‡ The amount of non-task-related communication non-taskcorrelated positively with both team effectiveness and team members¶ satisfaction members¶ ‡ Cohesion , trust , motivation

Maintenance of Motivation and Emotion
‡ motivation and trust
² valence ² instrumentality ² self-efficacy self² trust

‡ team identification and cohesion ‡ satisfaction of the team members

Knowledge Management
‡ Knowledge Management range of practices used identify, create, distribute knowledge for learning ('KM') comprises a by organizations to represent, and reuse, awareness and

‡ Management of knowledge and the development of shared understanding within the teams

Phase D : Training and Team Development

‡ the development of such training concepts should be based on an empirical assessment of the needs and/or deficits of the team and its members, and the effectiveness of the evaluated trainings should be evaluated empirically ‡ increased cohesiveness and team satisfaction compared to a control group

Phase E : Disbanding

‡ the final stage of group development ‡ when virtual project teams have only a short life-time life(transient teams) and reform again quickly, careful quickly, and constructive disbanding is mandatory in order to maintain high motivation and satisfaction among the employees ‡ team identity which is based on common fate should start high in the beginning of the teamwork but should shrink constantly over time

‡ A strong need for clarified team goals and team roles that are not in conflict with commitments to other work units ‡ Careful implementation of efficient communication and collaboration processes that prevent misunderstandings misunderstandings and conflict escalation due to reduced communication cues ‡ Continuous support of team awareness, informal communication, and sharing of socio-emotional cues sociotogether with sufficient performance feedback and information about the individual working situation of each virtual team member

‡ Creating experiences of interdependence within the team in order to compensate for feelings of disconnectedness, for instance via goal setting, task design, or team-based incentives team‡ Developing appropriate kick-off workshops and team kicktraining concepts to prepare and support the teams for the specific challenges of virtual teamwork

Locus of control and attitudes to working in virtual teams

LOC : Locus Of Control
‡ Julian B. Rotter in 1954 based on social learning theory
² expected effect or outcome of the behavior has an impact on motivation of people to engage in that behavior ² people learn new behavior through over reinforcement or punishment or via observational learning

‡ important aspect of personality ‡ refers to a person's belief about what causes the good or bad results in his or her life ± it effects on behaviour and performance

² Internal : meaning the person believes that they control themselves and their life
‡ High-achieving High‡ Hard workers ‡ Proactive

environment, ² External : meaning they believe that their environment, some higher power, or other people control their decisions power, and their life
‡ Less realistic ‡ Less capable of coping with their environment ‡ Learned helplessness
² has learned to act or behave helpless in a particular situation, even when it has the power to change its unpleasant or even harmful circumstance ² absence of control over the outcome of a situation

LOC components
Personal ‡ Ability ‡ Effort Environmental ‡ Task difficulty ‡ Luck

Role Conflict
‡ Role conflict is a conflict among the roles corresponding to two or more statues ‡ Often, two or more roles collide in certain situations ‡ One is forced to take on two different and incompatible roles at the same time

Role Conflict and Job Satisfaction
‡ Any mismatch between individual preference and actual work performed, it can act as an indicator of performed, possible role stress ‡ Economic pressures often result in workers being asked to perform roles and tasks that they may not be emotionally suitable or technically equipped to do ‡ The lack of socialisation and having to work in relative isolation

‡ Unhappy having to have to work through the electronic media ‡ Remoteness of distributed working also reduces the reduces opportunity for learning and ideas sharing ‡ Self-preservation Self² ¶passing the buck¶ to other stakeholders buck¶ ² blame events that are outside of their control

‡ Members may find themselves operating outside of their zone of comfort as they are called to interact horizontally and vertically with multiple project stakeholders

‡ Individuals LOC can affect team performance ‡ Punishment or failure can cause stress and this can lead to dissatisfaction ‡ A good understanding of member-member memberbehavioral influences are important ‡ The structured rules can help for better management for virtual teams

Group decision making in a multiple criteria environment :
A case using the AHP in software selection

The Analytic Hierarchy Process

The AHP in group decision support
‡ Thomas L. Saaty 1970 ‡ Complex decisions ‡ Comprehensive and rational framework
² for structuring a problem ² for representing and quantifying its elements quantifying ² for relating those elements to overall goals ² for evaluating alternative solutions

‡ Decompose decision problem into a hierarchy of more subeasily comprehended sub-problems ‡ Evaluate its various elements ‡ Human judgments can be used in evaluations judgments ‡ AHP : converts the evaluations to numerical values ‡ Numerical weight or priority ‡ Comparison for diverse and often incommensurable elements ‡ Numerical priorities : alternatives' relative ability to achieve the decision goal

Set the Priorities
‡ Consensus ‡ Vote or Compromise ‡ Geometric mean of the individuals' judgments ( average ) ‡ Separate models or players

AHP in a group setting
‡ Accommodate both tangible and intangible characteristics, individual values and shared values ‡ The discussion centers on objectives rather objectives than on alternatives

‡ Allow discussion to continue until all available and pertinent information have been considered and a consensus choice of the alternative most likely to achieve the organization's stated objectives is achieved ‡ Subjective and objective evaluation measures

AHP and group decision makers
‡ Structure complex decisions ‡ Develop measures of utility ‡ Synthesize measures of both tangibles and intangibles ‡ A flexible tool for group decision making ‡ More responsibility and satisfaction ‡ Comparisons can be quickly revised revised

Delphi Method
‡ Is a systematic , interactive forecasting method ‡ On a panel of independent experts ‡ After each round, a facilitator provides an anonymous summary of the experts¶ experts¶ forecasts from the previous round as well as the reasons they provided for their judgments - a facilitator : a person coordinating the Delphi method

‡ Revision of answers in light of the replies of other members of the group ‡ During this process the range of the answers will decrease and the group will converge towards the "correct" answer ‡ Stop criterion
² number of rounds ² achievement of consensus ² stability of results

‡ The mean or median scores of the final rounds determine the results ‡ But time consuming and without any definite way

‡ AHP was easy to use ‡ Its hierarchy model encouraged decision makers to work as a collaborative unit and led to a more cooperative analysis of the problem ‡ Group decisions without the AHP were harder to achieve due to the lack of a common reference model

‡ AHP had the potential to eventually force them to focus on individual views ‡ The interactiveness of AHP invites decision makers to continually refine the group's preference ‡ It improved the quality of the group decision ‡ Satisfaction with the group decision ‡ Reaching a consensus

Innovation management in context:
environment, organization and performance

Best Practice
‡ Best Practice is an idea that asserts that there is a technique, method, process, activity, incentive or reward that is more effective at delivering a particular outcome than any other technique, method, process, etc. etc. ‡ The idea is that with proper processes, checks, and testing, a desired outcome can be delivered with fewer problems and unforeseen complications. complications. ‡ Best practices can also be defined as the most efficient (least results) amount of effort) and effective (best results) way of effort) accomplishing a task, based on repeatable procedures that have proven themselves over time for large numbers of people. people.

Contingency Theory
‡ They suggested that previous theories such as Weber's bureaucracy and Taylor's scientific management had failed because they neglected that management style and organizational structure were influenced by various aspects of the environment : the contingency factors. There could not be "one best factors. way" way" for leadership or organization ‡ No single organizational structure is effective in all circumstances, and that instead there is an optimal organizational structure that best fits a given contingency, such as size, strategy, task uncertainty size, strategy, or technology

Factors Which Affect Management Of Innovation
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Type of innovation Stage of innovation Scope of innovation Type of organization

Environmental Contingencies
‡ Uncertainty : is a function of the rate of change of technologies and product-markets productAffects: Affects:
² magnitude of innovation ² nature of innovation

‡ Complexity : a function of the number of technologies and their interactions , and technological and organizational interdependencies

Complexity and Uncertainty and management of innovation
‡ Differentiated
² Complexity low , Uncertainty low

‡ Innovative
² Complexity low , Uncertainty high

‡ Networked
² Complexity high , Uncertainty low

‡ Complex
² Complexity high , Uncertainty high

‡ Differentiated
² Marketing competencies ² Product or market multi-divisional structure multi-

‡ Innovative
² Scientific or technological competencies ² Functional structure

‡ Networked
² Project management competencies ² Professional structure

‡ Complex
² A range of competencies
‡ Flexibility ‡ Adaption ‡ Learning

Degree and Type of Innovation
‡ Type
² Product innovation (change in product or service) service) ² Process innovation (change in ways product or service are created)

‡ Degree : Degree of novelty involved
² Sustaining ² Disruptive

‡ Sustaining
² Improves product performance of established products ² Revolutionary : An innovation that creates a new market by allowing customers to solve a problem in way. (E. a radically new way. (E.g., the automobile) ² Evolutionary : An innovation that improves a product in an existing market in ways that customers are expecting. (E.g., fuel injection) expecting. (E. incremental; ² Sustaining technologies are often incremental; however, they can also be radical or discontinuous

‡ Disruptive
² An innovation that creates a new (and unexpected) market unexpected) values. (E. by applying a different set of values. (E.g., the lower priced Ford Model-T) Model² Disruptive technologies are particularly threatening to the leaders of an existing market, because they are competition direction. coming from an unexpected direction. ² Can come to dominate an existing market by either filling a role in a new market that the older technology could not fill cheaper, smaller(as cheaper, lower capacity but smaller-sized flash memory) or by successively moving up-market through upperformance improvements until finally displacing the market incumbents (as digital photography has largely replaced film photography). photography). ² for whom price is more important than quality

Innovation Space

Organizational Responses to Complexity and Uncertainty
‡ the goal should be to identify the organizational configurations most suited to specific technological and market environments , rather than to seek a single idea or best practice model for ANY context
² Internal organization
‡ Functional links ‡ Definition of business divisions based on product±market linkages product±

² External linkages
‡ Using suitable networks

‡ Therefore the better the fit between organization and contingency , the higher the organizational performance ‡ Contingencies affect the structure of organization and innovation management

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