Browse Publications Technical Papers 2010-36-0342
2010-10-06

Communication Management in Virtual Teams 2010-36-0342

In nowadays automotive market, highlighted by global products, companies are pushed to sell vehicles that comply with legal and customer requirements in different countries and, not unusually, different continents. In order to achieve such challenge, and pressed to reduce project and production costs, companies are spreading design centers around the world, based on regional expertise and lower labor costs. These excellence centers must work together to benefit from synergies and local skills from different regions. Such projects are staffed by Virtual Team, whose members barely face each other. This means teams will work frequently with people they have never met, who live in different time zones and have different cultures. As a consequence, communication is done basically through computer-based media, and must be even clearer and more direct than with the people who work at the next desk. The Communication and Information Technology Revolution that occurred in the last 20 years allowed teams located in different countries and continents to work in parallel and benefit from local advantages. Although the technological advances, people are usually not prepared to work in such way, as well as projects are not adequately structured to be developed in virtual environment. Problems of communication are observed in virtual teams, mainly based on cultural differences and lack of communication management. The present article objects to present how Brazil-based engineering managers see virtual teams' communication and use of computer-based communications tool among virtual team members.

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