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Not Just Another Team Member: How management is affected when the customer is a member of the global virtual team
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Purpose - The aim of the paper is to understand how management is affected by having the customer as a member of the global virtual team within agile work methods.

Research Method - This research is based on a qualitative methodological choice, and an embedded single case study conducted through a cross-sectional time horizon. The research is based on primary and secondary data. The primary data has been collected from management, employees, and customer, through semi- and in depth interviews, and observations in Sri Lanka. Secondary data is conceptualized from literature in the Global Virtual Team research field.

Results - A customer is seen as a colleague and a critical team member, where the developers and management work closely with the customer. However, the customer is not fully seen as a traditional colleague. The customer’s influence outweighs the influence of the supplier, resulting in a dynamic shift of influence towards the customer. Not allowing the dynamic shift, i.e. not increasing attention towards the customer significantly, could result in a loss of business. Furthermore, the background of the customer affects the manager’s role as a Bridge Maker. How efficient the collaboration turns out within the team is dependent on the customer background, and how well the management allocates time and efforts accordingly.

Research limitations - Due to time and resource limits, and the depth scope of the study, only one case firm and one customer laid the basis of this paper. Further investigation of how management is affected by having the customer as a member of the global virtual team could be the direction of future studies.

Practical implications - The findings allow management to allocate their time and resources more effectively cross projects and increase the understanding of how the firm is affected by having the customer as a member of the team in the global virtual team setting. As a result, it will potentially increase the overall success of the company.

Originality/value - This study supplies the contribution to existing management literature as it includes an external stakeholder, the customer, in the global virtual team, which is a growing phenomenon that has not been captured by current literature.

Keywords - Global teams, Virtual teams, Multicultural teams, Customer as a team member, Bridge Maker, Team leadership, Biculturalism, Agile work process

Paper type – Master thesis

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 63 p.
Keyword [en]
Global teams, Virtual teams, Multicultural teams, Customer as a team member, Bridge Maker, Team leadership, Biculturalism, Agile work process
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-255758OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-255758DiVA: diva2:823478
Educational program
Master Programme in Business and Management
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-06-24 Created: 2015-06-18 Last updated: 2015-06-24Bibliographically approved

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