Case Study- A Virtual Team at Nanawati Associates
The case is about a group that functions as a team in Nanwati Associates. Nanawati Associates is a tax accounting firm which deals in the tax preparation services for the individuals. They have a reputation of providing high quality services and advices to the clients. Their key to this reputation is the art of computer databases and analysis tools that the employees use while counselling the clients on their matters. These programs and database are prepared by highly qualified individuals.
These programs are highly technical in terms of the tax law which in covers and the code in which they are written. Updating these programmes requires high levels of programming skills as well as the ability to recognise the law. Change in laws and the interpretation of the present laws have to be integrated into the database quickly and correctly. These programs are created by the virtual programmers. They work in a group of four from Mumbai. The group members work from home and are connected through by emails, phone and conference software to each other and to the company. Formally these programmers meet at the company meeting although informally they meet outside of these scheduled occasions.
Ravi tendulkar is a tax lawyer. Along with this designing responsibility, he has key link with the associates. He trains the new team members. Aditya is a tax accountant and computer science graduate. Nitya is a tax lawyer and susan, a tax accountant. These four members exchange email messages many times a day. Usually these emails are work based, they are always ready for a helping hand to each others. These members are so bounded that they even have get together with families. All these members are told that they can work from wherever they want.
These programmers created a programming tool called macros which helped them work more efficiently when had to make some major changes in the program. These macros enhanced the speed at which a change could be written to the programs. From this group aditya was good at hacking with the macros which ultimately helps him to work better. On a recent project, aditya created some shortcuts for the program which saved him a lot of time, which he told to Ravi after a week, which help him too.
The associates have an employee suggestion program for its employees for their innovation for the company of saving its money. They also have profit sharing program for the same. The program gives five percent of the saving generated by their innovation over a period of three months. But they decided not to share the innovation with the company since it would give them time for leisure and they even feared that one from their group may loss their job because it would only allow three to do the work of four. As they were entering into their busy season of work they shared this innovation with the other members to help them from heavy workload and swore them to secrecy.
After several months passed, Karan Kohli, an in house manger picked up on the innovation. He started noticing that the production time has gone down while the quality work has gone up. Evidently he happens to see a mail from Nitya to Aditya for his great help to the team. So Karan decides to talk to Ravi about it but he didn’t receive any answer from him and he didn’t report to his manager since productivity and quality of the work was increasing.
But once aditya boasted about the innovation to another virtual work team and the scenes went out of control. Therefore Karan asked Aditya directly about the matter and Aditya had to tell everything about the innovation but he insisted the teams actions had been justified to protect itself. He knew that he have to be answerable to his boss.
In this Case study, the group of four programmers work effectively as a team, though the team members did hide the innovation that they had found for their team which helped them save time and be more productive and it never intended make any loss to the company. They wanted all well for their team and they never wanted their team to suffer because of the innovation. Though it will save time and money to the company but ultimately it may divide their team and the synergy would have lost if that happened. They shared the innovation with the other member in the team so that they can also save during the busy season of their job so that they would feel the burden on them. This shows the coordination of a team that doesn’t exist in a group. This group works as a team which ultimately benefits the company with more productivity and quality of programs created to the company, with happy clients who are given quality works.
This group can be said as a team since the members in this team have coordinated their efforts in achieving the objectives given to them. They understand and help the other members to perform their job well so that they are complete the task. When Aditya made an innovation with the short cut the program, it was shared with the other members in the team so that their burden was lowered. If he could have given this the company then must have money out of it. But he thought about the team and then himself. Therefore this group can certainly said as a team.
Talking about being ethical in the case study. No one is ethical here. Everybody is correct in their own point of view. Aditya and Ravi hide the innovation from the company so that they could help the other team members not to suffer from their job. Others could have lost their job if they would have given it to the company since a company would only see to reduce its cost to the company. Karan on the other hand was also ethical because, when he found that the productivity and quality were up and though it is because of a innovation which is been secretly used. He decided not to pursue further in this matter, because anyways the company wasn’t making any loss. So it was fair. Karan can now talk to the manager about the situation that has happened, explain both the sides and explain that there is no fault of the team members, they just did it help the team members.
2. Dysfunctional Individuals
There are some individuals in the organisation which are unable to perform well group or team. These find it difficult to adjust themselves in the activities. They believe that they perform better only when they work as an individual. There can be many reason why an individuals finds it difficult in a group. The following are the reasons for some individual being dysfunctional in an organisation:
Trust: trust is the most important attribute in a team, only with which a team could survive in the organisation. The team as a whole is build upon the trust among the team members. Without the trust between the team, the organisation will find it difficult to achieve the organisational goal. Trust is the most key factor which every individual in the team always requires so as to increase the performance in the organisation.
Fear of conflict: the fear of conflict comes from the lack of trust in the team members, the members feels that the suggestions made or questions asked to lower the individual in the team or group. The individual should feel free to express their opinion in a team then only a team will be able to understand the pros and cons that exist in a team.
Lack of commitment: the lack of commitment among the members is difficult and hard situation. This is created due to the lack of trust, they feel that they are not important in the group since they are not hears and told about any decision made. Its just imposed on them. These members work in a team but the ultimate end result will be the satisfactory one.
Accountability: The group members are not ready take up the responsibility of the work or the activity which they have done for the organisation. Here only the blaming works between the members. Here the member only talks about the problems in the team and none tries to correct these problems.
Inattention to results: this happens due to the lack of commitment and accountability. The individuals here hide the problems faced by the team and function as if there wasn’t any problem. An outsider will always feel that the team is functioning well. This type of attitude of a team helps understand that it’s dysfunctional.
It is very important to convert the dysfunctional team into function effectively. This is a great challenge for the company and its manager. But they have to keep certain facts in mind that these employees should be taken care. They should be trained before bringing them into the work. The recommendations are as follows:
Trust: management should help build a trust among the employees to the management so that are willing to take up the risk of doing a project in the organisation. The risk includes the responsibility and the aim or objective it has to reach. This trust will help the management to retain quality and hardworking employees in the organisation. The employees working in team should be made comfortable in the team and trust should be developed within them.
Training: These employees should be given training for them to develop their ability to work in group. The motivational training will be helpful in making them work with the team. These training should be given until these individual doesn’t make any change in their attitude to work with others.
Clearly defined objective: Unclear objectives can also be a reason for them not to work in team. Therefore the individual in team should be made clear of their individual objectives to be performed. A clear goal, communicate well creates excitement and interest to work. This automatically makes the individual accountable for their work.
Small groups: the group should be formed of small number so that the every member of the team is given attention. The activities of each individual have to notice so that they should feel left out from the team.
Common purpose: the objective or the purpose given to the team should common. That’s the reason why the team exists. Putting the individuals without any set and common goal is the biggest mistake of the company.
Mutually accountable: the members of the team should be made mutually accountable for every activity of them, even if it is a mistake or success. Only one should be held responsible for it.
Common working approach: the working approach of the individual should be the same else different people using different methods of doing work will create chaos in the team.
A Group is that interacts initially to share the information and to make decisions to help each other to perform within his or her area of responsibility. There is no need for a work group to engage themselves in a collective work which requires their joint efforts. So the group’s performance is decided upon the summation of the group member’s individual work. There doesn’t exist any positive synergy that builds a performance as whole which is greater than the sum their input. Whereas a team is that creates synergy through coordination in their efforts. Here the level of individual of performance is greater than the sum of individual input. Now a day’s organisations have started working as team which brings the positive synergy in them, which increases the performance of the organisation. This synergy the potential to the organisation by generating greater output with less input by the employees.
There are four types of teams basically, which can do variety of things. These teams can provide services, coordinate projects, make decisions, offer advices to the team members and negotiate deals. The four teams are: 1) Problem solving teams, 2) Self managed work teams, 3) Cross functional teams and 4) Virtual teams.
3.1 Problem Solving Teams: A group of employees from the same department who meet with each other for few hours weekly to discuss the way to improve the quality, efficiency and the work environment. Usually this team doesn’t have the authority to implement their decisions.
3.2 Self managed work teams: Group of people who work highly well and take over the responsibilities of the former supervisor in the organisations.
3.2 Cross functional teams: This refers to the group where people from the same hierarchy but from different work areas come together to accomplish a single task in the organisation.
3.3 Virtual Teams: A group that use technology to stay in connection with the others members in order to achieve a common goal of the organisation. These team works from wherever they wish to since this have already discussed with the management by the employees.
(Stephen P Robbins (2005), Organisational Behavior, 11th Edition, United States, Pearson Prentice Hall, 259-263)
A lot of individuals frequently use the word group and team interchangeably, but there is a lot of difference in two in the corporate world. Often we have heard the importance of team building the leadership classes. The major difference they are: the strength of the team depends on the truth that the members of a team have the resemblance in the function and there is an interconnectivity between the individual members and for the group, they are larger in number and their strength is accessed from the fact that they are willing to execute the commands of the leader. It is easier to form a group than a team for example; a number of professional are different from dividing them in genders and age etc. Therefore, it is easier to form a group based on characteristics to come, but the effectiveness of different groups are not the same.
Interpersonal differences between individuals may vary from good compatibility with other largely complete reservation levels, the interpersonal dynamics of a team can make compromises within the group even in tough and difficult situations.
It is very difficult to form a team with different members of the team is selected on the basis of the corresponding properties rather than their similarities. For example, consider a company team that is composed of practitioners, vendors, manager, supervisor, executive producers. Therefore, the different team members have a common goal, but different work to be done and the overall achievement depends on the effectiveness of different interpersonal traits. As such there is not much room for conflict between members of a team.
The individuals in a team contribute a lot to the company for it to achieve the ultimate common goal. The team members take active participation in the work assigned to them so that it is completed in a successful manner. They highly make contribution to the company considering the other members in the team. They help out other members in bring successful result for the company. The team has a synergy that creates potential to the organisation by generating greater output with less input by the employees.
In the case, the programmers contributed for their work equally in the team and as a team contributed their efforts to make new program and update the existing program so that the employees in the office can give the clients the proper guidance to their problems.
5. Motivation and rewards
Motivation is a process that represents the intensity of an individual, management and persistence of efforts to achieve a goal. While generally motivation is concerned with the efforts towards any goal. The company has to motivate the employees so that they are encouraged to work for the organisation. The employees should feel they are been listened by the company. They should feel important in the company. Motivation in an individual is an important factor which helps the individual to stand long for the organisation. The high performing employees should be rewarded by the company so that they are motivated.
Every individual wants achievement, power, and affiliation. These are the three needs that the individuals look for from the company. There are other basic needs like physiological, safety, social, esteem, self actualisation which every individual want in life.
Here in the case, The Company had a program to motivate the employee to make innovative plans and create new ideas so that the employees can bring creative idea that reduces the company’s efforts. The company had programs like employee suggestion program that rewards employees for their innovations that save the company money and time. This program gives a employee five percent of the savings generated by the company over period of three months. They also had a profit sharing plan with the employees.
6. Role of individual
Every individual have different roles in an organisation and each and every one is important for the organisations success. No organisation can deny this fact as every employee the upper management to the lower level employee counts for the organisational goal to be achieved.
In the case, these individuals as a programmer played important role in the team. They create new macros to enhance the speed so that the programs can be written. These team members worked in coordination with each other without any complaints among them. They always helped each other when they were in some difficult situation or when they find it difficult to complete a task due to specific reasons.
The management in an organisation should be supportive to the employee. They should communicate the decisions that are made to their subordinates from time to time so that these decision are been implemented at the right time in the organisation. The management in the organisation have a great responsibility of dealing with the employees. Employees should feel free to say their opinion to the management. The management should motivate the employees for their good work.
Here in the case, though the management didn’t have any roles. But the management has introduced good motivation programs for the employees to bring up with their innovative idea to the company. They have even created virtual team so that the employees can work from anywhere they want for the company. They conducted meeting for the virtual members to meet up with the work in the organisation.
The basic foundation to the leadership is trust. If the trust is lost from the leader then the employee will never follow them. There are different type of trust in organisational leadership: deterrence based trust, which is based on fear of reprisal if the trust is violated by the individual, know ledged based trust, which is based on behavioural predictability that comes from a history of interaction, identification based trust, which is based on a mutual understanding of each other’s intentions and appreciation of the other’s intention’s and appreciation of the others wants and desire. A leader is a person who is a mentor to his fellows. He guides, inspires and transforms them. He is one who directs the ambitions of the individuals towards the ambition of the company.
(Stephen P Robbins (2005), Organisational Behavior, 11th Edition, United States, Pearson Prentice Hall, 337-338)
In the case, Ravi acts as a leader in the team who is the senior most and the trainer to others. He had the responsibility to safe guard his team from suffering. If the company would know about the innovation then they definitely remove a member from the team to save the company money. Therefore they hide the innovation from the management.
9. Group Structure, Goals and Objective
Working groups have the structure, forms of behaviour and allows users to explain and predict a large proportion of individual behaviour and group performance of the group.
Goals and objectives are the one because of which the companies and organisation exist. These goals are of different sort but everyone work to achieve the single goal of the organisation. These goals are the primary factors which employees in the organisation need to remember and also work for. There are three types of goals, long term, mid term and short term goals for the organisation.
In the case, the programmers had to develop quality program on tax preparation service. They had to update the database of the tax laws. They had to make interpretations of the new and the existing regulations and the analysis tools. These were the goals of the programmers.
10. SWOT analysis of the case study
- The work group worked as a Team in the organisation. They have coordination and understanding among the members.
- Quality programs and computer database in the organisation.
- Update technology used in the organisation.
- Highly trained programmers
- Employee suggestion program for the innovative ideas for the company.
- Macros, the programming tools which had to be developed for every program.
- High reputation of the associates in the market.
- Emerging organisations and individual for their tax preparation services.
- Changing regulation on tax
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