Business Research Assignment (BRM)
1. Topic for the Research
The topic for the dissertation for the Business Research Management subject is “Collaboration in business management- how collaboration impacts for long term success”. Collaboration is the aspect of working with each other to achieve a common desired goal.
The role of collaboration in the more recent times has been of greater essence partly due to the rise of the globalised sphere of operations in the world. Teams across geographic boundaries collaborate to give service or form products. Collaboration is partly based due to the fact that in today’s scenario, companies need to play to the strengths of different teams to be profitable and generate a sustainable competitive advantage.
Moreover, products and services are getting more complex day by day such that different companies and different nations have to work together to achieve their goal. I am going to take a look at how the collaborative process takes place in the companies and countries in the present day and age and compare the advantages of collaboration to the work processes without it for the long term success.
2. Aim & Objective of Research
Collaboration is more important as there are many teams that come together to achieve the different organizational goals. Long term success is thus defined only when these teams that collaborate come together in a mutually cohesive manner that will lead to higher productivity and efficiency.
It is thus imperative for the richer to identify the core factors that will lead to the effective collaboration and to study the prior researches that have been done in the past on this topic. The main objectives of my research are-
- Identification of the different factors of the success and failures of collaboration, so that the reader is well informed on the different aspects of the collaboration between two or more teams.
- To study the effects of technology as the cause and the facilitator of the collaboration between the different teams.
- To draw parallels with group development theory with the collaborating teams to identify the success parameters.
- To study the effect of the cultural diversity in today’s globalised world on collaboration.
3. Research Background
The advent of the internet in the late 21st century along with the globalization has led to the new concept of the development of collaboration. This has been seen predominantly in multinational organizations to handle and manage geographically dispersed employees of the organization (Maznevski&Chudoba, 2000). This team always work towards a common goal. All the members of the team work in real time irrespective of the time zones or organizational boundaries.
A success of a virtual team is majorly based on the people who form the part of the team. 90 per cent of the issues that takes place in the collaboration can be resolved by resolving the people issues.
This paper will take a deeper look at the positive impact of collaboration by answering 4 questions pertaining to the factors that contribute to the success of collaboration and those that contribute to the failure of collaboration, the extent to which the characteristics of well-functioning, effective groups overlap the attributes that contribute to the success of collaboration, effect of cultural diversity on the effective functioning of collaboration operating in a global economy & looking deeper at a firm’s approach to evaluating effectiveness of its collaboration and its expansion to the other organizations.
4. Research Rationale
Any manager who is interested in the collaboration needs to understand the different aspect od the collaboration to be effective in the collaborative process. Without this, it is a great business risk as collaboration can backfire to terrible consequences to the parties involved.
Thus as managers of the firm, one can ensure better long term success by effective collaboration. Another reason for me to choose this topic was due to the fact that, by the end of the World War 2, collaboration became a word with negative connotations as the states were deemed to be in collaboration with the axix powers. Thus I wanted to use this research paper to bring the positive qualities of the word collaboration for the firms long term success.
5. Literature Review
5.1 Group Management & Collaboration
Collaborating teams have the same group forming process as in any other teams that get together for achieving the organizational goals. Tuckman’s model for group development postulates that any group goes through 5 stages from their initial stages to the final stages (Tuckman, 1965). They are Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing an Adjourning.
Forming occurs in the collaboration when they first get to know the people that they will connect to and interact with when they get together in the team. Here the team members will look to the group leader to steer them through. It is very important for the group leader to see though the forming stage and it sets the foundation of the working of the team.
Proper introduction and forming measures between people of different cultures and languages will ensure that the people understand each other leading to less conflict on the communication and more discussion on the idea (Rickards&Moger, 2000).
The next step is the storming stage, where the group will be involved in constructive brainstorming to discuss the different decisions to be taken by the group to reach the organizational goal.
Storming process must hang in the balance, as less storming may indicate that the team members are not discussing it properly. The leader must step in during this instant and marshal the different team members by breaking the ice between the team members. Too much storming may also be counterproductive in nature as all will be arguing with each other.
The Norming stage is when all the virtual team members come to a particular consensus after the brainstorming session. During this stage the onus on the leader of the virtual team is to understand the different strengths of his or her team members and taking the region specific issues and the resources to go on delegating specific tasks to put forth the formulation of the organization plan in motion (Rickards&Moger, 1999).
Performing stage is when the different team members of the virtual team have gone about their duties assigned by the group leader in the previous stage. Here the crux of the matter is to monitor the performance progress of the team and to take feedback of the team members to do any corrective action that has to be taken by the group leader. Ideally, this stage is not totally carried out on the virtual sphere when all are online, but rather in localised process, where the group leader takes feedback of the organizational work one on one.
The final stage is the Adjourning stage, which provides the culmination of the virtual team. Here the team gets together in the virtual sphere for one last time to analyse their collective progress on their work after the work has been done. The group leader identifies the different issues that group members individually showed during their work process and gives inputs to them to take action such that these issues are corrected for the next group work.
5.2 Cultural Diversity Effect on Collaboration
Cultural diversity has been a much talked about aspect in the running and its effect on the collaboration. This is because the effects of cultural diversity can have the direct effect on the individual’s behaviour while working in the team. As said earlier and stated in the case, a virtual team’s major point is the human resource that is there in the team, and 90 per cent of the strength of the team is based on the strength of the human resource.
Thus it is of greater essence for the team leaders to prime the different team members of the team to work effectively in the teams. This is done to avoid conflicts that may arise to perceived communication differences stemming from the cultural background of the team members.
For example, An American team culture may be more forthright and extroverted as compared to a Japanese team culture that stresses on patience and soft spoken interaction. Thus for a virtual team consisting of Americans and Japanese, who have never experienced working with each other, the Japanese may look at the Americans to be rude and bully and the Americans may view the Japanese as being reticent and shrewd in nature.
Such character branding may take place if the team members are not made aware of the inherent qualities of each other.
Cultural diversity also has a positive impact in the development of teams and the overall development of the organization as the different employees in the collaboration get a change to work with the other individuals, who they would have never worked with, if the collaboration were not there. Positives from the other culture, such as the highly positive quality of the Germans to be well on time and the Perseverance of the Chinese have been well documented.
As the action speaks louder than words; working with such cultures will improve the quality of the local workforce in any country. In the long run, researchers are able to predict that constant usage of collaboration will make everyone in the world more tolerant of each other and bring about some uniformity in the work culture of the people across the world to make them truly global citizens.
6. Debates in Literature
6.1 Debate on Factors affecting Success & Failure of Collaboration
There have been a lot of debate that have been put into the discovery of different factors that affect the success and the failures of collaboration (Horwitz et al, 2006). Looking into the different factors that enable and stimulate the best of the virtual team setup, they are- clarification of the team objectives, use of appropriate technology and formation of the team (Lin et al, 2008).
The first part of the clarification of the different objectives will remove any uncertainty in play, especially if the different team members in the team do not know each other very well. For this the communication is very important.
It is imperative that the communication between the different team members to communicate the goal and the objectives of the team is very important as the first step of team formation. Only by effective communication can all the team members come at one page.
Here the emphasis is on getting through the core idea of the objectives and not in the same way as in a face to face communication. Hertel et al (2006) add that technology acts as the medium in the collaboration and thus the presence of robust technology aids in the good video quality, best audio quality to send and receive messages across different team member. Sub par technology will generate noise in the transmission.
Team formation binds the team stronger improving the team cohesiveness allowing the team to take decisions in a more equivocal and timelier manner (Karayaz, 2006). This will save the company a lot of resources leading to faster decision making.
The factors that lead to the failure of collaboration are the cross cultural differences, languages barrier and the medium of communication. Each person behaves in a way that his or her culture has taught him or her to behave socially. Thus the nature of the interaction and communication of the individuals is as varied as the different cultures that exist in the teams (Jarvenpaa&Leeidner, 1999).
These differences may cause tensions due to conflict. Language barrier may be a major impediment for the team members even if all the team members are speaking in one language. Wells (2006) believes that non native speakers of any language may not be able to convey their thoughts as effectively and their message become weaker in nature. The medium of communication by using voice and video may not be as effective in putting forth an idea as simple face to face communication.