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Virtual Teamwork

This course is part of the Wikipedia Portal Project Organizational Behaviour


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Winter Semester 2017/18

Virtual Teamwork



target audience

This course takes place within the framework of the bachelor's degree program iBW of the FH Vorarlberg and is exclusively aimed at the students of this course at the FHV.

The St. Gallen Management Model
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Starting PositionEdit

When talking about a so-called ‘virtual team’ we mean the association of at least two cooperation partners who reside in difference places and/or time zones while working together and who are – for an unknown duration – cooperating for a shared goal with the help of information and communication technology. In our globalised economy it has become more and more standard to implement such virtual teams whose members are involved in common value creation processes while residing in different countries, time zones and cultures. It goes without saying that these teams are relying heavily on communication media like e-mail, phone, phone conferences, web meetings, video conferences and the like. Because of the spatial and/or time distance it is not possible anymore to discuss various topics spontaneously by meeting in the shared office. That’s why a more concrete planning of the processes is necessary. Virtual teams are, as we know, very real and have become – in various forms – a topic in everyday work life. This is the reason why students should be prepared for these new forms of teams who mainly work together with the help of new communication and information tools.

ProcedureEdit

This course will be taught in the German language for part-time students and for full-time students in the English language. It is the aim of this course to facilitate skills in communication, and self-reflection as well as in project management (among others controlling), team work, and academic writing. The course is divided into analogous and digital work phases …

  • In a so-called kick-off-event with compulsory attendance the two lecturers will introduce to all students (full-time + part-time) the topics, contents, and procedures of the course. Furthermore it will be explained how the students shall work with the e-learning platform ILIAS and, they will be informed some folders will open and close at very specific time frames (fixed deadlines!). The lecturers will additionally inform the students about the infrastructure of the course and will introduce the teams in which the students will be working together. It is vital that all students leave the kick-off-event with a clear and precise understanding of the tasks ahead. That’s why all questions shall be posed during the event and not later.
  • In the coming phases of the course students will work (exclusively) independent with each other without any presence of the lecturers. In the middle of December a final meeting of all students and the lecturers will be organised in order to present the results of the tasks. During the semester students will only be able to interact with the lecturers virtually and digitally – details how this is possible will be presented during the kick-off-event.
a) After the kick-off-event students shall independently discuss in their group how they will tackle their tasks, develop a precise plan (work packages with calculation of their time contingent), and take over one of the necessary roles in the group (leadership, documentation, quality management, controlling, IT).
b) Later some of the groups will obtain a technical term from the St. Gallen Management Model, for which they will have to read literature and write a short text (about half a page) in order to explain this specific term. The definition shall be as extensive and well-crafted as necessary so that another group can understand the meaning of this technical term without further research.
c) After the first wave of groups has defined their technical terms, the second wave of groups obtains the definitions of the first groups plus an additional technical term which they have to define and explain (again about half a page). It is important that the two terms are explained in relation to each other and that their relation is obvious and clear to possible readers and to coming groups who have to work with these definitions.
d) After the second wave of groups has finished their definitions, these two definitions will be given to different groups with the task to solve a specific case-study according to the newly learnt terms and definitions.
e) After the case-studies are solved, different groups will again receive all explanations and the solved case-study, from which they have to design and develop a poster which should intuitively explain the terms and the solution for the case-study to non-experts.

It is important to note that in phases a) through e) …

  • … a very strict and firm time schedule is in place because the necessary folders in the ILIAS-system to obtain the terms and to hand in the definitions/solutions are only available during a very specific and short time frame
  • … no group realizes in the beginning which term they will obtain, which terms relate to each other and with which group(s) they will have to work together
  • … only students who have overtaken the role of “leadership” in their respective groups may communicate with the lectures with the help of so-called “speaking times”

• Finally, all posters will be presented in a so-called common market place in the middle of December and students are obliged to hand in a reflection paper about their experiences in the team and with their task.

Grading/PerformanceEdit

Students develop …

  • per team one definition of a specific term of the St. Gallen Management Model and either the solution to a case-study or a poster (Template) in order to present the solution of the case-study
  • an individual reflection paper (Template) in the form of a narration as an individual and subjective discussion about the experienced process/team work in order to learn from this experience

Please note:

  • 80 % of the grade will be determined by the quality of the reflection paper
  • 20 % of the grade will be determined by the by the actual work in the group
  • The team work itself shall function as a way to experience problems, difficulties, and challenges of team work.

Online Task ManagementEdit

Students will use MeisterTask, an intuitive tool for project and task management which helps them to plan their team work and which is free of charge; see:
MeisterTask/task management.

LecturerEdit

ReferencesEdit