Norms within a virtual team are similar to cultural values in society, in that they represent a shared value system and vision of the future. Norms can be established that will increase the productivity of a team, by establishing procedures and methods of interactions and task accomplishment. The shared values represented by the established norms help in team help in building team unity and raising the level of mutual understanding among the team members. This increased unity and understanding will lead to and increased productivity and quality from the team.
Normally, norms are established in a variety of ways. In the early stages of team development, the team may establish preventive norms. These norms may be the result of experience of past situations and behaviors; generally from past team experiences. These are generally established through deliberate discussion and reflection on prior experiences and ways to prevent those unwanted situations.
As the work progresses there will be a need to establish corrective norms. These norms may be created to solve an emerging problem or in response to a current problem. In addition, the team will create some adaptive norms. These norms reflect the specific results of interaction between team members, the task, and media used. These norms are often generated in response to the specific needs and requirements of the team in order to complete the tasks and mission. It is rare that these norms will carry over to other teams and tasks due to their specific nature.
For virtual teams, norm generation is often much more uncertain and dynamic in nature. The bulk of the norm generation is adaptive and related to the communications issues and media use within the team. Because of this uncertain nature, virtual teams are in greater need of a more formal...