This artifact explores a burgeoning Educational Technology concern: leadership in a digital environment. It begins with an investigation into attributes of an ideal virtual leader and ends with effective strategies leaders can employ to promote successful team experiences. Throughout this research paper are various examples of my ability to transfer theoretical concepts into concrete strategies. The paper contains detailed explanations of five major content concerns that virtual teams face and concludes with a discussion that highlights avenues for further exploration.
Because my professional and academic background has incorporated routine reporting of empirical research, I am no stranger to describing research methods throughout the course of a paper. Even so, it was an adjustment to move into a field with significantly less use of controlled studies than I am used to. By the time I made it through my Master's degree, however, I was much more accustomed to the style of research typical in the ID field and more comfortable describing it, which is demonstrated in the following excerpts.
“Teleworkers experience greater engagement due to enhanced connectivity, faster-paced work environments, and reduced exhaustion, which Brummelhuis, Bakker, Hetland and Keulemans (2012) observed was partially attributed to increased control over availability to coworkers” (Nagy, 16, p.3).
“In their exhaustive review of relevant literature up to the early 2000s, Hertel, Geister and Konradt (2005) proposed that mentoring and coaching are better models for virtual team leadership” (Nagy, 2016, p. 4).
Our technological world changes rapidly, and with it, the way virtual teams interact and operate changes too. Appraising the validity of sources used throughout this paper—especially those published outside of the last decade—was a distinct challenge. When I was met with opposing viewpoints I had to ask myself, ‘Do these researchers disagree or are they simply working under a different paradigm of what technology can provide?’ In those areas where I was able to determine it was disagreement, I presented both sides of the argument and allowed the reader to choose the side that is most applicable to their situation (e.g., Nagy, 2016, pg.7, “Communication and Trust Building”).
Any online student can tell you the trials associated with group work. It was out of that perspective that I sought to gain insight into virtual team functioning at a corporate level.
While part of the research involved for this paper was uncovering those unique challenges virtual teams face, an important component was also providing concrete solutions that can be implemented practically. I would say that most of this paper is compiled by real-world suggestions for optimal team performance, whether it’s tips for how best to choose team members (p. 6), using personal information repositories to promote trust (p. 9), or how to run an effective meeting (p.11) (Nagy, 2016).
Brummelhuis, L. L., Bakker, A. B., Hetland, J. & Keulemans, L. (2012). Do new ways of working foster work engagement? Psicothema, 24(1), 113-120.
Hertel, G., Geister, S. & Konradt, U. (2005). Managing virtual teams: A review of current empirical research. Human Resource Management Review, 15, 69-95. doi:10.1016/j.hrmr.2005.01.002
Nagy, S. (2016). Integrating Features of Constructivism into Emergency Preparedness ExercisesIn Virtually Simulated Environments. [Research Paper].