Exploring the Relationship Between Mode of Operation and Performance of Support Teams in Telecommunication Companies

Exploring the Relationship Between Mode of Operation and Performance of Support Teams in Telecommunication Companies

Oussama Saafein (School of Advanced Studies, University Of Phoenix, Mountain House, CA, US)
DOI: 10.4018/ijcrmm.2014010104


Whereas previous studies have attempted to investigate the correlation between mode of operation (virtual versus face-to-face) and team performance, these studies have been primarily focused on project management and distance learning. However, few studies, if any, have addressed the performance of virtual teams carrying complex technical support tasks in telecommunication companies. The primary proposition of the study that there is a relationship between team performance (comprised of three factors, namely, goals achievement, customer satisfaction, and team health) and the mode of operation was tested. A secondary proposition that team size has a significant effect on the relationship between the mode of operation and support team performance was tested also. One hundred twenty support professionals working for telecommunication companies based in California's Silicon Valley completed web-based surveys, which offered data on support operations in virtual and face-to-face settings and assessment of teams' performance in each setting. Whereas the findings indicated correlations between the mode of operation and the three factors of support team, further analysis indicated weak linear relationships among the variables. In addition, data analysis failed to support a significant effect of team size on the relationships between mode of operation and the three measures of support team performance.
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Literature Review

The shift toward nontraditional mode of operation, namely virtual mode, has introduced dramatic changes that the structures of almost all industries have been altered (Kroenke, 2011). This has resulted in the development of a new global economy that allowed virtual teams to collaborate and communicate instantly regardless of their physical locations (Nydegger & Nydegger, 2010). Whereas virtual teams have various advantages over traditional face-to-face teams such as the ability to overcome the challenges of time, space, and organizational attachment, they also face challenges that their traditional counterparts do not have to deal with.

The immense influence of the shift toward virtualization on global economy and the need to understand virtual teams and challenges they face has increased scholars and practitioners’ interest in virtual teams (O'Leary & Cummings, 2007). Child and McGrath (2001) highlighted four of these challenges that virtual teams face as follows:

  • 1.

    Interdependence and the ability to share information and work in teams.

  • 2.

    Disembodiment in which it is no longer necessary to be physically present to be there.

  • 3.

    Velocity, which is an essential concept in today’s evolving global economy in, which speed makes big difference in competency.

  • 4.

    Power, in which economy is shifting from the position that whoever possesses tangible assets, has the power, to the new reality in which those who have the knowledge have the power.

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