Sunday, July 8, 2007

Competing in the Global Marketplace: Challenges of Remote Collaboration

In the international marketplace, Global-bounded companies are faced with the dilemma of synchronizing the work of their remote collaboration teams. Working interdependently, unifying teams under one direction and having efficient meetings are the major challenges for these teams.

The challenge of working interdependently
Our research shows that people involved in remote collaboration struggle to work interdependently as a team. The lack of day-to-day interactions prevents the team from being connected and unified. The problem of making decisions without input from other team members is pertinent.

The challenge of unifying teams under one direction
When there is uncertainty in the goal and specifics connected to it, unifying remote teams under one direction becomes difficult. A non-unified team does not collaborate and is usually ineffective.

The challenge of efficient meetings
Efficient meetings are difficult in remote collaboration situations when team members are not unified in one absolute direction. There is a tendency to be distracted by local issues that divert the focus toward the strategic matters of the current project. The effects of inefficient meetings are poor decision-making and poor managerial control.

In summary, the negative effects of these challenges have a tendency to create vicious cycles. Time and money are wasted and team morale suffers. Progress towards the grand goal is impeded or never advances.

If project managers and their team members cannot resolve these basic collaborative challenges, how can they function when distance and culture become relevant?

--- More to come ---

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