1. One particular experience in a virtual environment is working through oDesk. The first and foremost virtual team skill required of the remote workers is the capability to work competitively with the technology available in oDesk. Although there are some limitations – such as lack of face-to-face interaction – and advantages – like greater convenience – both managers and workers should adopt to the technology. Besides, selecting virtual team members may be based on technical expertise and experience (Gibson and Cohen 103). Moreover, workers need to have significant things: collaboration, socialization, and communication skills/behaviors. Collaboration skills are behaviors that make both parties – managers/employers and workers – to exchange ideas, ensuring that the team members’ “ideas and input are tracked and summarized for accuracy” (Tosi and Pilati 216). In oDesk, the workers are required to download and install an application called “oDesk Team” in the computer. This application allows the virtual team members to automatically take a “snapshot” of their desktop, which shows the work of each worker periodically. Socialization skills, on one hand, include using team members’ names for electronic greeting as well as making comments, feedback, and expression of gratitude for each member’s work. Lastly, communication skills include responding in a timely manner in email, using chat functions when necessary, etc. To conclude, these are the most important skills and behaviors in a virtual work environment. For a systematized work environment, members should be well-monitored, should be cooperative and communicative, and be responsive.
2. There are two particular teams that can be contrasted in light of their work climate. One factor is role stress and lack of harmony. In the group A, my role as a virtual Computer-Aided Design (CAD) encoder is not stressful. What I am supposed to do is actually what the employer assigns; I just have to input the design into the CAD application. Meanwhile, in the group B, the role given (fast food restaurant crew) is stressful simply because of additional tasks other than the supposed role. Since the branch was newly opened at that time, there are still few workers. The manager should have taken more team members responsible for other roles in the kitchen, counter, etc. In this way, there was somehow no harmony in group B since the roles are not well-distributed. Another factor is the job challenge and autonomy. Since the specific project assigned in the group A is difficult, the work was burdensome.
The original designer found it difficult to communicate when there are significant changes on the details that should be done. This is one disadvantage in a virtual work environment. When the project to be done is difficult, it is hard to work independently or to receive instructions for necessary changes in the job since the means of interaction is limited. In group B, however, although there is a lot of pressure when many customers come in, there’s a great room for autonomy. The workers are encouraged to be self-sufficient and to make their own decision (Jones, Steffy and Bray 555) in various type of work. Another factor is leadership facilitation and support. Both groups somehow showed good leadership function. However, unlike in group B, the team leader in group A daily sends message asking for the condition of each work. Lastly, another factor is the work group cooperation, friendliness, and warmth. This has been more manifested in group B. Since group A is in a virtual work environment, interaction with co-workers is absolutely limited. In group B, we were always able to eat with and talk to one another after duty hours.
The work climate is a means of understanding organizational normative systems (Victor and Cullen 101). Good work climate is very vital for each organization since it drives every part of it – particularly the employees – to making significant work and contributions. For instance, if the role is stressful, the outcome of the work is more likely to be not at its best. Thus, work climate greatly affects the condition of each work.
Gibson, Cristina, and Susan Cohen. Virtual Teams that Work. CA: John Wiley & Sons, 2003. Print.
Jones, John, Brian Steffy, and Douglas Bray. Applying Psychology in Business. NY: Macmillan, 1991. Print.
Tosi, Henry, and Massimo Pilati. Managing Organizational Behaviour. UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011. Print.
Victor, Bart, and John Cullen. “The Organizational Bases of Ethical Work Climates.” Administrative Science Quarterly 33.1 (1988):101-125. Print.