We. And the others. : How leaders can bridge the gap in dispersed organizations and partially distributed teams.
This student thesis in General Management addresses how leaders can bridge the gap between work groups and teams in geographically dispersed organizations and partially distributed teams. These types of organizational structures are increasingly common in the globalized world of business, and bring benefits to many organizations by for example connecting skilled workers regardless of their location through the means of information and communications technology. However, previous research within the field of work in dispersed settings has identified several challenges that these settings entail, including areas like for example group cohesion and motivation. If not handled, these challenges may have negative effects on team performance and organizational effectiveness. Previous studies have mostly targeted the challenges in isolation. The purpose of this study is to provide a holistic perspective, connecting different challenges in order to pinpoint reasons and effects. By identifying consequences that follow from being geographically dispersed and investigating how the challenges affect a real-world organization, the study aims to suggest countermeasures to deal with these consequences.
Theory is built using Informed Grounded Theory, based on primary data from 21 in-depth interviews conducted at a Swedish high tech company. Through an analysis combining the primary data with secondary data stemming from relevant literature, the study presents conclusions including suggested countermeasures to overcome challenges imposed by work in dispersed settings. The study identifies communication as the key factor with possibility to affect group cohesion and motivation directly, and thereby also performance indirectly. Thoughtful use of different types of communication can in fact counteract challenges and lead to increased productivity and well-being. The study has implications for organizations that are planning for, or currently utilizing a dispersed organizational structure, and aids in understanding the collected effects of the challenges involved. The study is conducted at one company, which can be seen as a limitation. To counteract for this limitation, the researchers have put in effort to emphasize generalizable factors.
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