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Virtual Teams

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At the moment, many organizations are increasingly making teams essential entities within the organizations. In fact, these organizations are also willing to invest heavily in building team skills. By definition, a team is the composition of two or more individuals who have come together for a common purpose of conducting a task that is high in complexity. For this reason, many organizations have been compelled to restructure their work processes around teams rather than around groups. Robbins and Judge (2011) discuss four different types of teams, whose duties range from making products to making decisions. They include; self-managed teams, problem-solving teams, cross-functional teams, and virtual teams. Three of these team types are common except virtual teams. Resulting from advancements in communication technology, coupled with an increasing globalization, virtual teams have become synonymous in most organization (Kankanhalli, Tan & Wei, 2007). 

Many multinational organizations in the U.S have set their eyes on Eastern European countries for expansion. It is imperative to understand that the success of these multinational companies lies in virtual teams (Robbins & Judge a, 2011). This can be attributed to the fact that these firms will be compelled to form teams, both at home and at their target country of expansion before venturing into the chosen countries.  Currently, every multinational organization as well as individual investors’ eyes is set on Poland.  This frenzy culminates from the fact that Poland was among the nine countries that have recently joined the European Union. It goes without saying that this fact makes Poland a potential market for investors, both individuals and corporate groups. With approximately 38 million people, Poland accounts for over half of those people joining the E.U in this wave (Fisher, nd). Since the E.U is very successful in economic terms, Poland’s accession to the E.U gives the country the capability of putting in place a set of policy arrangements and institutions that are very modern and can provide a degree of convenience and certainty to potential investors who wish to conduct business in this area. Economic agents understand what investors are going to get if they invest in this country. Since Poland is now a member of the E.U, the market potential is good because of the underlying fact of a solid institutional framework that can be easily understood or are familiar.

The potential of the market in Poland is also enhanced by the free trade area that is created by it being a member of the E.U. this means that investors are able to import and export goods duty free all over Europe, which is by far the largest economy on earth at the moment. So, investors have free access to the massive market. He potential of this market is also enhanced by the highly skilled and educated labor force in most of E.U member. This means that labor productivity will also be high. This fact makes the labor very attractive to employ (Epstein & Sun, 2007).

The low productivity-adjusted cost of labor is another reason as to why this market is full of potential. This is the main reason as to why other foreign investors are flocking into countries that that have recently become E.U members. Many multinational firms have shifted their bases to the East so as to compete as effective and efficient as they can. By doing this these firms are increasing the wages in nations in which they invest. Fisher (nd) contends that investing in Poland provides also provides investors with the rare opportunity of having the rights of migrating to any other European Union member country without any problem.

Cultural knowledge and as well as cultural awareness have become increasingly important in today’s economy, especially when it comes to planning and forming a virtual team. There are various cultural differences that members of such groups would encounter when sharing ideas virtually. For example, Poles are very sensitive when it comes to their rich history due to the many struggles they have had to endure through many years. Their oppression by the Russian as well as the German still lingers in the minds of many Poles. Therefore, virtual group members should avoid being entangled in debates over the history of this country with that of these two neighboring countries.

On the other hand, Polish organizations value and respect authority and hierarchy. This style is evident in most business settings and formalities including the use of professional titles and the decision making process. Seniority in Polish firms is revered and respected. Moreover, the corporate ladder is often assembled on the basis of education background, and most importantly, age. For this reason, it will be very difficult for Polish team members to have mutual discussions with team members from the other side who is inferior both in professional qualification and age. Additionally, the Polish business culture is founded on tight relationships (Fisher, nd). Based on this assertion, organizational objectives can not be met if members of virtual teams experience difficulties in building trust and strong relationship amongst themselves.

Considering the unique challenges that are likely to be faced by members of the virtual teams drawn from Poland and the U.S, a strong foundation is needed during the selection process of these members. Therefore, the selection process for members of the virtual team from Poland will proceed as follows. First, the mission, ground rules, as well as the goals of the team must be highlighted. Although this step is often overlooked when creating virtual teams, the discussion of the processes and rules that will govern team meetings and projects must be established. It is advisable for virtual team members to have an orientation meeting (face-to-face) if possible so as they can be told the purpose of the team as well as that significance of the team to the organization’s success. The next step is to identify the various stakeholders of the organization and their expectations. This will ensure that the team’s purpose is not only guided by, but also tied to the expectations of every stakeholder. Thus, representatives of the stakeholders or stakeholders must be actively involved in the creation of an organization’s virtual team.

 The next step involves the definition of complementary roles and responsibilities to each member. At this stage, every member of the virtual team will be given the opportunity of knowing the roles and capabilities of individual team members. Every member will know his or her responsibility, the responsibility of others, and to whom they may seek some support and resource (Kankanhalli, Tan & Wei, 2007).  The last step will involve building rewarding experiences, relationships, and trust. It has earlier been established that Poles take time to trust strangers and develop relationships. This will provide the means through which team members can meet face-to-face and get acquainted to each other. Despite the fact that this exercise if often difficult members reside in different countries or even continents, members from the two sides should find time to meet and connect on regular basis.

The assessment of the probability or success in the expansion plan should be conducted after the two teams have worked together for some time.  This assessment criterion should be based on the failure or success of the team. While the assessment process id going one, the causes of the team’s failure or success should be established. If the group has failed to meet its objective, suitable alternative should be put in place to avoid jeopardizing the organization’s operations. On the other hand, if the team is successful, the organization should stabilize the team.

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