Discussion on Virtual teams

Virtual Teams

Student’s Name:



Virtual teams

Definition: virtual teams are teams whose members operate across space, time, and organizational boundaries and are linked through information technologies to achieve organizational tasks (McShane & Von Glinow, 2013, p. 255)

Summary: the article “How a Virtual Workforce Levels the Gender Playing Field” by Jeff Hyman, the advantages of adopting virtual teams by firms have been highlighted in depth. He categorically stresses on the gains in terms of gender equality. Jeff Hyman says the lack of conflict between career and family commitments that rocks many traditional jobs has contributed immensely in drawing women to the teams. Flexible work schedules motivate employees as it empowers them.

Discussion: adoption of information technology has revolutionized the workplace. More managers are turning to social media to relay information to their employees. The more professional tools in the form of teleconferencing and skyping play an important role in cost-cutting by facilitating interactions virtually. Emphasis is thus shifting from the number of hours employees spend at the desk to a result based approach that evaluates tasks completed. This has undermined the importance of worker relationships as pointed out by Sian Harrington ( CITATION Har09 l 1033 (Harrington, 2009). This shortcoming has slowed down the adoption of virtual teams that promised to transform the lifestyles of many.

Leadership is identified as a key ingredient in virtual working CITATION Har09 l 1033 (Harrington, 2009). The same sentiments are echoed by Jeff Hyman whose clarifies that virtual teams are better suited for a seasoned workforce that knows a lot about different environments CITATION Jef14 l 1033 (Hyman, 2014). This not only locks out young prospective employees but also hampers career development as learning is a complicated process when working virtually.

An employee’s perspective is presented in the article “Working in a Virtual Team” on the Mind Tools website. Challenges in building relationships and communication setbacks are the core problems that employees face in virtual teams. A case study of an employee by the name Merissa shows that in spite of comprising of intelligent people, virtual teams have in built challenges CITATION Car13 l 1033 (Smith, 2013). Besides the aforementioned problems in building rapport and communication, voicing opinions emerges as another shortcoming. This makes it difficult to resolve team conflicts, leading to tension in the team.

Various remedies to resolve these challenges have been advanced to enable successful virtual teams. Top of the list is effective communication. This should be reflected in emails, timely responses and courteous interactions. This roughly covers all relationships employees are involved in. dealing with isolation and raising issues will ultimately lead to successful virtual teams as evidence in the text tasks (McShane & Von Glinow, 2013, p. 255)

Firms’ Managements should work on selecting the right members for the teams to boost virtual teams’ image and subsequent acceptance in various firms. Reduced costs and a flexible empowered work force is the recipe for success every executive yearns. This makes virtual teams the way forward.


BIBLIOGRAPHY Harrington, S. (2009, May 20). Employers slow to adopt virtual working in spite of its positive benefits to business – See more at: http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/hro/news/1015258/employers-slow-adopt-virtual-spite-positive-benefits-business#sthash.0HwN0PbN.dpuf. Retrieved October 9, 2014, from HR magazine: http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/hro/news/1015258/employers-slow-adopt-virtual-spite-positive-benefits-business

Hyman, J. (2014, August 20). Jeff Hyman: How a Virtual Workforce Levels the Gender Playing Field. Retrieved from THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: http://blogs.wsj.com/accelerators/2014/08/20/jeff-hyman-how-a-virtual-workforce-levels-the-gender-playing-field/?KEYWORDS=virtual+team

S., M., & Glinow, V. (2013). Organizational behaviour. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

Smith, C. (2013, June). Working in a Virtual Team. Retrieved from MindTools: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/working-virtual-team.htm