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Analyze peer posts and provide a response with a new academic peer reviewed article. This is the feedback instructor provided so please adhere to their feedback as well:
The discussion board should be a “conversation” between you and your colleagues. I know you are sticking to third-person voice, but for the discussion board only, its OK to create a friendlier tone for this class. For example, instead try:
I see how you reflected upon certain aspects of….”
“In the post, Jackson reflects…..
Post One – Author:Kyle
Roles in Virtual Teams
Virtual teams have become the norm in many organizations. They can be more productive but also more difficult to manage due to the lack of proximity, the physical and temporal separation, and the less stable nature of the team (Wakefield et al., 2008). Virtual teams tend to have more flexibility in team makeup and often change over time. As the team members change over time, individuals in the team may change their roles based on personal preferences or the needs of the team (Konradt & Hoch, 2007). Wakefield et al. (2007) define the following roles that may be observed within a team: innovator, broker, producer, director, coordinator, monitor, facilitator, and mentor. These roles are not needed in equal parts or at the same time.
Just as the team makeup changes, the dynamic of the team changes based on the idiosyncrasies of team members. One of the members of my team has a tendency to work late at night and then come in late. He is extremely productive, so his hours are accepted by the group. The team has come to only schedule meetings that require his expertise later in the day to accommodate his schedule. Other team members demonstrate specific identities that they tend to portray. One team member is also extremely proficient but wants to be seen as the subject matter expert. He has difficulty teaching or showing others how to perform tasks as this detracts from his perceived status as the expert. This is contrasted by a different team member who identifies as the helper and will volunteer for any task that needs to be completed. As a team, it is often necessary to recognize the roles, idiosyncrasies, and identities of members and sometimes challenge them. We sometimes task other, less qualified individuals with work to expand the team’s overall skillset. We also challenge each other to get outside of our comfort zones to improve both professionally and socially.
Post 2- Author: James
Virtual Teams, Taskwork, and Teamwork
Increasing computer power, the creation of the Internet, and faster online data transfer speeds have increased the number of people working virtually (usually from home). According to a Gallup poll in 2020, the number of workers in America who worked remotely/virtually moved from 3.4% in January to 43% by the first week of April (Feitosa & Salas, 2020). Even without this recent spike, organizations such as multinational corporations have used virtual means for team collaboration across their business nodes around the globe for several decades. Regardless of physical separation, virtual teams are still in need of effective structures and tools. The purpose of this paper is to briefly discuss the concepts of taskwork and teamwork within the context of virtual teams.
Taskwork and Teamwork for Virtual Teams
When planning for virtual teams, leaders need to consider both task-focused and team-focused perspectives. The term taskwork focuses on tasks – the specific performance requirements and work goals associated the overall task. There may be both individual and collective tasks that support the overall mission. The more commonly used term teamwork focuses on the interpersonal interactions between team members and an understanding of where specific capabilities lie within the team (Thompson, 2018). Using a computer -related analogy to apply these principles, the term taskwork would correlate to the task capabilities of the elements in a computer (CPU, graphics card, storage device, etc.). Each of these components have specific tasks to complete that contribute to the overall task. Teamwork would correlate to the connections between these elements within the computer – how quickly and effectively can these components pass information between them, collaborate, and adapt together to complete the overall task?
Virtual teams have most of the same problems and challenges that other teams do, but the lack of interpersonal in-the-room interaction can present new challenges, and exacerbate existing ones. Individuals may be less tactful in written online responses than they would be in person (commonly observable in many online interactions). This can hinder trust between team members, a critical component of a virtual team’s success. Also, team members might be less responsive, or slower to respond, when a virtual team. This can be especially true if the virtual environment is sustained for many months (Feitosa & Salas, 2020).
Hanna and Richards (2016) argue that shared mental models (SMM) are extremely important for virtual teams. Further, they assert that both knowledge about the team (teamwork SMMs) and knowledge about the task (task work SMMs) are critical for team effectiveness and longevity. These SMMs help everyone on the team to be on the same sheet of music, to use an orchestral metaphor.
Implications for Managers
In an article published since the initial impact of COVID-19, Feitosa and Salas (2020) make recommendations for virtual teams. Two of the recommendations have to do with teamwork and taskwork. The first is avoiding a fixation on trying balancing teamwork and task work, but rather focus on the former as well as continuous feedback loops. The other is to create assessments of collaboration. This means that in addition to being assessed on primary tasks, both teams and individuals are assessed on their collaborative behaviors and constructive feedback provided to the team (Feitosa & Salas, 2020).
This brief exploration of taskwork and teamwork indicated that they are both important planning perspectives for teams – including virtual teams. Understanding the need for a solid plan for the technical aspects of the job, as well as a solid plan to promote quality interpersonal interactions are both critical for virtual teams. One way to improve virtual team effectiveness may include assessments of collaborative and feedback-sharing behaviors as well as task-related behaviors (Feitosa & Salas, 2020). This advice will likely continue to be important as virtual collaboration is likely to remain high over the coming months (and probably years) as the business world continues to adapt to the impacts of COVID-19.