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Module 4 – Background
Team Norms and Procedures
A growing amount of research is being conducted on the unique needs of virtual teams and the importance of establishing explicit norms to govern communication and project work. The following reading discusses some of this research and offers findings concerning critical norms that need to be established and supported by the appropriate IT (see Module 3). If you are not used to reading research articles, you can skim the section on "Theoretical Development," skip the section on "Data Collection Methodology" (unless you have an interest in academic research methods) and concentrate on "Findings." Be sure to check out the tables. They are helpful and will surely give you some ideas you can use in your Case analysis for this module.
Malhotra, A. and Majchizak, A. (2004). Enabling knowledge creation in far-flung teams: best practices for IT support and knowledge sharing. Journal of Knowledge Management, 8(4); pg. 75. This article is available in ProQuest.
In an attempt to create more productive work teams, many organizations engage in "team-building" workshops or exercises to bring members together so they can work together more effectively. Unfortunately, these team-building exercises, though sometimes fun and somewhat diverting, rarely have long-term effects as the esprit de corps that is developed during the workshop frequently fails to transfer to everyday team activity.
The following reading addresses how the process of establishing norms can serve as a substitute for relatively ineffective "team-building" activities.
McGannon, B. (2009). Stealth Team Building. Retrieved from http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/stealth-team-building.html
The following two readings give examples of specific norms that can help build highly effective teams.
Settle-Murphy, N. (2012). “Untangle your Virtual Team with 10 Most-Needed Norms.” Guided Insights online. Retrieved from: http://www.guidedinsights.com/newsletter_detail.asp?PageID=11004
Labrose, M. (2010) “6 Rules for Better Communication in Virtual Teams.” Computer World online. Retrieved from: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9179543/6_rules_for_better_communication_in_virtual_teams?taxonomyId=14&pageNumber=2
Karten, N. (2003). Creating Team Norms. Retrieved from http://www.stickyminds.com/sitewide.asp?Function=edetail&ObjectType=COL&ObjectId=6736
Optional SLP Reading
Team Norms. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.wilsonmar.com/teamnorm.htm#Assembly
Now, the Case Study assignment
Module 4 – Case
Team Norms and Procedures
In this module, the comment was made that norms are implicit and tend to develop over time. However, it was also observed that virtual teams cannot afford the luxury of such a passive process and need to take proactive steps to establish explicit norms.
In this Case, you are asked to consider ways a virtual team can explicitly establish communication and task norms that support high performance. 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.
Karten, N. (2003). Creating Team Norms. Retrieved August 2009 from http://www.stickyminds.com/sitewide.asp?Function=edetail&ObjectType=COL&ObjectId=6736
For this Case, 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.
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