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Team Norms and Procedures

The comment was made that norms are implicit, and tend to develop over time. However, it was also observed that virtual teams can not afford the luxury of such a passive process, and need to take proactive steps to establish explicit norms. For this case, please complete the following:

- Identify 10 specific behavioral norms (five communication and five task norms) that you feel are essential to the smooth performance of virtual teams.
- Explain why you feel these norms are essential.
- Propose a specific action plan virtual teams could use to develop and enforce task and communication norms.

Use the background readings (attached) to support your arguments. The following reading provides some additional ideas for how a co-located team could an engage in norm-setting. You should model your action plan for virtual teams after this type of analysis.

Case Reading
- Karten, N. (2003). Creating Team Norms. Retrieved February 2008 from
http://www.stickyminds.com/sitewide.asp?Function=edetail&ObjectType=COL&ObjectId=6736

This should be a 3-5 page paper. PLS, utilized the mentioned articles in the background readings as your reference in this assignment.

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In the Session Long Project for this course, you are working with several classmates as a virtual team on a competitive project. This project involves assessment of both group and individual work. Your team's process and task output will serve as the material for this SLP. Please remember to respond to the TD that is set up for your team.

Review the rules for the team project, "Virtual Teams: 101 Tips". By now your team has submitted two lists of tips. You will now prepare a final list of original tips. By the end of this module, submit that list of tips along with a 2-3 page analysis that addresses the following questions:
1. What communication and task norms operate in your team? Remember that norms can be "unspoken".
2. What problems/limitations did you run across due to lack of norms governing your team's behavior?
3. Did you try anything to overcome the obstacles? How did it work?
4. What norms do you think your team should have established to make your work go more smoothly?

To be sure, your list of norms could be quite lengthy. Try to limit your paper to a few of the most important ones.

This checklist may help you evaluate your team's norms:

- Team Norms. (n.d.). http://www.wilsonmar.com/teamnorm.htm#Assembly

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- Identify 10 specific behavioral norms (five communication and five task norms) that you feel are essential to the smooth performance of virtual teams.
- Explain why you feel these norms are essential.
- Propose a specific action plan virtual teams could use to develop and enforce task and communication norms.

Ten specific behavioral norms are discussed.
The first behavioral norm related to tasks. It is that only virtual team members access the repository of information to ensure that privacy is maintained.
The second norm is that sub-teams and individuals are allowed to have private folder in the repository where documents can be stored.
Third norm: Focus on the positive. That is what is working well and not what's going wrong.
Fourth norm: Treat clients' issues and concerns as valid even if you don't agree with them.
Fifth, the method the virtual team evaluates its approach and results.
Norms related to communication:
First, norm related to communication is the establishment of norm related to what will be shared outside the virtual team. For instance, there can be a norm that negative facts will not be shared with outside members.
Second, listen to what others are saying.
Third, try to resolve problems without blaming.
Fourth, if you don't understand something ask for clarification.
Fifth, if you see a problem that others have not noticed bring it to someone's attention.

These norms are essential because the first two norms relate to the repository of information that the group has. It is essential that a group norm develops that repository information should not be shared with outside people. However, some sub-group or individuals may have private files in the repository. This is there because it does allow space to you but does not compromise the privacy of information.
The next norm related to tasks is that of focusing on the positive. If the virtual team members focus on the positive, they will be able to complete their work successfully. Positive thinking is essential for a virtual team to achieve its objectives.
The next task related norm is the treatment the virtual team metes out to its clients. This norm prescribes that the virtual teams should address the concern of the client. He should go out of the way to please the client, even if it means going an additional mile.
The fifth norm is the manner in which the virtual team evaluates its own approach and performance. Objective and regular evaluation of the virtual team's approach and achievements is the most important way to check the direction in which ...

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