Module 4 – Background: Team Norms and Procedures


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Background Reading

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
Now, the SLP assignment.
Module 4 – SLP
Team Norms and Procedures
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. 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.
SLP Assignment Expectations
By the end of this module, submit your list of tips along with a 2- to 3-page analysis that addresses the norms that were developed by your team. It is possible that your list of norms could be quite lengthy. Try to limit your paper to a few of the most important ones
Keys to the Assignment
1.Identify at least two communication and task norms that 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?
This checklist may help you evaluate your team’s norms. Many teams find it helpful to use the TD to discuss the norms on this checklist that apply to your team:
Team Norms. (n.d.). http://www.wilsonmar.com/teamnorm.htm#Assembly



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