The advent of globalization led to the creation of virtual global organizations that develop business innovations through its members located in different regions in the world. Accordingly, the main aim of these virtual teams is to ensure that the members of these virtual teams interact and share knowledge and ideologies. The Amazon Company is a company in America that deals with electronic commerce and cloud computing with its headquarters in Washington. This paper explains the factors involved in the creation and sustaining global and virtual teams including the components of change and innovation, processes, technologies, and the standards and guidelines that guide the process of creating and maintaining virtual and global teams for Amazon Company.
Creating Global Virtual Teams
Global virtual teams operate globally, and the constant interaction between the members of these virtual teams helps them achieve their goals and objectives. A team consists of groups of people that apply complementary abilities committed to a general purpose, performance targets, and approaches, which make them accountable. Virtual team consists of individuals who utilize electronic modes of communication with each other instead of face-to-face meetings (Berry, 2011). Virtual and global members comprise of both real and virtual members. A virtual member is a member who provides the input needed in the project that is not his or her project. An actual member primarily focuses on a particular project. The different components of these teams explain the relationship between the members and the active interaction that takes place among these members.
The global distance between the virtual team members forces them to rely on communication and information expertise to enhance effective communication and sharing of ideas and harmonize the work of members operating in the same environment (Berry, 2011). Shared understanding between the members of the virtual teams helps organize and communicate knowledge to compile and organize results of a virtual business set up. The innovation plays an essential role in innovation and invention processes. A successful innovator utilizes information from his or her environment to generate ideas to help him formulate the change adoptable by markets and customers. Virtual teams use these ideas and the environmental factors to help them achieve a successful business model. The usage of the global and virtual teams influences project management models that change due to the increase in the number of projects distributed across different member in various locations, cultures, and organizations. Virtual teams are reliant on interactions via electronic media. The efficiency of these virtual teams relies on comprehensive and integrated platforms that help them perform their routine operations not just the tools of service.
Components of Change and Innovation
The success of the virtual teams relies on the organizational leadership such that the culture of the organization must institute a culture that appreciates teamwork, learning, facilitating communication and diversity. Establishing a culture in the organization that upholds virtual teamwork enables managers in the organization to be change oriented and in full support of virtual teams. The leaders and members of the virtual teams can play a fundamental role in helping managers uphold supportive behaviors. The leaders and members can offer ideas to help management in encouraging the performance of virtual teams through communication, expectations, assigning resources, and demonstrating desired behaviors. Leaders collaborate with stakeholders for example directors and managers of other functions who associate with the team members to aid them in comprehending and supporting virtual teams (Minkin, 2008). The leaders inform peers and colleague managers in their companies that virtual teams ought to work hard and be more productive. Besides, the leaders provide evidence, comprising of schedule and data to sway stakeholders.
Furthermore, leaders who help in resource allocation for the purpose of training and technology help notify people of the importance of virtual teams. Leaving virtual teams to operate in environments with limited funds contributes to project failure. Time and money are vital to the process of training team members in particular areas as multi-cultural work, technology, and project management. Team and money enable team members to attend meetings when commencing the team activities. The team leaders should allocate resources to the virtual team to help them in establishing and conserving efficient technologies. Ultimately, the leaders specify the expected behaviors within the virtual teams (Berry, 2011). Moreover, the leaders align the team goals and objectives. The leaders collaborate with managers across the regional and cultural boundaries.
Sponsors are particular people in management that work with the leaders of virtual teams, and who represent team members in crossing the barriers of the organization, unravel conflicts of interest, acquire resources, and issue a link with the management team. Sponsors are essential; hence, every virtual team needs them. The sponsors' position in the organization is strategic. Besides, sponsors ought to have broad perspectives that advantage the teams. Moreover, the sponsors are respectable people in the group gaining this respect from the organization itself and external agencies. The sponsors ought to be influential and have the ability to obtain the resources needed by team members. Executive sponsorship is among the critical factors that contribute the success of the virtual and global teams. Given comprehensive support by the executive sponsors then the virtual teams have the support they need to operate.
Conversely, virtual teams suffer the risk of not succeeding if they lack the necessary resources to fund their teams. A team sponsor is different from team leaders in that the leader plays the complete role of managing the team members on a daily routine (Minkin, 2008). The sponsor does not involve himself or herself in the routine work of the teams but instead operates on an external environment to that of the team members. Accordingly, the execute sponsors play two significant roles. Firstly, the sponsors create general expectations and procedures for the virtual team members to follow. Secondly, the sponsors specify the essential environment that accords the team members enough resources to meet their goals and objectives. The sponsors should empower the team members to be independent and trustworthy in the performance of their works.
The Change Agents
The change agents play the role of championing the strategic efforts of the global and virtual teams. The change agents are suitable for this task for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the change agents are familiar with other people hence making it easier for them to create a culture of success for the virtual teams. Secondly, the change agents have experience in the tools used by the team members hence the need to include them in determining the operations of the virtual teams.
Also, the change agents have the ability to control and comprehend the technological techniques used by the virtual teams to conduct their activities on the global radar. Besides, the change agents have the expertise in the processes and policies employed by virtual teams during their operations. As members of the virtual teams, the change agents help the virtual teams to deploy long-term goals of strategic importance necessary for enhancing new structures. These perspectives give them the position of change agents in the virtual team management.
Tools and Success Factors
Tools are essential in executing the operations of the virtual teams (Darics, 2014). Similarly, the success factors also play a fundamental role in the operational activities of the virtual teams. The tools that influence the coordination and operation of the virtual teams include the software, hardware, and the technological knowledge.
Moreover, the mechanisms involve innovations and inventions in the network field, which plays an essential role in allowing the organization to work in an environment with no defined borders. These tools are dependent on technology and support collaboration and interaction between the team. The collaboration tools are the tools necessary to motivate the team members to carry out an interactive work to achieve their common objectives. The collaboration tools include enterprise wiki, document management systems, and resource virtualization. The enterprise wiki tool supports interaction editing of documents to work with the team members.
Document management system supports the storage, archiving, and recovery of records. Since the members of the virtual teams have different geographical locations, then the document management systems deliver a proficient platform for information sharing. The resource virtualization enables the creation of computing resources virtually from a limited scope of resources. The communication tools majorly concentrate on the exchange of information among the members of the virtual teams located in different parts of the globe.
The communication tools facilitate the dissemination of information within the organization and beyond the organizational environment in a format that exhibits secure and reliable. The communication devices include meeting and conferencing, enterprise messaging systems and communication blogs and portals. Virtual meetings and video conferencing enable the members of the team to hold meetings and share information. The messaging systems enable faster sending of messages among different members of the team (Darics, 2014). Moreover, blogs and portals are readily accessible by the members of the team via the internet.
The virtual teams employ various techniques that guide them towards achieving their goals and objectives. Some of these techniques include defining decision-making, sharing calendars, uphold effective communication strategies, and focusing on building the team. Firstly, the decision process proves to be one of the biggest challenges that affect group and team meetings. The decisions made by different groups depend on the country of operation and the national culture. The team leaders ought to test different decision-making processes and define the measure of efficiency.
Secondly, sharing calendars is a technique that helps the members of the virtual teams to schedule their various tasks. Also, the team establishes the right procedures to support communication among the team members (Berry, 2011). The team ought to decide on the right message hierarchy via various communication channels. Majorly, the team members utilize emails for communication, but the email mode of communication faces the challenge of tracking.
Accordingly, effective communication is efficient if the team leaders set appropriate guidelines to guide the operations. Among the problems virtual teams face is difficulty in building trust among the virtual members and establishing a bond between people who do not know each other physically. Several virtual managers confirm that factors such as team productivity and motivational factors play an essential role in the operation of the virtual teams. Therefore, team building among the members of the virtual team members contributes to building productive relationships among the team members. The process of creating the bonds takes one time hence the members of the virtual teams should take time.
Managing Team Workflows
The business processes and consequent workflows occur as logical models, for example, the weighted diagrams. The execution of process models depends on specific instances. A business process comprises a system of work activities. A workflow system enacts the general business processes for every instance of a business process. A group of tasks that need human execution is wordlists. Software used to manage the management of workflows, groupware, and process models enable the automation of business process in business organizations. Workflow systems define, control, and execute workflow procedures via the execution of software programs represented in the form of process logics.
The aim of workflow systems is to aid different organizations to converse, coordinate, and collaborate in an efficient manner. In a workflow environment, workers correlate with each other to interchange their work types among each other where the employees and their job a hand have a proximity and visibility (Berry, 2011). In virtual teams, the workplaces are e-workplaces and the workflow system is e-workflows since the team members have different physical locations. Excellent and efficient communication skills enable a smooth workflow among the members if the global and virtual teams. Provided the members fail in typing skills, file naming abilities, and communication skills then the workflow suffers.
Rules and Guidelines
Standards and guidance play a fundamental role in guiding the team members while carrying out team operations. Due to the distribution of team members in different locations, then managers ought to change their management models to suit the business environment. The managerial staff uses both general and specific guidelines. Under the general guidance, the managers should focus on norms that concern the purpose of the virtual team, roles of team members, the culture of the virtual team, feedback, speed of operation of every worker, member participation, and information flow. The managers of the virtual teams can aid the members to recognize the importance of involvement in activities, explore questions on how they work, coordinate the technology, formal team organization, and working processes.
Virtual teams operate in different companies worldwide, and they help to interconnect various employees globally. Different companies, for example, the Amazon need virtual teams because of the extent of operations it handles globally. Through the virtual teams, organizations across the geographical and organizational boundaries to explore opportunities in other parts of the world.
The creation and sustaining of the virtual teams involves various aspects such as appropriate leadership, utilization of change agents, executive sponsors, carrying out processes that include tools, different techniques, technologies, industrial frameworks, and guidelines. The components of change make the process of creating and maintaining of virtual teams easy. Virtual team members involve people operating in different countries, hence the organization changes its operation techniques to make them suit all the members globally, hence, the main aim of virtual teams.
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