New product innovation is an important contributor to high-tech business success, and globalization has resulted in corporate employment of qualified technical and management experts wherever they are located, made possible by changes such as the availability of diverse forms of electronically assisted communication. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of first and second level leaders of high-tech innovation programs as their roles evolved from leading fully collocated to global virtual teams. An empirical phenomenological methodology was used to conduct 19 interviews and one focus group with current and former lower level leaders to explore how their roles and their behaviors have changed, including managing the complexities of cross-cultural and time zone differences. The study was intended to specifically explore leaders' behaviors, establishing team norms including team forming, innovation processes, and how these differed for leading a collocated and a global virtual team. The study results concluded the four major themes of change included communication, managing employees, managing work/ assignments, and life impacts, and all areas were affected to some degree by complexities of cultural and country differences and by accommodating distance and time zone differences. Communication was found to be of increased importance for a global virtual team, including accommodating cultural preferences, alignment of the meaning and use of specific terms, increased frequency and regular use of electronic and voice communication methods. The work of managing employees, including building and maintaining social relationships, was significantly greater when the team included global virtual employees. Innovation processes needed to be more clearly specified and communicated, but the fundamental processes were not modified for global virtual or fully collocated teams engaged in similar innovation activities. The most notable impacts were learning to adapt to cultural and personal preferences of remote employees, the need for increased and diverse forms of communication, the importance of social relationships, and the invasiveness on work/life balance resulting from maintaining regular contact with employees many time zones distant.
|Subjects||Management; Occupational psychology|
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