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“How to Build Trust in a Virtual Workplace” by Keith Ferrazzi

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After I read the article “How to Build Trust in a Virtual Workplace” by Keith Ferrazzi, I noticed three challenges that are not mentioned. I think one of the big challenges of virtual workplace that are not mentioned on article is culture as individuality and as an organization. Deal and Kennedy’s (1982) said that Strong cultures can be one of the reasons for a successful organization. There are four important points for that strong culture: values (beliefs and visions), heroes (are people that exemplify an organization’s values) rites and rituals (are the ceremonies to celebrate its values) , and the last, cultural network (newsletters and informal interactions of employees). In the virtual workplace there is not physical contact; this is what makes interactions difficult between employees and employers. Also, this kind of work, people could be from anywhere, of course the team might have a lot different cultures. That culture diversity might create some issues in coordination and even on team work , because people can’t understand or accept those cultural differences. One of the examples is time, to somebody in Brazil it is ok be late fifteen minutes but in American that is not acceptable.

Other example could be the difference culture between Asian employee and American employee. In China, for example, a women has lower power or credibility that a men. Other challenge is manager the team. Virtual workers has a lot freedom and they can work anywhere they are subject a lot distractions. The fact do not have somebody supervision leads to workers relax do not do the job. Also the support to the employees will be more poor compared with a regular work. Have people on team from any part of the world, there are some issues that can happen as time, dates, religion days. The time zone is on aspects that can create problems when schedule meetings, deadlines. For example, to Norfolk to California there is 3 hours difference. If the manager just care about the western time and schedule a team meeting to 9.pm that imply a worker from California have a meeting at midnight. The same can happen with holydays too. One day is holyday in Virginia but that same day is not holyday in Germany, for example. That can lead to unfear feelings, unhappiness. Other challenge that is not mentioned in article is collaboration.

That can go to different ways; the deficiency of technology and the other personality. It is hard to collaborate with somebody that we do not know and that we do not lead physically. It is easier to collaborate when have a relationship, or share same interests, same backgrounds. The trust is one important aspect to teams collaborate. Also a lot times the competitive employees are more than the collaborative employees that compete to the ideas of the projects. Moreover due the cultural diversity employees have different backgrounds, culture expectations, ideals and different standers for life and work. There are a couple things that organizations can do; first it is trying to build the team more characteristics in common as possible, that it will avoid culture problems. Also people will feel more engage each other because has the same backgrounds and interests. Second, it could be doing an event, once a year, for example, where people are together for a couple days doing activists, which will permit the workers meet each other. That only physical appearance could have a lot influence on next work. For the second challenge the managers should have rules, tasks for certain of period with constants feedback. That will help the fact the employees do not nobody to supervision them. Should be clear the employees role.

Also the manager should avoid any kind of equivocality by using assembly rules and communication cycles. Also the organization should save that processes to use on future, Weick call that procedure retention process in ‘which rules and cycles are saved for future organizational use”. That rules and cycle can be reserved in system of causal maps. That will eliminate doubts and equivoques that the employees can have. Also all employees need to have self-control, to be self-discipline and responsibility. Other strategy could be the organization give formation on own employees. For the last challenge, the selection of the team by similarity features and the event every year could help on collaboration too. More employees are engage with each and the organization will lead to more collaboration. The other thing is create a stimulus to promote collaboration, team work. That can be monetary incentives by achieve the team goals. As I said before culture organization has an important role on the success of the organization. It is possible have points of the strong culture. Culture is not unitary (Miller, 2010). Martin (2002) said “that subcultures might emerge around networks of personal contacts or demographic similarity “ (Miller, 2010). also, Marschall lead a study and found “that skilled workers in the internet economy created their own occupational community.

This community – although perhaps divided by geography – shared work practices, ideas about what was important in workplace. ” (Miller, 2010). That shows that select the teams with same characteristic leads to share, collaboration, to interact with each other. That interactions, according Pacanowsky and O’Donnell- Trujillo, is one of essential points of cultural performances, also cultural performances are contextual that are integrated in organization situations and history. Other characteristics are episodic ( distinct events in organization life) and improvisational (communication are improvisational) (Miller, 2010). Pacanowsky and O’Donnell- Trujillo reported that the communication processes can be best conceptualized by those performances. So, for organization, culture will have a big impact on communication. The theory of concertive control explains how power relationships can be transformed in an era of team-based and “alternative form” organization. There are three important concepts: control, identification and discipline. There are 3 different types of control, but what reflects better these situations is Technology control that involves control exerted through technology. The cybernetic systems theory is the theory that best express that situation.

This theory deals with process to reaching system goals. The cybernetic process system has a couple interrelated components. The first is system goal that is the target. The second it is mechanism, that are the processes that help to maintain the system goal. The third is the feedback, which is the information actual that permit to compare with tasks. So, in this situation the manager should define the goal, then the employees sent feedbacks one certain of period of time to understand what is the point, then if the task is not reaching, think about processes ( mechanisms) that will help to reach those tasks. The last challenge is to make the employees to collaborate with each other, the big step for that happen is to have a good social interaction, such as emotional support ( let people know that they are loved and cared for), informal support that “ involves the provision of facts and advice to help an individual cope” , instrumental support that is a support given by the organization (Miller, 2010) . This will avoid burn out but also the employees will feel support by coworkers and by the organization. The employees will be more engage with coworkers and the organization, also they will enjoy more the work environment, and it will influence the collaboration.

In summary, there are three challenges that are not mentioned on the article, such as culture diversity as an individual and culture as organization, next challenge is manager the team, and the last is collaboration. Although there are some measures that organizations can do to minimized these challenges. Select the team by interests, experiences, same geography will help on challenges of culture diversity and collaboration. People with same interesting’s will engage with one another it will avoid the problems of culture diversity such different values, work expectations. Also it is important a good support from employees and organization such as emotional, instrumental and informal support to have a good work environment that it will contribute to a good collaboration. These jobs are subject a lot of distractions and it is not supervision as a regular job is important the mangers define clearly the goal to archive and has the role of each employees really define. Also it is important to have feedback constantly to be sure that the goal will be archived. The better process that translates that is the cybernetic process system. Where system goal is the target and there constantly feedbacks, and if the employees are not achieve the goal, the organization has mechanisms to archive that goal. Durant that process employees will send feedbacks to see if that mechanisms are working or not.


Miller, K. (1999). Organizational communication: Approaches and processes. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub. Co.

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