Use of E-Mail in Global Virtual Team: a Field Research 2012-36-0364
In nowadays market, highlighted by global products, companies are pushed to sell products 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. These excellence centers must work together to benefit from synergies and local skills from different regions. Such projects are staffed by Virtual Team (BINDER, 2007), whose members barely face each other. This means teams will work frequently with people they have never met, who live on different time zones and have different cultures. As a consequence, communication is done basically through computer-based media, mainly based on emailing, and must be even clearer and more direct than with the people who work on the next desk. The Communication and Information Technology Revolution occurred in the last 20 years allowed teams allocated in different countries and continents to work in parallel and benefit from local advantages. Although the technological advances, it might believed people are not correctly prepared to work in such way, as well as projects might be not adequately structured to be developed in virtual environment. Problems of communication through e-mail are observed in virtual teams, mainly based on cultural differences and lack of communication management. Understanding the difference among members, and improving the way people use emails is a key factor for efficient communication in a global project. The present article, an extract from a Master of Science Thesis single case study about communication in a global new vehicle project, presents how e-mailing is felt by team members spread in three continents.