Success Factors in Virtual Collaboration
You will benefit from taking a close look at how your own organization fares in terms of addressing critical success factors for virtual teams, as well as from building an understanding of the skills needed to participate successfully in a virtual team collaboration.
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In their seminal work, Mastering Virtual Teams (2006), Duarte and Snyder identify seven critical success factors in virtual team collaboration:
Human resource policies.
Training and development.
Standard organizational processes.
Communication and collaboration technology.
Competence (p. 10).
Note: A custom text containing pertinent excerpts from the Duarte and Snyder text is one of the suggested readings listed in the Resources. If you choose not to purchase the text, you should be able to find a number of resources that address these critical success factors through your research for this assessment.
To prepare for this assessment, research the seven critical success factors in virtual team collaboration. Consider your own real-world experiences with these factors in the workplace.
This assessment incorporates multiple elements. Be sure to thoroughly address each before submitting the assessment.
Use the seven critical success factors to analyze how the practices of your own organization (or another organization with which you are familiar) influence the success of its virtual teams. Base your analysis on your own experience of being a member of a virtual team within the organization.
Note: If you have not participated in a virtual team, base your analysis on a hypothetical virtual team experience, using what you know of your organization’s practices.
In developing this case, it is helpful to assume that you have been tasked by executive management to conduct an audit of your organization’s ability to support virtual team collaboration. Your audit will include a detailed report in each of the seven critical success factors. Go beyond a description of the “as-is” state for each of these factors in your audit to evaluate and analyze each of the factors to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that the current state presents to the organization in terms of its ability to support virtual team collaboration.
Remember that the executive management of your company is not interested in a report about the criteria themselves—they are not interested in reading about human resource policies in the abstract, for example—but about how the organization measures up to the criteria. Use the success factors to analyze the organization—do not fall into the trap of writing about the criteria. Use the criteria to describe, analyze, and evaluate the organization.
Explain how organizational practices influenced (or might influence) the virtual team’s performance. Address all of the following:
Human resource policies: Do the organization’s career development resources address the needs of virtual team members? Does the organizational reward system recognize the efforts and successes of those who work virtually? Are rewards given only for results, or are they also given for effort? Does the organization actively support work arrangements such as telecommuting?
Training and development: Is there access to technical training for virtual team members? Is there access to training in the area of working across cultures? Is there a program of ongoing training as needed? Is there a system for sharing what has been learned, such as a database?
Standard organizational processes: Are there standard technical processes used throughout the organization (with regard to virtual teams)? Are there standard soft processes used throughout the organization? Does the organization support the ability to adapt processes when necessary? Does the organizational culture support shared ways of doing business across teams?
Communication and collaboration technology: Are there consistent standards for electronic communication and collaboration tools across the organization? Does the organization possess or provide enough resources to purchase and support state-of-the-art electronic communication and collaboration technology? Do all employees (across departments and geographic location) have equal access to electronic communication and collaboration technology?
Organizational culture: Is there trust between the organization, its partners, and other external stakeholders? Are teamwork and collaboration standard practices? Are people from different cultures valued?
Leadership: Do leaders allocate enough resources for the training and technology needed by virtual teams? What level of expectation do leaders set for virtual team performance? Do leaders model exemplary behavior by working across boundaries and using technology effectively?
Competence: Are team leaders experienced with working in virtual environments? Are team members experienced with working in virtual team environments? Are team leaders experienced in working across both organizational and cultural boundaries? Are team members experienced in working across both organizational and cultural boundaries?
Support your analyses with real examples, as well as evidence from your research and readings.
Ensure written communication is free of errors that detract from the overall message and quality.
Your report should be 7–10 content pages, in addition to a title page and references page.
Use 12-point, Times New Roman.
Use at least three scholarly resources.
Follow APA rules for attributing sources that support your analysis and conclusions. As a reminder related to using APA rules to ensure academic honesty:
When using a direct quote (using exact or nearly exact wording), you must enclose the quoted wording in quotation marks, immediately followed by an in-text citation. The source must then be listed in your references page.
When paraphrasing (using your own words to describe a nonoriginal idea), the paraphrased idea must be immediately followed by an in-text citation and the source must be listed in your references page.
Duarte, D. L., & Tennant Snyder, N. (2006). Mastering virtual teams: Strategies, tools, and techniques that succeed (3rd ed.). Jossey-Bass.