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CHALLENGES IN MANAGING GLOBAL TEAMS

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CHALLENGES IN MANAGING GLOBAL TEAMS

Challenges in Managing Global Teams

Introduction

The current world of business features stiff competition that leaves organizations utilizing various strategies to endure reduced pressure. Among the strategies employed by larger organizations is that of going global, which entails presence in multiple nations. This move calls for the use of global teams as a strategic human resource solution (Kerber and Buono, 2004). By definition, the term global teams refer to the creation of a workforce comprised of people from different geographical, temporal, and cultural backgrounds, who are then distributed across nations where the company operates, forming its human resource pool. A well-structured global team presents diverse benefits to an organization in terms of enhancing organizational innovation and performance. It enables the taping of expertise to serve different sections of the organization, increase efficiency, enable the company work 24/7 across time zones, and lowers its costs by making sure that it accesses local markets and customers without physically travelling (Gluesing & Gibson, 2004). Additionally, global teams create a platform for the exchange of ideas and perspectives between the team members, which benefits the organization by offering quality outcomes and solutions (Kayworth and Leidner, 2000). However, while global teams offer great promise for organizational leaders in terms of enabling the organization to serve on a global level, they are, however, burdened with significant management difficulties, especially that of coordination and collaboration of work. This paper seeks to identify the common challenges faced by managers in directing global teams today. Through scrutiny of the literature materials that addressed the issue, gaps will be identified, which will form the basis of the current research.   

Research Questions

The main question that this research seeks to answer is: what are the main challengers of managing global teams faced in the current corporate world and what are their remedies?

A number of specific (secondary) research questions will also guide this study. They include the following:

1. Is there any relationship between regional differences and the effective delivery of managerial task by managers of multinational organizations?

2.  What rational measures can be implemented in multinational organizations to curb challenges in managing their global teams and enable virtual team effectiveness?

3.   What is the nature of the relationship between management styles and successful management of global teams?

Project Objectives

The main objective of this research is to empirically identify the main challengers of managing global teams faced in the current corporate world and their remedies.

The managerial challenges exhibited in multinational organizations. Specific research objectives include the following.

1.        To find out whether there exists a relationship between regional differences and the effective delivery of managerial task by managers of multinational organizations.

2.        To identify the rational measures that can be implemented in multinational organizations to curb challenges faced by managers in their managing of their global teams and enable the effectiveness of virtual teams.

3.        To identify the nature of relationship between management styles and the success/failure of the management of their global teams.

Project Scope

In this study, the researcher will precisely investigate the challenges faced by managers of multinational organizations in managing global teams or workers located in different parts of the globe and working for the same company. Other challenges faced by multinational organizations’ leaders will not be included. The research will be carried out in five organizations located in New York City. These include American Express, Colgate-Palmolive, Pfizer, Morgan Stanley and NASDAQ, Inc.  Only managers and workers will take part in the study.

Literature Review

Literature posits a myriad of challenges faced by managers in coordinating their global teams. A majority of studies suggest that the management of global teams is faced with significant challenges, which fall into four major areas namely geographical, communication, culture, technology, and performance evaluation (Kayworth, Timothy and Leidner 2000). In his research, Cummings (2004) associates the management of global teams with the problem of geographical humps, which gives rise to the problem or difficulties in building sustainable trust. This is aggravated by the fact that the manager and the teams are mostly separated by geographical barriers, making it hard for the manager to trust that the team is delivering as required and as reported.  Cummings and Haas (2012) describe time difference as another problem curtailing the management of global teams. Synchronizing the activities become elusive for managers of multinational organizations since teams located in different countries will serve under different time zones, which presents an obstacle. For instance, scheduling a common meeting to address or communicate a common problem may prove impossible or direly tasking (Cummings, 2004).  Another challenge in managing global teams is as described by Cramton and Hinds (2004), which is the cost involved. Unlike a local team which a manager can interact frequently with his/her teams, the manager for a global teams cannot effectively interact with each employee (or team member) since most of the times s/he will only have time to communicate with their supervisors, as communicating with every team member daily may prove to be extremely costly. Meanwhile, if the manager requires to personally oversee the teams’ progress, it may require him/her to travel to different parts of the country to engage with the teams. This costs the company a lot of resources in terms of time and money (Cumming and Haas, 2012).  Technological barriers also challenge the management of global teams (Govindarajan and Gupta, 2002).  Some global regions have not yet upgraded to sufficient communication infrastructures, which may hamper the efficiency in access or communication between teams and the management. The teams may, thus submit to failure during desperate moments, which might have required critical support from the management. 

 List of References

Connaughton, SL, and Shuffler, M 2007, Multinational and multicultural distributed teams: A review and future agenda, Small group research, 38(3), pp.387-412.

Cramton, CD, and Hinds, PJ 2004, Subgroup dynamics in internationally distributed teams: Ethnocentrism or cross-national learning? Research in organizational behavior, 26, pp.231-263.

Creswell, JW, and Clark, VLP 2007, Designing and conducting mixed methods research, Los       Angeles, SAGE Publications

Cummings, JN, and Haas, MR 2012, So many teams, so little time: Time allocation matters in geographically dispersed teams, Journal of Organizational Behavior, 33(3), pp.316-341.

Cummings, JN 2004, Work groups, structural diversity, and knowledge sharing in a global organization, Management science, 50(3), pp.352-364.

Gibson, CB 2004, Building multicultural teams: Learning to manage homogeneity and heterogeneity. Crossing Cultures: Insights from Master Teachers, Malden, MA, Blackwell.

Gluesing, JC, and Gibson, CB 2004, Designing and forming global teams, The Blackwell handbook of global management: A guide to managing complexity, pp.199-226.

Govindarajan, V, and Gupta, AK 2002, Building an effective global business team, IEEE Engineering Management Review, 30(2), pp.28-28.

Gregory, I 2003, Ethics in research, London; New York, Continuum, Corp.

Kayworth, T, and Leidner, D 2000, The global virtual manager: A prescription for success, European Management Journal, 18(2), pp.183-194.

Kerber, KW, and Buono, AF 2004, Leadership challenges in global virtual teams: Lessons from the field, SAM Advanced Management Journal, 69(4), p.4.



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