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What is VIRTUAL MANAGEMENT? What does VIRTUAL MANAGEMENT mean? VIRTUAL MANAGEMENT meaning - VIRTUAL MANAGEMENT definition - VIRTUAL MANAGEMENT explanation.
Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ license.
Virtual management, is the supervision, leadership, and maintenance of virtual teams--dispersed work groups that rarely, if ever, meet face to face. As the number of virtual teams has grown, brought about by the rise of the Internet, globalization, outsourcing, telecommuting the need to manage them has also grown. The following article provides information concerning some of the important management factors involved with virtual teams, and the life cycle of managing a virtual team.
Due to developments in information technology within the workplace, along with a need to compete globally and address competitive demands, organisations have embraced virtual management structures. As with face-to-face teams, management of virtual teams is a crucial component in the effectiveness of the team. However, compared to leaders of face-to-face teams, virtual team leaders face the following difficulties: (a) logistical problems, including coordinating work across different time zones and physical distances; (b) interpersonal issues, including an ability to establish effective working relationships in the absence of frequent face-to-face communication; and (c) technological difficulties, including finding and learning to use appropriate technology. In global virtual teams, there is the added dimension of cultural differences which impact on a virtual team's functioning.
In order for a virtual team to be successful it is the manager's role to schedule meetings to ensure participation. This idea carries over to the realm of virtual teams, but in this case these meetings are also done virtually. Due to the difficulties of communicating in a virtual team, it is imperative that team members attend meetings in order for the team to function. In addition to that Cascio writes, "Learning to make the transition from managing time to managing projects is critical and will determine the success of an organization's telework program. . . The first team meeting is crucial and will establish lasting precedents for the team." Furthermore, there are numerous features of a virtual team environment that may impact on the development of follower trust and the team members have to trust that the leader is allocating work fairly and evaluating team members equally.
An extensive study conducted over 8 years examined what factors increase leader effectiveness in virtual teams. One such factor is that virtual team leaders need to spend more time than conventional team counterparts being explicit about expectations. This is due to the patterns of behavior and dynamics of interaction which are unfamiliar. Moreover, even in information rich virtual teams using video conferencing, it is hard to replicate the rapid exchange of information and cues available in face-to-face discussions. In order to develop role clarity within virtual teams, leaders should focus on developing: (a) clear objectives and goals for tasks; (b) comprehensive milestones for deliverables; and (c) communication channels for seeking feedback on unclear role guidance.