Week one/four slide presentation | Human Resource Management homework help


Write a three-page (separate reference page) minimum slide of each both bolded topic (Virtual and Multicultural Teams).

VIRTUAL TEAMS

A body of research on virtual teams has emerged over the past decade that supports their utility, and necessity. The number of face-to-face teams is becoming smaller, and the number of virtual teams working in business, health care, education, manufacturing, and other enterprises is increasing. Even high school and university project teams work together virtually more than face to face.

A virtual team is one whose members are spread out in different geographical locations and/or working hours and, most important, communicate and coordinate their work through electronic media (e.g., email, telephone, videoconferencing). The number of virtual teams has increased in many international organizations over the past few decades. The main reason is the globalization and decentralization of specific work processes—for example, a development project within an organization that is dependent on different skills and experiences available in various locations around the world. A research review on virtual teams proposes some general principles for managing them. They need the following:

Clear goals and roles that do not conflict with other commitments for the team members

A thorough introduction of effective communication procedures, and cooperation that prevents misunderstandings and conflicts that may occur due to the more limited communication channels

Continuous support that strengthens team awareness among members, and opportunity for informal communication and exchange

Access to feedback on performance and how things are going for the team, as well as information about individual team members’ work situations so that everyone has realistic expectations of one another

Interdependence within the team to counteract feelings of disconnection, for example with joint goal-setting, design, and distribution of work tasks, as well as team-based incentives

Development of appropriate kickoff opportunities and activities for training to support the team in the special challenges that virtual teamwork brings

MULTICULTURAL TEAMS

Multicultural teams are also increasingly prevalent. Many of them are geographically dispersed (virtual) teams. Other multicultural teams are so-called face-to-face teams. Some studies imply that geographically dispersed multicultural teams are better able to work effectively than are face-to-face multicultural teams. The geographic distance is thought to make it easier to focus on task-related issues and to set aside non-task-related issues, such as cultural background.

Researchers have pointed out that the increasing prevalence of multicultural teams calls for research and development of knowledge about them that we don’t have today. We need to know much more about these teams to be able to support their effectiveness. Most of the research on teams is performed in a Western context. Can we assume that the results of this research are generalizable to other contexts? Attempts have been made to gather what is known about the role of culture in team effectiveness.

An example of an area that has been researched in a Western context and that may not be generalizable to other contexts is conflict management. Research on conflict management in a Western context shows that the best way to handle conflicts is to collectively and openly work as a team to resolve differences. This approach has been shown to be more effective than individualistic strategies such as competition and avoidance. This conclusion may not be true in all cultures though. Members from cultures with more hierarchical relationships may tend to avoid expressing a dissenting opinion in the presence of people with authority, and a collectivistic, open approach could worsen the conflict.

Another example of possible cultural differences in members’ expectations is the relationship to empowering leadership. In many Western countries, empowering leadership is expected, appreciated, and a precursor to shared leadership and high team performance. In other cultural contexts, empowering, or democratic, leadership is considered weak and triggers uncertainty in team members.

These examples underscore the importance of paying attention to cultural differences, their implications, and what needs to be done to reduce potential negative effects. Researchers have suggested that organizations promote the development of cultural intelligence in their employees. Cultural intelligence is defined as flexibility, cultural knowledge, motivation to adapt to different cultural environments, and ability to understand that other people may see things from a different perspective.

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