Virtual teams refers to teamwork efforts that are facilitated through information technology medium where individuals get to work together without having to meet physically (Maznevski, 2006). Basically the term virtual team refers to a group of persons that primarily interact through internet connectivity or other electronic media and occasionally get to meet physically in order to achieve certain work objectives.
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There are three characteristics that defines a virtual team; members must be separated by geographical features, they must be linked together virtually through a form of an electronic media and they must be engaged in achieving a common objective that is mostly work related (Maznevski, 2006). The purpose of this paper is to discuss the elements of virtual teams as well as evaluation tool of measuring its efficiency for human resource personnel in an organization.
Generally virtual teams can be categorized into four groups; tasks groups, command groups, interest groups and friendship groups (Kruse, 2003). In an organization setting there are several reasons that necessitate the use and set up of virtual teams. In this case the main reasons include low cost of business operations, convenience, outsourcing of scarce human resource and the need to gain a competitive edge (Duarte, 2005).
Regardless of the type of virtual group, a virtual team requires six elements that must be enhanced in order for it to be effective, they include effective communication skills, conflicts management, leadership skills, building of ideal relationship, team empowerment and rhythm building (Gould, 2006). These are the essential elements of a highly efficient virtual team.
One of the articles in the field of virtual team that attempts to comprehensively assess the efficiency of virtual teams in an organizational setting is written by Tricia Steege, the CEO of transformation strategies. In this article the maturity and efficiency of virtual team is measured by a Virtual Team Operation Survey tool that assesses the indicators of virtual team performance (Steege, 2003).
The survey tool developed for assessing the effectiveness of virtual teams in organization focuses on a total of five indicators that include; trust, leadership, communication, technology and learning that are rated based on four criteria’s (Steege, 2003).
The possible cumulative scores when using this survey tool is 100 points that are disaggregated by 20 marks in each category. Based on the points obtained during the evaluation of the team efficiency, a human resource specialist can identify areas of weaknesses and strengths of the virtual team under evaluation.
The interpretation of the survey tool scorecard is pretty straight forward since the indicators that have the lowest points are the weakest links that are used to identify areas of weaknesses while areas that score highly indicate areas of strengths. The specific interpretation and analysis of the Virtual Team Operation Survey tool score is indicated in the following table.
Table 1: Virtual Team Operation Survey Tool Analysis
|Score Range||Overall Rating|
|90-100||Highly effective. The work capability of the virtual team is highly mature and highly functioning.|
|80-90||Generally effective. The work capability of the virtual team is generally mature and functioning quite well.|
|70-80||Moderately effective. The capability of the virtual team is somewhat mature with several dimensions of virtual work processes needing to be improved.|
|70 and Below||Below effective. The capability of the virtual team is immature with many areas of virtual work needing to be improved.|
Source: (Steege, 2003). How Mature Are Your Virtual Team Work Processes?
Duarte, K. (2005). How to tell Virtual Team Effectiveness. Web.
Gould, David. (2006). Fifth Generation Work-Virtual Organization. Web.
Kruse, Kevin. (2003). Creating Conditions for Virtual Team Effectiveness. Web.
Maznevski, Martha. (2006). Creating Effective Virtual Teams. Web.
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Steege, Tricia. (2003). How Mature are your Virtual Team Work Processes. Web.