Discussion: The Appropriate Technologies

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Discussion: The Appropriate Technologies

Discussion: The Appropriate Technologies

34 C. Saunders, C. Slyke, and D. R. Vogel, “My Time or Yours? Managing Time Visions in Global Virtual Teams,” Academy of Management Executive 18, no. 1 (2004), 19–31.

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c04.indd 93 11/26/2015 7:16:45 PM
94 Digital Systems and the Design of Work

be especially useful. In contrast, team members from India often have a cyclical view of time. They do not get excited about deadlines and there is no hurry to make a decision because it is likely to cycle back—at which time the team member may be in a better position to make the decision. Many people from India tend to be polychronic, preferring to do several activities at one time. Team members who are polychronic may benefit from having instant messaging or instant video chats available to them so that they can communicate with their teammates and still work on other tasks.35

In addition to providing the appropriate technologies, managers with team members who have different views of time need to be aware of the differences and try to develop strategies to motivate those who are not concerned with deadlines to deliver their assigned tasks on time. Or the managers may wish to assign these team members to do tasks that are not sensitive to deadlines.

Of course, views of time are only one dimension of diversity. Although team diversity has been demonstrated to lead to more creative solutions, it can also make it harder for team members to learn to communicate, to trust one another, and to form a single group identity. Through open communications, managers may be able to uncover and deal with other areas of diversity, such as culture, training, gender, personality, position, and language, that positively or negatively affect the team.36 Managers may establish an expertise directory at the start of the team’s life or encourage other ways of getting team members to know more about one another. The rule of thumb here is to not assume a team will work just because it has been created by management. Specific thought must be giving to helping the team members function together and embrace, rather than reject, the differences diversity brings to the table.

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