BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES FACING VIRTUAL TEAMS

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Experiences with the questionnaire data collection technique: the Lime Survey 2.0+ electronic questionnaire

The Lime Survey 2.0+ electronic questionnaire was selected as the electronic questionnaire data collection instrument. Institutional support from the researcher‘s university was provided at a technical, training, and practical level. However, technical problems were encountered by the responding participants.during both the pilot and empirical studies. The institutional server of the researcher did not function optimally. ―Slowness‖; ―down time‖; ―response rejection‖; and ―early closure of the questionnaire‖ were experienced by some responding participants in both the pilot and empirical studies. In contrast to paper-based questionnaires that participants do not complete, the researcher experienced a different approach of responding participants with the electronic questionnaire. Some of the responding participants, who experienced problems with the Lime Survey 2.0+ electronic questionnaire, contacted the researcher to make the researcher aware of the problems. Some even suggested possible solutions for future usage. The researcher experienced the method of feedback as positive and supportive.

Transferability (applicability)

Silverman (2013) notes that many qualitative studies cannot be generalised, which similarly applies to this empirical study. However, in the nominated sample, a dense and rich description of the data was presented to ensure replicability of the study in a different context to enable transfer of the audit study. Furthermore, under the thematic questions in particular, their are specific notes to the reader on instances of agreement/disagreement between participants‘ experiences and theory. This is also in line with the so-called Kent theory (which falls outside the scope of this study), which may be signal universal application (see Chapter 8). The results of a case study research design are transferable in the sense that researchers « suggest further questions, and future implications » and present the results as « directions and questions » as noted in the last chapter (Barnes, Conrad, Demont-Heinrich, Graziano, Kowalski, Neufeld, Zamora & Palmquist 2012).

Ethicality in the study

The changing research landscape has necessitated ethical regulation and governance (Miller, Mauthner, Birch & Jessop 2012). Ethics are the norms or standards for conduct that distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in research (Resnik 2011) (see section 1.12). Norms promote the aims of research (such as knowledge creation) and standards promote the values that are essential for collaborative work (such as trust) (Resnik 2011) (see section 4.8). Although the research process was stretched over time, this empirical study could only be continued by means of formal Unisa institutional ethical clearance, which was obtained in June 2012. During the different stages of the study, the strategies outlined were followed in an attempt to ensure that the process was ethical (Saunders et al 2012:236):  During formulation and clarification of the research topic, the researcher recognised that knowledge sharing would be a great risk to the companies in the sample, since it formed part of their competitiveness strategy, and their names, would; therefore, be kept anonymous to protect and respect their privacy against possible harm.

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EXPLANING THE METHOD OF DATA ANALYSIS

In line with the research question, the researcher was interested in understanding the best practices of in the functioning of effective of virtual team members in their natural context in the particular way in which they normally function: electronically as suggested by Gibbs (2007:xi). Data analysis refers to the transformation of collected data through analytical procedures to gain insight and clarity, in an attempt to reply to the research question as suggested by Gibbs (2007:1). The data obtained in the response to the research question are regarded as the texts (‗‘response of participants‘‘) for the empirical study as suggested by (Gibbs 2007:2). In analysing the text of the empirical study, the kinds of data followed from the information obtained from the participants:  The first data source resulted from choices participants could make from a list of possible responses such as those in question OD3.  The second source was from responses on long and short text such as those in question OT4 (Gibbs 2007:3).

EXPLANATING THE METHOD OF INTERPRETATION

After the data, categories and themes were analysed, the researcher offered an integrative understanding of what was observed. Interpretation serves to bring ―meaning and coherence to the findings‖. This clarification of what has been learnt serves to make sense of the connection of the ―themes, patterns categories‖, context units and responses in the empirical study (Marshall & Rossman 2011:219). The responses of the participants were considered in terms of their ―usefulness‖ and ―significance‖ (Marshall & Rossman 2011:219). All responses, which provided information not linked to ―participant chooses not to respond‖, were valued as useful. If any response was repeated or similar meaning attached to it more than once, it was deemed to have theoretical sufficiency (not saturation, since people’s explanation of their experiences would be subjective) and labelled as a context unit which contributed to significance (Marshall & Rossman 2011:220).

TABLE OF CONTENT :

  • PREFACE
  • DECLARATION
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
  • SUMMARY
  • KEY TERMS:
  • LIST OF TABLES
  • LIST OF FIGURES
  • CHAPTER 1 RESEARCH ORIENTATION
    • 1.1. INTRODUCTION
    • 1.2. BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE
    • 1.2.1 The overall business challenge
    • 1.3. SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
    • 1.4. PROBLEM INVESTIGATED
    • 1.5. RESEARCH AIM AND ARGUMENT FOR THIS STUDY
    • 1.6. RESEARCH OBJECTIVE
    • 1.6.1 Primary research objective
    • 1.6.2 Secondary research objectives
    • 1.7. RESEARCH QUESTION
    • 1.8. RESEARCH DESIGN
    • 1.8.1 Research approach
    • 1.8.2 Delimitations and assumptions of the study
    • 1.9. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
    • 1.9.1 Theoretical Conceptualisation
    • 1.9.2 Research scope
    • 1.9.3 Data collection
    • 1.10. DATA ANALYSIS
    • 1.11 INTERPRETATION
    • 1.12 RESEARCH ETHICS
    • 1.13 EDITING AND REFERENCING
    • 1.13.1 Editing
    • 1.13.2 Referencing
    • 1.14. CHAPTER LAYOUT
    • 1.15 CHAPTER SUMMARY
  • CHAPTER 2 MAPPING THE VIRTUAL TEAM LANDSCAPE
    • 2.1 INTRODUCTION
      • 2.1.1 Purpose of mapping the virtual landscape
    • 2.2 BACKGROUND
      • 2.2.1 THE NEED FOR VIRTUAL TEAMS
      • 2.2.2 Virtual teaming in context with other organisational designs
      • 2.2.3 Virtual team description
    • 2.3 HISTORY OF VIRTUAL TEAMS
      • 2.3.1 Period: Virtual team trivium – the origins of virtual teams and the development of theory until
    • 2.3.2 Period: virtual team renaissance – the development of virtual teams into a significant organisational design: 2000 to
    • 2.3.3 Period: the sustainability era – the integration and alignment of virtual teams within the greater networking system of organisations beyond
    • 2.4 BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES FACING VIRTUAL TEAMS
      • 2.4.1 Benefits of virtual teams
      • 2.4.2 Challenges facing virtual teams
    • 2.5 TYPES OF VIRTUAL TEAMS
    • 2.6 MEASUREMENTS OF TEAM EFFECTIVENESS
    • 2.7 CHAPTER CONCLUSION
  • CHAPTER 3 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR VIRTUAL TEAMS
    • 3.1 INTRODUCTION
    • 3.2 PURPOSE THEME
      • 3.2.1 Mutual areas of purpose positioning in face-to-face teams and virtual team
      • 3.2.2 Formulation of strategy and setting of team direction to obtain a sustainable competitive advantage
      • 3.2.3 Purpose theme element: The type of worker likely to work in a virtual team
      • 3.2.4 Purpose theme element: relationship between innovation and knowledge work in virtual teams regarding purpose
      • 3.2.5 Purpose theme synthesis
    • 3.3 PROCESS THEME
      • 3.3.1 Process theme element: Team facilitation
      • 3.3.2 Process theme element: Process alignment
      • 3.3.3 Process theme element: Team structure
      • 3.3.4 Process theme element: Virtual team performance and reward management
      • 3.3.5 Process theme synthesis
    • 3.4 PEOPLE THEME
      • 3.4.1 People theme element: Team selection – Talent Management
      • 3.4.2 People theme element: Virtual team culture and socialisation
      • 3.4.3 People theme element: Building commitment, trust and managing conflict in the virtual team relationship
      • 3.4.4 People theme element: Communication, collaboration and engagement
      • 3.4.5 People theme synthesis
    • 3.5 TECHNOLOGY THEME
      • 3.5.1 Theoretical foundation of technology in teams
      • 3.5.2 Technology theme element: Location – Workspace versus workplace of virtual teams
      • 3.5.3 Technology theme element: Selection – Software and platforms used for virtual team communication
      • 3.5.4 Technology theme element: Training – Knowledge and skills development
      • 3.5.5 Technology theme element: Security and risk management
      • 3.5.6 Technology theme synthesis
    • 3.6 CHAPTER CONCLUSION
  • CHAPTER 4 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
    • 4.1 INTRODUCTION
    • 4.2 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY OVERVIEW
    • 4.3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
    • 4.4 RESEARCH APPROACH
      • 4.4.1 Qualitative research
      • 4.4.2 Research Philosophy
    • 4.5 RESEARCH DESIGN
      • 4.5.1 Case study
    • 4.6 RESEARCH CONTEXT
      • 4.6.1 Complexity dimensions in the technology industry
      • 4.6.2 POPULATION AND SAMPLE
    • 4.7 DATA GATHERING PROCESS
      • 4.7.1 Negotiation of organisational access
      • 4.7.2 Informed consent
      • 4.7.3 The right to self-determination
      • 4.7.4 Data collection instrument
    • 4.8 MEASUREMENT
      • 4.8.1 Credibility (Trustworthiness)
      • 4.8.2 Transferability
      • 4.8.3 Dependability
      • 4.8.4 Confirmability
    • 4.9 PRE-TESTING OF QUESTIONNAIRE
    • 4.10 DATA ANALYSIS
      • 4.10.1 Content analysis guiding questions
      • 4.10.2 Steps of data analysing technique
    • 4.11 INTERPRETATION OF RESULTS
    • 4.12 CHAPTER CONCLUSION
  • CHAPTER 5 PILOT STUDY – PRE-TESTING OF QUESTIONNAIRE
  • CHAPTER 6 MAKING SENSE OF THE DATA: DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF RESULTS
  • CHAPTER 7 PRESENTATION OF PARTICIPANTS’ RESPONSES, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF INFORMATION

GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
A FRAMEWORK FOR BEST PRACTICES IN THE FUNCTIONING OF EFFECTIVE VIRTUAL TEAMS IN ORGANISATIONS WITHIN THE TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY OF SOUTH AFRICA

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