Global Virtual Team and Business Communication

Introduction

The purpose of this research paper is to explore aspects of global business communication. Specifically, the paper will focus on communication in a global virtual team. Communication is an imperative element of success for any organization. Effective interpersonal communication remains the most important element of communication success (Ferrell & Herb, 2012). It results in enhanced trust, shared experiences, commitment to a team and improved team performance.

Organizational performance also relies on communication among people in it. The relationships among team members are necessary for communicating important information for decision-making and sharing expertise required for improved performance. As such, any global company should aim to enhance effective communication strategies. The relevance of enhancing communication in a global organization has become critical when evaluating the role of virtual teams with members who rarely or will never physically meet.

A Global Virtual Team

Changes in technologies and globalization have altered work and working relationships in organizations. Developments in communication technologies have resulted in flexibility for organizations and their employees because they can work from any location and communicate across the global. Scholars have noted that “global virtual teams (GVTs) are generally described as culturally diverse, geographically dispersed, electronically-communicating work groups and may rapidly form, change, and dissolve due to dynamic changes in the market” (Daim, et al., 2012, p. 199). Nevertheless, global firms have found means of leveraging diverse skills and abilities of global virtual teams. Hence, the use of virtual teams has grown significantly.

Given the increase in global virtual teams, it is necessary to understand global communication issues and factors that could facilitate or hinder effective communication. Communication channels are important for sharing information across a global virtual team. People develop vital relationships as they interact with others in organizations.

Consequently, communication channels and social networks are developed and strengthened through these networks. These networks and channels provide valuable means of sharing information and knowledge in global firms. It is imperative to recognize that global virtual teams do not have the advantage of face-to-face interaction. Clearly, this is an issue, which several virtual teams must experience when communicating (Ferrell & Herb, 2012).

However, there are several means of enhancing communication and interacting with global virtual teams. Trust, leadership, understanding culture and the use of communication technologies have critical impacts on communication among members of global virtual teams. Hence, global firms can enhance business communication in their virtual teams by leveraging these factors.

Improving Communication in a Global Virtual Team

Trust is important factors in communication among members of a global virtual team. It guides dissemination of information between parties. A major obstacle to effective communication in a virtual global team is mistrust. Members tend to be susceptible to mistrust because of different factors, specifically geography, a lack of formal introduction, culture and potential criticism from other members of the team.

To overcome mistrust, global virtual teams should have orientation and formal introduction to enhance communication, knowledge and information sharing. Members can share their experiences and personal belief systems to enhance trust with the team. As members build trust over time, they create communication channels and social networks that would promote communication within their work context.

Leadership is also a critical factor to consider when intending to improve communication in a global virtual team. Leaders can enhance teamwork, communication and knowledge sharing in a virtual community. It is noted that leadership influences communication and information sharing among team members (Ferrell & Herb, 2012).

Team leaders can enhance communication by focusing on selecting appropriate modes of communication based on formal organizational policies and hierarchies. Leaders must define how communication should take place in a global firm. This implies that a global virtual team should have formal network and channels that focus on information and knowledge sharing. Leaders should also focus on developing informal modes of communication for global virtual teams. This informal strategy can promote cultures that support shared values, expectations and assumptions about an organization.

A global firm should have a communication charter to improve communication among team members.

Team members should learn new technologies used in communication. This requires technology training to equip the team with adequate skills. It is necessary because of different tools that have emerged as communication platforms in the recent past (Vilet, 2012).

Finally, cultural differences could enhance or hinder effective communication in a global virtual team. It is imperative for the team to understand their cultures and learn much about other cultures so that they can avoid stereotyping. The process may require culture awareness training and background research. The team should avoid assumptions, judgments and poor interpretation of others’ cultures and behaviors.

Conclusion

Communication is imperative for any global business. Hence, a breakdown in communication could affect operations and delivery on business goals. A virtual global team faces serious communication challenges because of its unique characteristics. The research paper has addressed some factors that could hamper communication and offered solutions for improvement in a virtual environment for global firms. It shows that trust, cultural differences, leadership and technologies are critical for effective communication in a global virtual team environment.

References

Daim, T., Ha, A., Reutiman, S., Hughes, B., Pathak, U., Bynum, W., & Bhatla, A., (2012). Exploring the communication breakdown in global virtual teams. International Journal of Project Management, 30(2), 199–212. Web.

Ferrell, J. Z., & Herb, K. C. (2012). Improving Communication in Virtual Teams. Web.

Vilet, J. (2012). The Challenge and Promise of Global Virtual Teams. Web.