Communication challenges in managing global virtual teams

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS, We wish to express our sincere gratitude to all the project managers at Husqvarna and Ericsson. who participated in the study Thank you for your time honesty trust and inspiration Special. thanks to Martin Huber from Husqvarna and Ulf Palmquist from Ericsson without whom this. study would not have been possible , We would also like to thank our supervisor Arvid Karsvall for his support and guidance. throughout the research process , Last but not least we are thankful to our family and friends for their love support and. understanding ,Gothenburg 25th of May 2016,Aleksandra and Elina. 1, ABSTRACT, Nowadays managers often manage teams which members are located in different countries .
different time zones or have different languages as their mother tongues This is a complex. job that requires specific preparation The first step in training project managers for leading. global virtual teams is understanding which problems they have to deal with in their. everyday work This study explores communication challenges that project managers. experience in managing global virtual teams Through conducting qualitative research and. interviewing 12 project managers working in two global companies we found that project. managers face communication challenges which can be divided into four larger groups . challenges related to cultural differences distance related challenges including lack of non . verbal cues lack of trust difficulties in building relationships and uncertainty in team. members competence challenges related to communication technology and lack of. language competence , Keywords communication challenges global virtual teams project management . 2, TABLE OF CONTENTS,ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 1,ABSTRACT 2. 1 INTRODUCTION 5,1 1 Research background 5,1 2 Research purpose and research questions 6. 1 3 The scope and delimitation of the study 6, THEORETICAL BACKGROUND 7. 2 1 Project and project life cycle 7,2 2 Project manager and project management 8.
2 3 Global virtual team 9, Team 9, Virtual team 9, Global team 10. Project team 10, Global virtual team vs collocated team 11. 2 4 Definition of communication 12, Communication in project team and project management 12. 2 5 Media Synchronicity theory 13, 2 6 Communication challenges in managing global virtual teams 15. Communication challenges related to physical distribution 16. Communication challenges related to trust building and lack of face to face. communication 17, Communication challenges related to communication technology 18.
Communication challenges related to cultural diversity 19. Geert Hofstede s five dimensional model 20, GLOBE taxonomies 22. Communication challenges related to different languages 24. Communication challenges related to different time zones 25. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 26,3 1 Research purpose and approach 26. 3 2 Company description 26,3 3 Participants 27,3 4 Data collection 28. 3, 3 5 Methods for data analysis 28,3 6 Ethical consideration 29. 3 7 Limitations of the method 29, FINDINGS 30,4 1 Cultural difference 30.
4 2 Lack of face to face communication 33,A Lack of nonverbal cues 33. B Relationship building 34,C Trust building 35,D Uncertainty in team members competence 36. 4 3 Communication technology 36,4 4 Language competence 38. 4 5 Time difference 38, DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS 40. 5 1 Communication challenges related to cultural difference 40. Different meaning of yes 40, Different understanding of power distribution 41.
Different understanding of quality 41, Different understanding of time 41. Respect for religion 42,5 2 Distance related challenges 42. Lack of nonverbal cues 43, Relationship building 43. Trust building 44, Uncertainty in team members competence 44. 5 3 Challenges related to communication technology 45. 5 4 Challenges related to lack of language competence 46. CONCLUSION AND FURTHER RESEARCH 48,6 1 Conclusion 48.
6 2 Further research 48,REFERENCES 50,Appendix 1 Interview questions 59. 4, 1 INTRODUCTION, The development of technology and globalization has influenced how organizations function. today It has become common that projects managers are leading global teams that work. simultaneously without meeting each other face to face It is important to provide a thorough and. versatile training for managers to prepare them for the work with global virtual teams This study. focuses on the first step of approaching the problem i e detecting and understanding the. communication challenges that virtual team manager s experience in their everyday work . 1 1 Research background, Communication is an integral part of project management and it is one of the main tools for. achieving success in project managers work Some studies argue that project managers spend. more than 75 of their time communicating Rao 2011 Their position in the organization often. means that they serve as the regulators and managers of communication processes and they often. determine the smooth flow of the work within the project team The successful outcome of the. project is directly connected to the project manager s communication ability Kliem 2008 . Communication errors are also connected to project costs Kliem 2008 Misunderstandings . communication errors and conflicts can delay the delivery of the project and increase the amount. of project members working hours , Communication in an organization is a complex and often challenging process Managing a team. that is geographically dispersed adds another level of complexity to project manager s work . Project managers need to collaborate with people from different cultures who speak different. languages have different working practices and live in various time zones Binder 2012 At the. same time most communication occurs over a distance which requires a skillful application of. different communication technology Today this kind of teams have become more as a norm that. exception According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management. SHRM 2012 Minton Eversole 2012 nearly a half 46 of 379 organizations polled use. virtual teams in their work One of the prerequisites for these teams to function successfully is. that there are competent managers who can use the potential of global virtual teams and handle. the difficulties To provide relevant preparation and support for the managers it is important to. investigate what are the communication challenges they experience when managing global virtual. teams , The topic of communication in managing global virtual teams is quite new in academia There is.
a lot of literature which is focused on exploring the challenges of managing global virtual teams. and more practical guidebooks for managers who work with global virtual teams For example . Challenges in Managing Virtual Teams by Nydegger Nydegger 2010 Managing Virtual. Teams Strategies for Team Leaders by Lyons et al 2009 and a book by Zofi 2011 called A. manager s guide to virtual teams In addition to that there is a lot literature about leadership. challenges in global virtual teams The topic has been popular for the last decade and continues to. 5, be actual as the field of management economy and technology is constantly evolving Internal. corporate communication especially in global corporations is growing in importance Due to the. fact that the number of tasks undertaken by companies in the form of projects is also growing the. issues relating to communication in project teams are now of greater interest than ever before . Zajac 2013 120 Nevertheless existing literature lacks of quality research conducted among. the project managers to reveal their personal experience of communication challenges in. managing global virtual teams , 1 2 Research purpose and research questions. This research focuses on exploring communication challenges that project managers placed in. Ericsson s and Husqvarna Group s Swedish offices experience when communicating with their. virtual team members The project managers participating in the research were situated in local. Swedish offices but their team members were stationed mostly in other countries like China and. USA The aim of our research is to explore project managers experience as a whole without. putting too much emphasis on any specific aspect more than other . Research questions are stated as follows , 1 What kind of communication challenges do project managers face in managing global. virtual teams , 2 How do project managers experience communication challenges in managing global. virtual teams , The answers to these questions are delivered through a literature review and semi structured.
interviews which were conducted with project managers at Ericsson and Husqvarna Group in. Gothenburg Sweden , 1 3 The scope and delimitation of the study. This study focuses on communication challenges related to internal communication between. project managers and global virtual project team members It does not cover communication. challenges related to external communication for example communication issues between project. managers and clients , The study has an explorative character and the main purpose is to explore project managers . experience and communication challenges they face in their day to day practices in conditions of. geographical dispersion different cultural backgrounds of team members and mainly. technologically mediated media It is neither intended to create nor to test any specific theory on. the subject , 6, THEORETICAL BACKGROUND, In this part of the study our aim to is to firstly define the main terms used in the research and. secondly to give an overview of the theories which provide insight into the characteristics of. managing global virtual teams and possible communication challenges that project managers. might face in managing these teams Topics such as project management global virtual teams. and communication challenges related to physical distribution communication technology and. cultural difference are presented among others , 2 1 Project and project life cycle. There are plenty of definitions of the term project Guide to the Project Management Body of. Knowledge hereafter referred to as PMBOK Guide defines project as followed Project is a. temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product service or result PMBOK Guide . 2008 5 Zajac mentions that even if projects are unique they have set of project characteristics. that are widely accepted as common features of projects Zajac 2013 92 Projects have a. beginning and an end have complex structure and usually include several phases Project. managers should manage the project scope time cost and quality Zajac 2013 Mulcahy 2005 . To complete a project project life cycle methodology is widely used Project life cycle can be. defined as a model of how to perform a given project within a specific period of time Zajac . 2013 29 PMBOK Guide describe a project life cycle as a collection of generally sequential. and sometimes overlapping project phases such as project initiation planning execution control. and closure PMBOK 2008 16 During the first stage initiation project goals are set At that. point the scope of the project and the ways how project goals will be achieved should be. identified During the first phase responsibilities are assigned among those involved in the. project How work will be done as well as the planning of monitoring and control is defined. during the planning phase Here project managers also focus on project schedule and make a. communications plan After the planning comes executing phase when team assigned to the. certain task needs to know in detail what should be done as well as understand the quality and. task completeness criteria Monitoring and controlling are important during all the project stages . Final phase comes when the task is complete and project can be closed Here project managers. analyse the work that was done and formulate the lessons learned for future projects Naybor . 2014 , Project life cycle can be applied to all projects regardless of the project specifics complexity or.
area of project application It is a primary framework for organizing the project work Figure 1 . 7, Figure 1 Example of a single phase project Source PMBOK Guide 2008 19 . 2 2 Project manager and project management, The project manager is responsible for the organisation and successful task achievement . Project management is defined as the application of knowledge skills tools and techniques. to project activities to meet the project requirements PMBOK Guide 2008 6 It implies. that project manager should have abilities to approach project management problems and to. solve them plus he she should be knowledgeable about the communication technology tools. that are used in virtual teamwork Project manager organizes implementation processes . manages resource allocation and is responsible for communication among team members and. with customers project beneficiaries Some of the Project manager s duties consist of. communication status reporting risk management escalation of issues that cannot be. resolved by the team and in general making sure the project is delivered on budget on. schedule and within scope Carleton University n d 2 Competent project managers are. virtual teams 2 How do project managers experience communication challenges in managing global virtual teams The answers to these questions are delivered through a literature review and semi structured interviews which were conducted with project managers at Ericsson and Husqvarna Group in Gothenburg Sweden 1 3 The scope and delimitation

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