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Globalization has made it possible for the organization to expand their service and product across the globe, but also build virtual teams from different locations and time zone. With virtual team and collaborative technology, organizations have made significant milestones in meeting their goals. Despite this, there are many challenges that virtual teams must negotiate, unlike the tradition teams—culture. It is vital to note that virtual teams often work across space, time and transcend cultural boundaries, but the latter can become a point of a challenge. From the reading of Duarte and Synder (2006), it is evident that culture can affect a virtual in several ways. Being that I have worked in a virtual team, I am aware of various challenges that culture creates between team members. These challenges are often unique to virtual teams, but may not be experienced in face-to-face teams. In the light of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, I am acquainted with how cultures can a positive or negative effect on a virtual team.
Impact of Hofstede cultural continua on a team
Power distance is one aspect of Hofsted cultural dimension that has an impact on the virtual teams. This aspect of culture affects how well team members accept power distribution within an organization. While working as a team, I experienced both the effect of high-power distance and low power distance. Power distance has a vital role in shaping virtual team because people have different attitudes towards power. For some of my colleagues who exhibited high-power distance, I noted that they favored centralized decision-making process. In addition, these team members were highly autocratic in the leadership. In some cases, a few individuals were under the supervision of several supervisors. On the contrary, I have also experienced the influence of lower power distance. In my virtual team, I am always comfortable with decentralized decision-making and being under few supervisors when carrying out my tasks.
The tendency to avoid uncertainty is another factor that has influence on the dynamics of a virtual team. While working in a virtual team, I have experienced the impact of high uncertainty avoidance, as well as low uncertainty avoidance. In my case, I am always a low tendency to avoid uncertainties during a project. Because of this reason, I often find myself probing the value of technical solutions to find if they are effective or not. This trait has also affected the relation between some of my team members. From my observation, some of these employees lack the loyalty to their employer. This contrasts with the low uncertainty avoidance that makes individuals fear risks. While I have not experienced this effect, I know of some team members who are not only strongly loyal to the employer, but also readily accept solutions.
Individualism also has an influence on the work of a virtual team. In the project that we are working on all my effort reflects the interest of the team, and this is why I always consider the goals of the team in everything that I do. In addition, there are situations where I have been reassigned some duties because I did not have the confidence to complete them appropriately. These traits characterize individuals with low individualism, and the group is their focus. I have also seen some team members focusing on meeting the needs of the team rather than an individual. For instance, some team members always consider the interest of the entire team when explaining concepts or training members on specific aspects of the projects. This does not mean that some individuals are happy with meeting the interest of the group. A couple of team members appear to mind their own self-interest, and this often erodes their trust and effectiveness in the team. Some team members have also expressed fears of supervisors dismissing them for poor performance because of having supervisors who have high individualism. Certainly, individualism has an impact on the working of the virtual team.
Masculinity is another element that I have seen in some of my team members. In today’s competitive world, both men and women have taken an equal burden to acquire skills and experience that make them suitable candidates in virtual teams (Duarte & Syndeer, 2006). However, this is a difference in a virtual team climate as was in the case in my team. My team seems to embrace low masculinity because we have a considerable number of female colleagues and supervisors. The presence of the non-tradition role in our team is another indication of our homogeneity among the team members. Furthermore, our team seems to be more welcome a competitive spirit between the female and male team members. Quiet, on the contrary, some male colleagues do not appreciate having some female in the team, and they often see themselves as more effectiveness, and competitiveness than women are.
Long-term orientation has been of influence in my role in the team. As an individual, with high long-term orientation, I value building relationships and see my relations with others a source of satisfaction. Because of this trait, I often defer gratification when I have to achieve other equally important goals. For some team members, their short-term orientation makes them focus on immediate benefits from relationships. These members often do not value having any relationship between themselves and their team members. Instead, their focus is on the immediate results in many things they do. This aspect of cultural differences illustrates the difference that arises from cultural differences among team members. The manifestation of these differences clearly proves that Hofstede’s continuum has a significant influence on virtual teams.