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Building Effective Virtual Teams


Building Effective Virtual Teams. Dane M. Partridge, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Management ... Presented to the River Cities Chapter of the American Society ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Building Effective Virtual Teams

Building Effective Virtual Teams
  • Dane M. Partridge, Ph.D.
  • Associate Professor of Management
  • University of Southern Indiana
  • Presented to the River Cities Chapter of the
    American Society for Training and Development
  • February 2002

Building Effective Virtual Teams
  • Presentation based on research related to Indiana
    Partnership for Statewide Education Course
    Development Grant
  • Web Based Team Training Module
  • Project Director, Nancy Kovanic, Lead Consultant,
    OPD Group, USI

What Is Meant by Term Team?
  • Collection of individuals
  • Interdependent in tasks
  • Share responsibility for outcomes
  • See themselves and are seen by others as intact
    social entity embedded in larger social system(s)
  • Manage relationships across organizational
  • (Cohen and Bailey, 1997)

Threshold Work Design Questions
  • Is team necessary to accomplish task?
  • If so, then what type of team?
  • (Kline, 1999)

Organizational Context
  • Performance management/reward system
  • Must evolve from individually-based performance
    appraisal process toward focus on team
    development, team member contributions, and
    overall team performance
  • (Yeatts and Hyten, 1998)
  • Reward system must support team-based work design
  • Skill-based, gainsharing
  • Team-based reward systems dont always produce
    intended results (e.g., Levi Strauss)
  • (Orsburn and Moran, 2000)

Team Characteristics
  • Goal Clarity and Adoption
  • Helping teams set goals highly effective
    intervention in team building (Kline, 1999).
  •  Role Clarity
  • Role conflict (for example, being a member of
    multiple teams), ambiguity (establish clear
    expectations as to what each member must do by
  •  Team Efficacy
  • Teams belief in itself to accomplish work. Can
    be increased by identifying team members
    capabilities, identifying ways to better achieve
    goals, aligning team goals with organizational
    goals (Kline, 1999).

Member Dispositions (Individual Characteristics)
  • Members do not necessarily have to like one
    another to work well together.
  • Kline (1999)
  • Team-Player Ability
  • Degree to which individuals positively
    predisposed to working on team.
  •  Cooperativeness
  • Positively related to attitudes and performance
    of project teams
  • (Cohen and Bailey, 1997).

Member Dispositions
  • Team-Player Style
  • Contributor (task-oriented, setting goals,
    priorities, solving problems)
  • Collaborator (goal-oriented)
  • Communicator (team process)
  • Challenger
  • Kline (1999)

Work Process Effectiveness (Decision Making)
  • Is team right size?
  • Social loafing
  • (Yeatts and Hyten, 1998)
  • Does team have necessary interpersonal
    communication skills?
  • Does team have necessary task-relevant skills?
  • Is there allowance for diversity of opinion?
  • Team norms impact participation, communication,
    conflict management, meeting management, problem
    solving, and decision making
  • (Duarte and Snyder, 1999).

Work Process Effectiveness (Decision Making)
  • Does team assess alternatives before
    accomplishing work?
  • Are there understood performance norms?
  • Does team assess work progress before completion
    (goal accomplishment)?
  • Does team allow for modifications in process if
    alternative suggested?

Holding Effective Meetings
  • Technical advances such as groupware can assist
    teams in meeting without having to get together
    in person.
  • Increased use _at_USI of Blackboard (e-learning
    software platform)
  • Mngt 305, Management of Organizational Behavior,
    virtual team projects

Effective Virtual Teams
  • Importance of trust
  • People tend to trust others who perform
    competently, act with integrity, and display
    concern for the well-being of others
  • (Duarte and Snyder, 1999, p. 140).
  • Important to have members who have high
    propensity to trust
  • (Jarvenpaa et al., 1998).

Effective Virtual Teams
  • Team Building
  • Engage in team building activities as virtual
    team is initially created so as to develop sense
    of trust, cohesiveness, awareness of each others
  • (Kayworth and Leidner, 2000)
  • Virtual ice-breaker. First impressions
    especially important in VTs
  • (Cascio, 2000)
  • May be cultural bias to common team-building
    activities (e.g., sharing personal information,
    discussing results of personality inventories,
    competitive games). Uncomfortable for those from
    collective cultures?
  • (Duarte and Snyder, 1999).

Effective Virtual Teams
  • Trust negatively impacted by
  • lack of social introduction
  • lack of enthusiasm
  • unequally distributed communication
  • shallow ideas
  • lack of task focus
  • lack of individual initiative
  • little feedback
  • (Jarvenpaa and Leidner, 1999)

Effective Virtual Teams
  • Trust positively impacted by
  • early social exchanges
  • predictable communication pattern
  • strong individual initiative (and initiative from
    multiple members)
  • substantive feedback (responses to initiatives
    may be even more important than initiatives
  • (Jarvenpaa and Leidner, 1999)
  • Timely follow-through on commitments important to
    establishing perceived competence
  • (Duarte and Snyder, 1999)

Effective Virtual Teams
  • Computer-mediated communication may alleviate
    cross-cultural communication issues
  • lack of nonverbal cues eliminates evidence of
    cultural differences
  • asynchronous mode may reduce language errors
  • (Jarvenpaa and Leidner, 1999)
  • However, computer-mediated communication can
    negatively impact perceived concern for others,
    given that evidence indicates computer-mediated
    groups communicate more negative messages than
    face-to-face groups do
  • (Duarte and Snyder, 1999, p. 154)

Effective Virtual Teams
  • Virtual Collaboration Behaviors
  • Ability to exchange ideas without criticism
  • Develop working document in which various
    members ideas are summarized
  • Exchange working document among members for
  • Track comments in working document with initials
  • Agree on activities
  • Meet deadlines
  • (Knoll and Jarvenpaa, 1998).

Effective Virtual Teams
  • Virtual Socialization Behaviors process norms?
  • Ability to communicate with other members
  • Solicit feedback on process team is using to
    accomplish tasks
  • Express appreciation for ideas and completed
  • Apologize for mistakes
  • Volunteer for roles
  • Acknowledge role assignments
  • (Knoll and Jarvenpaa, 1998)
  • Initiative, results orientation, and integrity
    highly important
  • (Jarvenpaa et al., 1998).

Effective Virtual Teams
  • Virtual Communication Behaviors
  • Given inherent lack of rich face-to-face
    communication, groups must attempt to communicate
    frequently and consistently with constant
    feedback from team leaders. Setting specific
    agendas for discussion may be helpful.
  • (Kayworth and Leidner, 2000)
  • Ability to rephrase unclear sentences to achieve
    clarity, use e-mail typography to convey emotion.
  • (Knoll and Jarvenpaa, 1998)

Effective Virtual Teams
  • Perceived integrity of members
  • Integrity of co-workers is evaluated on basis of
    reputation, in the event actual performance
    cannot be consistently observed.
  • Positive reputation is function of consistent
    actions, fulfilled promises, consideration of
    others schedules, and prompt responses to
    phone-mail and e-mail.
  • Persons working in teams, especially virtual
    teams, must be attentive to way in which they are
    perceived by others.
  • (Kezsbom, 1999).
  • Is this virtual EQ?

Effective Virtual Teams
  • Self-limiting Behaviors
  • Based on literature on teams in general.
  • Includes
  • presence of someone with perceived/proclaimed?
  • presentation of compelling argument
  • lack of confidence in ones ability to contribute
  • pressures to conform to teams decision how is
    virtual groupthink expressed?
  • Process observations from Mngt 305 students
  • dysfunctional decision-making climate
  • (Cascio, 2000).
  • Re OD virtual process consultation?

Effective Virtual Teams
  • Matching technology with task
  • Technology synchronous and asynchronous.
  • Tasks generating ideas and plans, solving
    routine problems, solving complex problems,
    negotiating conflicts.
  • Technology also impacts personal connection,
    information richness, and historical record of
  • E-mail most useful for generating ideas and
    plans, and collecting data useful for routine
    problems least useful for complex problems and
  • Face-to-face best for negotiations.
  • (Duarte and Snyder, 1999)

Effective Virtual Teams
  • Determinants of Outcomes Satisfaction
  • Some evidence that women more satisfied with VT
    experience than men.
  • Possibly due to nature of computer-mediated
    communication lack of nonverbal cues and
    structure allowed for more equal group
  • (Lind, 1999)