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For the past five years, Jan had been working at Robinson & Associates, a mid-sized accounting firm in Sydney that specialises in commercial accounting and audits. Jan’s particular speciality is accou

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For the past five years, Jan had been working at Robinson & Associates, a mid-sized accounting firm
in Sydney that specialises in commercial accounting and audits. Jan’s particular speciality is accounting
practices for shipping companies, ranging from small fishing fleets to a couple of the big firms with
ships along the east coast.
About 18 months ago, Robinson & Associates became part of a large merger involving two other
accounting firms. These firms have offices in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. Although the other two
accounting f...

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Question Preview:

For the past five years, Jan had been working at Robinson & Associates, a mid-sized accounting firm
in Sydney that specialises in commercial accounting and audits. Jan’s particular speciality is accounting
practices for shipping companies, ranging from small fishing fleets to a couple of the big firms with
ships along the east coast.
About 18 months ago, Robinson & Associates became part of a large merger involving two other
accounting firms. These firms have offices in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. Although the other two
accounting firms were much larger than Robinsons, all three firms agreed to avoid centralising the
business around one office in Sydney. Instead, the new firm – called Goldberg, Choo and Robinson
Associates – would rely on teams across the country to ‘leverage the synergies of our collective
knowledge’ (an often-cited statement from the managing partner soon after the merger).
The merger affected Jan personally a year ago when her boss (a senior partner and vice-president of
the merged firm) announced that Jan would be working closely with three people from the other two
firms to become the firm’s new shipping industry accounting team. The other ‘team members’ were
Elias in Melbourne, Susan in Brisbane and Brad in Perth. Jan had met Elias briefly at a meeting in
Melbourne during the merger, but had never met Susan or Brad, although Jan knew that they were
shipping accounting professionals at the other firms.
Initially, the shipping ‘team’ activities involved emailing each other about new contracts and
prospective clients. Later, the team was asked to submit joint monthly reports on accounting
statements and issues. Normally, Jan submitted her own monthly reports, which summarised
activities involving her own clients. Coordinating the monthly report with three other people took
much more time, particularly since different accounting documentation procedures across the three
firms were still being resolved. It took numerous emails and a few telephone calls to work out a
reasonable monthly report style.
During this aggravating process, it became apparent – to Jan at least – that this ‘team’s’ business was
costing Jan more time than it was worth. Moreover, Brad in Perth didn’t have a clue about how to
communicate with the rest of the team. He rarely replied to emails. Instead, he often used the
telephone voice-mail system, which resulted in lots of telephone tag. Brad arrives at work at 9.30am
in Perth (and is often late!), which is early afternoon in Brisbane. Jan’s typical work hours are from
7.30am to 3.30pm, allowing her time to chauffeur her children after school to sports and music
lessons. So Brad and Jan have a window of less than three hours in which to share information.
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The biggest nuisance with the shipping specialist accounting team started two weeks ago when the
firm asked the four members of the team to develop a new strategy for attracting more shipping firm
business. Working on the new strategic plan was proving to be a messy business. Somehow the team
has to share their thoughts on various approaches, agree on a new plan, and write a unified submission
to the managing partner. Already the project is taking most of Jan’s time, just writing and responding
to emails and talking in conference calls (which none of the team members did much of before the
team was formed).
Susan and Brad have already had two or three ‘misunderstandings’ via email about their different
perspectives on delicate matters in the strategic plan. The worst of these disagreements required a
conference call with all team members in order to resolve the issue. Except for the most basic matters,
it seems that the team cannot understand each other, let alone agree on key issues. Thank goodness
Brad lives on the other side of the country, because Jan would find it very difficult if she had to have
him working with her in the Sydney office. While Elias and Jan seem to agree on most points, the
overall team cannot form a common vision or strategy. Jan does not know how Elias, Susan or Brad
feel, but she would be quite happy to work somewhere that did not require any of these long-distance
team headaches.
In considering the case, you need to respond to the following questions:
1. What type of team was formed here? Was it necessary?
2. Did the team follow the normal stages of team development? Do you think this is important
in developing highly effective teams?
3. Using the structural and behavioural characteristics framework identified in your textbook
identify the strengths and weaknesses of this team.
4. Assuming that these four people must continue to work together as a team, recommend ways
to improve the team’s effectiveness.
 

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Executive Summary
Team development in now a days has been considered as an essence for any organization. Team work for
achieving the goal led to achieving the objective in an effective manner. Members of team also required to
be motivated so that they can provide their best for accomplishing the task. In the stated case, virtual
team has been prepared because of different place and hence members are not able to meet for executing
the task. there seems to be lack of communication ethic for completing the task. In my opinion, the team
has not been working as per the “team development “process. Due to long distance relation among
member and due to different time zone it has become difficult for members to interact for carrying out
the task in an effective manner.

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