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1. Communication barriers that negatively impact team success
1.1 Conflicting schedules and geographic locations

While development in technology is creating an environment where effective communication among team members is more feasible, several problems arise from working with team members throughout the world, (Bradley, et. al., 2002). One of the main challenges that team members from other geographic locations face is the difficultly scheduling. This can make conducting meetings very challenging (Bradley, et. al., 2002). For example, even though video conferencing options such as Skype is making it easier to communicate with people from throughout the globe, it can be exceedingly difficult to time the conferences so that everyone on the team is able to attend. This problem is magnified when various time zones are involved. The more members who are on the team, the more challenging it can be, and this virtual method poses another significant problem: lack of engagement.

1.1.1. Problem

One of the primary problems that arises from team communication is overcoming the feeling of isolation from the team, which leads to a lack of engagement. This is becoming a progressively a worse problem due to the fact that more teams are virtual and there is often little time to connect with the various team members. Isolation can also become an issue even when the members of the team are in the same geographic area. This is because they are often communicating over email, rather than meeting in person or talking over the phone, (Bradley et. al., 2002). Telecommunication is a departure from the traditional workspace, which facilitated more relationship building, and could lead to improved morale among team members. According to Kirkman Bradley et. al. in “Five Challenges to virtual team success: Lessons from Sabre, Inc,” the researchers explain that working with teams in the modern era can be challenging on morale. “Many researchers and practitioners are concerned that high-quality relationships may be particularly difficult to achieve in teams in which team members are geographically dispersed” (Bradley, et. al., 2002).

1.1.2. Analysis

The lack of person-to-person contact in teams will likely lead to decreased productivity among team members. The major issue that faces those working on teams, whether they live in the same community or in countries on opposite sides of the world, is overcoming the barrier that is often created in a virtual team environment. This feeling of isolation will often make each member of the team feel less passionate about the team project.

1.1.3. Solution

When members of the team feel isolated and disengaged, it is up to the team leaders to devise ways for each member of the team to feel more connected with the work. This can be done in several ways. Part of the reason why people feel more engaged in a work setting is because they gain satisfaction by working alongside team members (Communicating, 2001). This bonding makes the team members want to continue with the project. In order to create that same type of reward system, team leaders should ensure they are providing other types of rewards (Communicating, 2001). This could be in the form of monetary rewards, or the knowledge knowing that the member of the team is doing something good for society. People are most effective at working when they are receiving something in return, and an awards-based system can help compensate for the lack of reward they feel by working in-person with a team. Another type of reward could be team functions, such as dinners or nights out at a bowling alley.

Social media could also play a key role in improving the team bonding, by having a dialogue on Facebook, for example. A project idea could be mentioned on the social networking site, and this could stimulate conversation with each member of the team. Furthermore, each member will be able to view each other’s profiles, and this could result in them feeling more connected. Sites like Facebook are effective ways to get to know other people on the team.

While technology has greatly improved the ability of people to communicate with each other from great distances, it has also weakened interpersonal communication. Ultimately, technology has done more good than harm in teamwork, because it has created an environment where working with someone on the other side of the planet is not much of a challenge. The only main concern with teams is the disconnect among team members who live in the same community. However, as the reader has seen, proper leadership can improve team integration.

Works Cited

Bradley, et. al. (2002). Five challenges to virtual team success: Lessons from Sabre, Inc. Academy of Management Executive. Retrieved from

“Communicating with virtual project teams/creating successful virtual organizations – virtual       communication.” (2001). Harvard Management Communication Letter. Retrieved from

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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