Kauppatieteellinen tiedekunta, 2017
Johtaminen ja organisaatiot
Master's Degree Programme in International Business
Due to the globalization multinational companies (MNCs) are forming their operations to match the global markets. This means that more teams are starting to use virtual team structures to ensure that they have the right resources in use, at the correct place when needed. These teams can vary between project groups that have only few persons to larger teams that include tens of employees. When a larger team operates in a virtual environment it is likely that subgroups are formed inside the teams either by the management or by the employees based on their personal preferences. This creates additional challenges compared to the regular face to face team and these challenges are investigated further in this research.
To investigate these challenges this thesis addresses one main research question with two main subquestions and one questions regarding the managerial implications. The main question investigates how the subgroups are affecting the team that operates in a virtual form. Sub-questions are then focusing on the benefits and disadvantages that these formations can have to the team as well as the supporting and dismantling factors that are affecting the operations with these formations at the target team. The managerial implications are then built on the last research question that aims to investigate how these formations can be used to the teams advantage.
Qualitative research methods with the semi-structured interview and action research were used in order to find out what are the theoretically acclaimed factors that affect the target team and then further investigate how the effects of these factors can be seen in a daily work. Eventually, the main focus was put on teams, virtual teams and subgroup structures and how they affect the communication, tasks, roles, knowledge of the workload and the goals and vision. All interviewees are working at the target organization and have a deep knowledge of the operations in a global MNC using both face to face and virtual team formation.
Data was analysed through the research questions dividing the results into main segments. The results indicate that while the target team still has challenges in their operations and the virtual environment has additional factors that MNC must consider while using the virtual team formations, the main influencing factor is still the employees.
Global team, Virtual team, International business, Management, Subgroup management, Silo structures, Boundary spanners, Dual identity