Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 50

GLOBAL
OUTLOOK

THREE REASONS WHY
VIRTUAL TEAMS ARE DIFFERENT
BY THERESA SIGILLITO HOLLEMA

Global virtual teams are ubiquitous for
good reasons. Organizations can form
teams with the best talent regardless of
location and gather diverse perspectives
for complex problems. Anyone who
works virtually quickly encounters
differences when interacting with a
co-located team. Simply putting on
headphones and hoping for the best
does not work. Once team leaders and
teams understand why working virtually
is different, they have the agency to
make effective changes.
Global virtual teams are a group of
people with a shared purpose who
work together across geographies and
use technology to communicate and
collaborate. In my research, I wanted
to answer the question:
How does distance and cultural
diversity impact how people think, feel
and act on a global virtual team?
To answer this question, I turned to
academia and combined the robust
research, models and theories therein
with the realities of multinational
organizations. In this article, we will
examine three ways the unique context
of global teams impacts collaboration.
1. CONFIGURATION MATTERS
The location of each team member
can impact virtual team collaboration.
The easiest configuration is having all
team members at the same location;
the second easiest is having all

| 50

team members working remote. The
challenge is everything in between -
hybrid teams. Remote teams are easier
to manage than hybrid workforces,
because everyone is in the same
situation. This is not true of hybrid
teams, where some locations have
more than one person.
Hybrid configurations are as varied
as snowflakes and may experience
challenges due to the unbalanced
placement of team members, the
seclusion of team members, or the
advantage of being in the same location
as the team leader or headquarters.
Hybrid teams may also benefit from
isolated team members, particularly if
the isolate is the team leader, because
the team builds structures for inclusivity.
Team members in hybrid teams can also
experience "co-location blindness,"
meaning they rely on local colleagues
even though distant colleagues have
more expertise. Virtual team leaders
need to consider configuration
when
developing
an
inclusive
team environment.
2. DISTANCE BREEDS
ABSTRACTION
According to construal-level theory,
we perceive items at a distance as
more abstract than those nearby.
Consider your agenda three months
from now, you have a vague idea of
the events taking place. But tomorrow,
you know where you need to be, with
whom you will meet and how you

will get there. You know the details.
According to professors Wilson, Crisp
and Mortensen, we think of people on
global teams in the same way. We know
our colleagues close to us in detail
- she is an introvert, he is a morning
person and she likes structure. We
speak of our distant colleagues in
more general terms (i.e., they are
Spanish). We are more abstract and
less detailed in describing them, and
often we select a differentiator. In
global virtual teams, cultural diversity
is an easily accessible contrast.

AS LONG AS CULTURE
REMAINS A MYSTERY,
SUBGROUPS WILL
PERSIST.

How local subgroups view their distant
colleagues can lead to an "us-versusthem" dynamic. This is because the
team members do not know each
as unique humans with distinctive
characteristics. Colleagues in the same
location may exacerbate this dynamic.
Local colleagues may experience
feelings of anxiety when working with
distant, culturally different colleagues.
They may feel it is easier to work
with local colleagues, as they speak
the same language and work in a
predictable way. Moreover, co-located
team members may confirm these


https://pubsonline.informs.org/doi/abs/10.1287/orsc.1120.0750 https://pubsonline.informs.org/doi/abs/10.1287/orsc.1120.0750 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3152826/

Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020

Do Leaders Skills Need to Evolve
Table of Contents
Developing the Next Generation of Talent Through Rotation Programs
Leadership Development Strategies and Solutions for the Modern Workplace
Leaders are Learners … Especially When They're Teaching
Developing Leadership Goo
6 Developmental Conversations Bosses Should Have with their New Managers
Driving Sales Training Results Through Manager Coaching
The Significance of Executive Presence
What People Want in a Leader: How Do You Measure Up?
Ditigal Communication Skills: Is Your Message Getting Across?
Creating a Culture of Agility with Character Development
Building Leadership: Scaling Effective Development Alongside Hypergrowth
Fast-Tracking Psychological Safety: This Is Not a Drill!
Teaching Empathy: Driving Leaders to Success
Train Forward: Results From an Emerging Community of Practice
Three Reasons Why Virtual Teams Are Different
Leading in the Age of Technological Disruption
How to Choose a Training Supplier for Leadership Development
New Leader, New Skills
Ernst & Young's Investment in the Modern Leader
Company News
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 1
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 2
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - Do Leaders Skills Need to Evolve
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 4
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - Table of Contents
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 6
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 7
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 8
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - Developing the Next Generation of Talent Through Rotation Programs
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 10
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - Leadership Development Strategies and Solutions for the Modern Workplace
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 12
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - Leaders are Learners … Especially When They're Teaching
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 14
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - Developing Leadership Goo
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 6 Developmental Conversations Bosses Should Have with their New Managers
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 17
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 18
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 19
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 20
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - Driving Sales Training Results Through Manager Coaching
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 22
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 23
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - The Significance of Executive Presence
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 25
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - What People Want in a Leader: How Do You Measure Up?
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 27
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 28
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - CT1
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - CT2
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 29
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - Ditigal Communication Skills: Is Your Message Getting Across?
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 31
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 32
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 33
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - Creating a Culture of Agility with Character Development
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 35
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 36
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 37
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - Building Leadership: Scaling Effective Development Alongside Hypergrowth
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 39
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - Fast-Tracking Psychological Safety: This Is Not a Drill!
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 41
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 42
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 43
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - Teaching Empathy: Driving Leaders to Success
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 45
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 46
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 47
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - Train Forward: Results From an Emerging Community of Practice
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 49
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - Three Reasons Why Virtual Teams Are Different
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 51
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 52
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - Leading in the Age of Technological Disruption
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 54
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - How to Choose a Training Supplier for Leadership Development
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 56
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - New Leader, New Skills
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - Ernst & Young's Investment in the Modern Leader
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - Company News
Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2020 - 60
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