Analysis of Communication Channels
The CEO of SWC has recently hired me to analysis its current communication channels, communication delays, team development strategies, and offer solutions to any problems found. Communications, accurate information and team development are critical for the success of this organization. Without attention to these details, projects will be delayed, customer service will suffer and team confidence will be degraded to the point that there will be an increase of “finger pointing” and “back stabbing” for failures that occur.
Upon study, my team and I found that there is a breakdown in communications to and from overseas operations. Different time zones, languages barriers, cultural differences and technology compatibility are all issues that must be addressed. Coping with time zone differences can be challenging, but through email, voicemail, faxing, and video conferencing these challenges can be minimized. This will give us a fair degree of communication globally. We must be proactive instead of reactive when dealing with time zone issues.
Projects managers should be on call 24/7 to handle any problems that might arise and needs immediate attention both domestically and internationally. Information is not always received in a timely manner; it is often not accurate or comprehensive and many times the sending and
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SWC has operations on two fronts, Western Europe and the Pacific Rim area and because of the time differences; there is a challenge to sending or receiving information. I recommend that we establish communication command centers, both overseas and domestically that will operate on a 24/7 basics. The communication command centers main responsibility will be to transmit and receive information and route this information to the appropriate overseas and domesticate departments.
All information is to be archived so corporate officials can access it and monitor day-to-day communication of all overseas and domestic communication. All formal written communication will pass through this command center. It also recommends that all departments send daily situation reports no later than 5 p.m. from each respective country. These reports will highlight department goals for the day, projects that are to be completed and information on the outcome of completed assignments.
Language barriers create problems for both sender and receiver of different cultures. The root cause is translation and comprehension failures. Often information is turned around or miss interrupted all together (Daniels, 2003). SWC should establish a translation department whose sole purpose is the translation of information into the desired languages. This department will translate large documents that will be used by subordinate companies overseas. In addition, SWC should invest in a language translation program that can translate emails and memos into varies languages. During oral communications always, remember to speak slowly and ask the person you are communicating with to repeat any information that you did not completely understand.
Communication is affected by cultural differences. In some countries, plural verbs are used for plural noun. If you do not know this, you would think the author of the dialog has poor grammar skills or you might even view this person as lacking education and question the creditability of that person as being a viable source of information. Cross-cultural exchanges must start by creating a common ground. Once this common ground has been established, it is possible for people to discuss things in a common way. Find the common ground and people will bond despite their cultural differences. Once this bond is establish, trust begins to intercede and when you have trust and respect for one another the first stage of effective communication has begun (Daniels, 2003).
The compatibility of technology is very important for SWC to effectively communicate with subordinates in different countries. All affiliates will be connected to the corporation electronically. They will have access to the same email, LAN applications, phones, fax, and videoconferencing capabilities that the corporation has. The corporate information staff will monitor and upgrade all systems, both domestic and international on a regular basis to ensure compatible with the corporation’s system. Employee should be able to visit any of our operations and conduct business as if they were at their own location.
SWC is concerned with the creation of virtual self-managed teams. Virtual self-managed teams are highly autonomous groups that manage themselves, set goals, plans and schedule work activities, select team members and evaluate team performance. According to Robbins & Judge (p. 302), there are five stages of group development: Stage 1 is called the “forming” stage. During this, stage members come together for the first time.
This can be accomplished using video conferencing, which would allow each individual to see who he or she is working with and the opportunity to become acquainted. During this stage individual will begin to think of themselves as being part of a team. The second stage is the “storming” stage and during this stage, the team hierarchy is established. Several conflicts issues occur between team members during this stage.
It is during this stage that conflict resolution strategies will begin to emerge. Member’s activity seeks solutions to conflicts in order to continue the work on the task. Without a viable way to resolve conflicts the team cannot expect to move into the third stage of team development. The third stage is the “norming” stage, which states that the group has become more at ease working together. Many cultural differences issues have been laid to rest. Individuals figure out that people are more similarities to them than they original thought, this establishes a trust, a sense of companionship among participants and a willingness to work together.
The fourth stage is the “performing” stage; teams have begun to focus on projects that are to be completed. Communication among team members are conducted primarily by message boards and emails. There is a sense of urgency to complete all tasks with the best possible outcome. The last stage in the “adjourning” stage, where team members are finishing project and preparing to disband. It is important to point out, as the team move from one stage to another can and often moves back to an earlier stage.
Virtual teams comes from different geographic or organizational locations that use a combination of telecommunications and information technologies to come together to accomplish a common goal but rarely meet face-to-face. Horizontal communication between staff on the same level, such as between managers, general manager, etc, would take place in the form of virtual meeting, memos, emails. The virtual team’s focus should be on total customer satisfaction, taking ownership of problems, innovation, commitment to a shared vision and provide supportive teamwork.
There are advantage and disadvantages to virtual teams. The advantages are more information and knowledge can be shared among the team. They tend to generate more alternatives and offer a higher quality of decision making than traditional teams. The disadvantages are it takes longer to reach solution in many cases. Members may suppress disagreement more often, thus leading to a more explosive situation in the future and a few individuals may dominate the virtual team. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages and a global origination must exploit the advantages that virtual teams have to offer.
Daniels, D. (2003). Guanxi and Mianzi: How to achieve faster results with credibility. Global HR
News. Retrieve January 20, 2007, from http://www.globalhrnews.com/b4/b4home.asp?sid=460
Robbins, S.P. & Judge, T.A. (2007). Organizational behavior. (12th ed.)