IndividualAssignment: HR Management
Wilson Brothers Limited faces a typical situation that firms,especially family-managed or those that experience rapid growth, facewhen they fail to accommodate changes promptly. The human resourcemanagement aspect in the organization is dire as indicated by theminimal team meetings. Given the firm`s global network and the natureof its products, it is important to set up virtual teams to aid inmanaging the organizations. However, managing teams in itself maypresent new challenges regarding the required employee willingness aswell as needed infrastructure.
Advantages of Virtual Teams
First off, virtual teams fit the nature of Wilson Brothers Ltd as a global firm and have a different set of advantages and disadvantages to that of traditional teams. Gera (2) performed a literature review to understand the differences between face to face teams and virtual teams and observed main advantages and detriments.
Virtual teams embrace diversity better because they transcend the physical boundaries that constrict face-to-face teams. Understandably, more diversified teams are associated with the transformational leadership style that promotes a superior team performance. Accordingly, the performance of virtual teams in certain aspects is superior to traditional teams (Gera 3).
Virtual teams can embrace a larger number of people conveniently. Virtual teams are more economically sound to firms as they eliminate logistical needs. Virtual teams are considered to be "green" hence are better aligned to companies with green approaches to doing business (Seneca College 2016).
Virtual teams offer real-time communication and collaboration amongst members. This can facilitate faster decision-making
Virtual teams are profitable to organizations especially those with operations in a large geographical area.
Disadvantagesof virtual teams
Virtual teams record higher dissatisfaction and conflict levels among members. Such a situation is linked to the higher diversity levels and poor relational links among members that can aid in enhancing job satisfaction and resolving any conflict.
Virtual teams suffer from poor relational connections amongst partners. This creates weak cohesion among members because they do not enjoy the close-knit bonds that humans, as social beings, establish more readily through face to face interactions.
Virtual teams are shallow in the form of communication and understanding. Gallenkamp (4) notes virtual communication may lack the benefits of non-verbal communication, face poor or low cultural understanding and even language differences. All these issues hinder the ability of virtual teams to function and especially carry on with long term projects (Watkins).
Behaviors of Individual Team That Promote Overall Team Effectiveness
For virtual teams to be successful there needs to be several factors. To start with, team leaders need to create a shared context that brings together all members and shows them they are unified in purpose (McShane 2015).
Develop soft skills or people skills to resolve any conflict that may arise. There is also the need to create a human touch to virtual teams by allowing members to interact physically at least once a year.
Another critical behavioral issue is the development of a communication charter. This charter establishes communication guidelines that all members must adhere to, e.g. background noise, listening, talking, language, cursing, etc. (Watkins).
Constructive or positive criticism is also highly encouraged as it promotes better ideas and overall team effectiveness. Team leaders should take the mantle in ensuring that criticism of ideas is constructive at all times (McShane 2015).
Superior interpersonal communication skills are needed to compensate for the lack of face- to-face interactions. This is necessary where individuals know how to express themselves clearly and articulate their ideas to others for comprehension.
Other core factors include developing relevant human resource policies, offer on-the-job education and development, provide training on technology use, provide desired leadership by the team leader, and finally developing team-specific culture (West 41).
Behaviors of Team Members That Negatively Impact On Overall Team Effectiveness
Poor understanding or training on technology use. Given that virtual teams heavily employ technology to conduct their affairs, it is necessary that all members are well equipped with necessary knowledge on using such technology (Seneca College 2016).
Failure to agree on a common cultural or language platform. A common language or cultural platform sets the groundwork for proper communication (McShane 2015).
Lack of clearly articulated goals. Just like traditional teams, failure to develop clear goals with timeframes can lead to a virtual team losing direction and missing its objectives (Turmel).
Lack of precise roles of team members. The leader of a virtual team should ensure that all members understand well their roles in the team. A disciplinary code should be set up to reward or punish members in regards to how they perform their tasks (Turmel).
The deficient sense of ownership or membership to the team. Due to the fact members of virtual teams are geographically dispersed. Some members may not feel engaged, and there is likely to be a diminished sense of ownership of the team project or even decisions that impact the team`s ability to attain its objectives (Watkins).
Lack of a personal connection among members is likely to create mistrust or even deny some members a suitable environment to ask the right questions.
Hidden incompetence. Several authors on team dynamics agree that some team members can hide behind teams to conceal their incompetence. Such hidden incompetence is likely to be highest in virtual teams where supervision and knowledge of individual members may be limited.
My Approach to Participation in a Virtual Team
As the Director of Human Resources for Wilson Brothers Limited, Iwill seek to create several virtual teams to understand the currentsituation and solve pertinent issues. However, the primary team givenwill be made up of all the manager-level HR representation in eachplant in Canada and foreign subsidiaries. This will allow the firm todevelop a consistent HR policy. I will approach the issue ofparticipation in the team in a very open-minded way applyingselective involvement. As the team leader, I will offer each teammembers a chance to introduce himself or herself o the rest of theteam. Then I will selectively allow each member to explain their HRmanagement approaches at their designation. I will then invitemembers to comment on the strategies presented to them. Comparisonsbetween the various methods will be made. I will oversee such debateswith a clear guideline on the use of language and tone in suchdiscussions (Seneca College 2016). This will ensure that there isonly positive criticism and that acceptable language and tone areused in all conversations.
I will be consistently available to all members for consultation,feedback or advice. It is important to listen to the prevailingissues and challenges facing all the members in their capacities asHR managers in Wilson Brothers. To ensure there is free flowinformation amongst members, I will seek to create a livelyenvironment that encourages all members to share information withoutfear of intimidation or victimization (Kayworth and Leidner 5). Assuch, small talk will be essential and seek to learn members on apersonal level. To facilitate this, I will recommend an initial firstface-to-face meeting of all members of the team. I will also seek toimprove my interpersonal skills and recommend training where I feelcertain members lack such skills.
In line with Leidner, Kayworth and Mora-Tavarez (3) I will besensitive to the needs of others. This will involve makingarrangements for virtual meetings early enough and planning for themduring reasonable hours. This is especially important given thatmembers may be in different time zones (West 40). I will also seek toshow empathy where necessary as a way of making team members feelvalued together with their contributions to the team.
Turmel calls for team leaders to be facilitators and moderators.Informed by this view, I will not shoot down suggestion withoutadequate reasons, and I will be fair to all team members. I shallalso seek to encourage others to come up with ideas and speak theirminds openly. I will also bring a personal touch to the teamdiscussion by asking open-ended questions and even seeking to knowhow members are faring on a personal level.
Finally, I will offer members feedback in a humane manner. Leidner,Kayworth and Mora-Tavarez (5) say that the manner in which feedbackis given can affect the future participation by the same member oreven others. Thus, offering feedback in a sensitive manner not onlyshows respect but also impacts on a team`s togetherness.
From the case of Wilson Bros Ltd and literature on team dynamics, Ibelieve that I have adequately applied theory in the case. Aspresented in the case study, Wilson Brothers requires functioningvirtual teams to manage their HR issues and develop a standard peoplemanagement approach. With my knowledge on team dynamics and peopleskills, I believe I can deliver what the company needs to streamlineits HR strategy.
Gallenkamp,Julia. Conflict, Culture, and Management – Antecedents ofPerformance in Virtual
Teams.2011. Nw York: Lulu.com. Print.
Gera, Shikha,Virtual teams versus face to face teams: A review of literature.Journal of Business
andManagement. vol. 11, no. 2, 2014, pp. 01-04
Leidner, Dorothy,Timothy Kayworth and Manuel Mora-Tavarez. Leadership effectivenessin
global virtual teams. n.d. Web. Aug 22nd 2016.
Kayworth, Timothyand Dorothy Leidner. The global virtual manager. A prescriptionfor
success. Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University,Texas. N.d. Web. 22nd Aug 2016.<https://flora.insead.edu/fichiersti_wp/inseadwp1999/99-67.pdf>
McShane, Steven.Canadian Organizational Behaviour 9th Edition.Canada: McGraw-Hill
Seneca College.Module 6: Group Behaviour – Groups and Teams. Introduction toBusiness
Management and Organizational Behaviour. Toronto, Ontario, Canada:Green, Robert. 2016.
Turmel, Wayne.2011. 4 Pitfalls of Remote Teams- What to Watch For. Web. 22ndAug 2016.
Watkins, Michael.Making Virtual Teams Work: Ten Basic Principles. Harvard Business
review. 2013. Web. 22nd Aug 2016.<https://hbr.org/2013/06/making-virtual-teams-work-ten>
West, Michael.Effective Teamwork: Practical Lessons from OrganizationalResearch. John
Wiley &Sons. 2012.