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Virtual Teams

As the authors point out, optimal interpersonal communication within an organization is related to effective performance

Strategies to Improve Communication in Virtual Teams

Simon Hopes Simon Hopes , 8/31/2017
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As the authors point out, optimal interpersonal communication within an organization is related to effective performance, as these communicative relationships facilitate the dissemination of information and essential skills that allow high performance within the organization.


For this reason, organizations should focus their efforts towards effective communication methods , especially when teamwork occurs in a virtual context , since their "dispersed nature" creates an inherent barrier to communication that must be overcome Through various methods, including the implementation of appropriate technologies or the establishment of strong communication networks.

The interest of this document lies in the gradual emergence of managing virtual teams within organizational structures in recent years, and has been conditioned to a large extent by rapid technological advances, which have given companies greater flexibility, Making it possible for employees to work from home and even communicate from different time zones.


The recent increase in this type of equipment in organizations highlights the importance of understanding how communication networks are developed in virtual contexts and the factors that facilitate effective operation. For the purpose of this article, the three key elements that influence information exchange would be: trust among team members, leadership, and communication technology.


According to the article, vulnerability to mistrust stands as a potential barrier to the exchange of information between members of a virtual team, whose causes would be the lack of a formal presentation among its members, the lack of geographical proximity between Them and / or the fear of receiving criticism for their comments. This is where one of the disadvantages of this type of equipment is evident: the lack of opportunities offered by the face-to-face interaction that occurs in a traditional team.


In order to overcome this mistrust and create a collaborative work environment, a number of methods are listed, such as face-to-face meetings (aimed at promoting recognition among group members), or team building exercises, which foster effective cooperation And help improve group dynamics (eg activities focused on sharing information, sharing personal experiences and / or values).


In terms of leadership , its relevance to team success is marked by the type of influence it exerts on the exchange of information, both formally (through the selection of the communicative channel and the establishment of formal hierarchical policies and Determine how communication flows within the group), and informally (through their impact on the climate and team culture).


The climate (understood as the views and shared by members of an organization with respect to the policies and practices of the same expectations) and culture (based on the set of habits, values shared by the team assumptions and even By the organization in general) have been shown to have a great influence on the behavior of all employees and their work performance. In this regard, the leader can create a conducive climate for the exchange of information, encouraging collaboration in a team rather than competitiveness.


You can also implement other effective methods for communicative improvement among your team members, such as creating charters , which represent a joint agreement regarding team goals and specific goals to achieve them, roles each one, its limits, the different resources that can be used, etc., thus facilitating the formal dissemination of knowledge among all members.


Finally, not least is the technology used, since; generally, it forms the basis of the communication in the virtual equipment. At this point, the article highlights the interest of carrying out technological training courses for all employees working in this type of equipment, teaching the management of the different mechanisms that can be used to communicate with each other, and their selection in function Of the purposes and limitations of the situation (teleconferences, videoconferences, electronic mail, intranet databases, etc.).


To conclude, the authors urge organizations to pay attention to these suggestions and complement them with efforts to encourage the development of effective communication networks.