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Friday, 25 May 2012

ORGANIZATIONS AND CULTURES: Organizational Communication and virtual teams

Organizational Communication and virtual teams

Communication is one of te most important elements within an Enterprise. It´s a sensitive aspect cause it links employees and supervisors to share information.
Communication is a learned skill in which individuals share their idea or information, which could take a lot of forms and could be interpersonal or made with help of the technologies.

Interpersonal communication is the base of a relationship and involves lots of elements like, the communicator, the receiver, the perceptual screens, and the message. There are also issues like the noise, encode, decode and feedback, that play an important role in the way individuals communicate.

Depending on the approach used by the manager, it may be expressive speaker, in which managers peacefully express and share their thoughts. Emphatic listeners, in which leaders focuses on the other. Persuasive Readers, in which they try to promote interest in others to achieve a goal. Sensitive to feelings Readers, in which they try to take critical perspectives that enable them to negative feedback in a confident way. And finally, Informative managers which are willing to maintain open communication with employees.

The most important thing that leaders should keep in mind is how to maintain an effective communication, and the best way to do this is taking into account the principles of effective communication, which are: Clarity, a specific objective (purpose of the message), full understanding, Consistency, Completeness, Feedback and Time.

There are four basic types:
Proxemics - an individual’s perception & use of space
Kinesics - study of body movements, including posture
Facial & eye behavior -  movements that add cues for the receiver
Paralanguage - variations in speech, such as pitch, loudness, tempo, tone, duration, laughing, & crying.

The Barriers to Communication are Physical separation, Status differences, Gender differences, Cultural diversity and Language.

Nowadays there are Virtual teams, which are team members who are geographically dispersed and who come together by way of telecommunications technology. Each team member may be located in a traditional office setting, but the offices are not proximate to one another. A virtual team is also called Geographically Dispersed Team.

We could classify the virtual teams in four types, teleworkers, virtual groups, virtual teams and virtual communities.

Virtual teams represent the workplace and provide organizations with unprecedented level of flexibility and responsiveness, and virtual groups are flexible, saves time and money, and require strong coordination and good communication. But they require advanced technology, it´s more difficult for training of individuals, require workers who do not have to be monitored closely, and involves the management of cultural differences. As a drawback, virtual teams are particularly vulnerable to mistrust, communication break downs, conflicts, and power struggles.

According to Kuruppuarachchi (2009), what benefits and problems arise as a consequence of the creation of virtual team? Identify five each. Based on this, explain how to make the transition from a more traditional team structure to the more distributed team structure?

Drawbacks of virtual teams are:
  •       Ineffective Communications in the absence of face-to-face Communications
  •      Loss of vission- members may not know the goals and objetives clearly
  •       Structure may not fit the organization or operacional environment
  •       Resistance to unstructured nature of teams
  •       Additional cost for setting up remote offices

Benefits of virtual teams are:
  •      Financial gains through improved productivity, reduced cost, reduced travel time, etc
  •           Increased competitive advantages and improved customer satisfaction
  •       More flexibility on working hours for employees     
  •       Improved Business processes and cross-functional and cross-divisional interactions in the organizations
  •      Skilled, qualified, and talented workforce is possible regardless of the distance

To make the transition, the inicial effort required in designing, planning, and implementing virtual teams is enormous. The dimensions to be considered are team structure, strategic objetives, work characteristics, and situational constraints. It is also important to have a well-organized plan for success, particularly considering managerial support and establishing trust between managers and workers are both dependen ton effective Communications.
The key requirements are that regular face-to-face meetings should be scheduled because they perform better than those with less contact. In the lack of face-to-face contacts in virtual teams, effectiveness of ongoing Communications is very important. It is necessary to have a focus on Simplicity on accuracy in Communications. Efficient monitoring mechanisms are also important.

Kuruppuarachchi, P. R. (2009). Virtual team concepts in projects: A case study
Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Retrieved from
Nelson, D and Quick, J.C. (2009) Organizational culture. In Organisational
Behavour: Science, the real world and you.
Powell, A ., G. Piccoli and B. Ives  (2004) Virtual teams : a review of current literature
and directions for future research. The Data base for Advances in Information
Systems , 35: 6-36.
Rosen, B., S. Furst and R. Blackburn (2007) Overcoming Barriers t o Knowledge
Sharing in Virtual Teams. Organizacional Dynamics , 36: 259-273.
Shachaf, P. and N. Hara (2005) Team Effectiveness in Virtual Environments : An
Ecological Approach. INFERRIS, P.A.G., S., (Ed.) Teaching and Learning with Virtual
Teams. Idea Group Publishing.

ORGANIZATIONS AND CULTURES: Organizational Communication and virtual teams

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