Collaborative Norms

What Teams Must Consider When Setting On-Line Collaborative Norms

Norms are ways of working together that help on-line collaborative teams develop a working relationship to enhance team productivity over a brief time period (15weeks) when the team function/works.

Collaborative norms fall into two categories: procedural and interpersonal.

Logistics: Meeting time, Place, Duration, and Frequency.

  • "We established chat times for each week during Monday's class"

Timeliness: Start time, Finish time, Lateness, and Attendance.

  • “Members will post to webboard when they are going to be late and/or absent”

Courtesy: Listening, Interruptions, Equal participation, Dealing with disagreements,
Respect, Empathy, and Sharing the workload

  • “Each member of the team will state their opinion during group discussions or disagreements so every voice is heard”

Decision-Making Process: How will team make decision (s)? Reach agreements? How
will team show/reach agreement?

  • "The team will take everyone's opinion into account before important group decisions are made. The norm is majority rules”

Assignment Completion: How will work be assigned? How will conflicts with existing workloads be settled?

  • “When the team works on documents, we will use each member’s initials to let team members know who was the last person to edit”

Setting Priorities: How will team discharge responsibility for on-time completion and
equal distribution of workload?

  • "The team will post a list of 'weekly goals' to keep us focused on what needs to be done"

Enforcement of Norms: How will the team make sure (implement) that norms are followed?

  • "The team agrees of a system of consequences for members who break group norms"

Hints / Advice / Indirect Suggestions for Creative and Successful Collaborative Teams

  • Teams work with commitment/devotion when the team generates their ‘own’ norms.
  • Posting of norms during every on-line, in-class, or VC meeting/chat.
  • Add new norms as the team develops and new situations arise.
  • Norms will change and evolve as the team develops and matures – never hesitate to change a norm - it is part of team evolution/growth.
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