Norms are generally accepted ways of doing things in a particular situation. In the workings of the team, the norms provide unwritten rules in the carrying out of tasks and communicating among members of the team and with outsiders. Several norms regarding communication and carrying out of tasks are in the team.
Decision through consensus
The decision making process in the team is through consensus and this is one of the main norms. In the making of decisions, all the team members are asked for their opinion regarding the issue at hand. Discussions are carried out, evaluations on each available course of action examined critically until there is one unified course of action that is supported by all the members.
Direct specific instructions
In the assignment of tasks to team members, direct specific instructions are the norm. A particular member of the team is assigned a task and given a clear deadline to meet. This avoids the confusion and chaos that may result in general instructions issued. This gives a clear responsibility for all the tasks carried out in the group, and thus ensures that tasks are completed in a timely manner.
Electronic mail communication
Before the establishment of these norms, tasks would be accomplished at a slow pace, mainly because of lack of specific timelines to guide to the completion of tasks. The solution to this problem was to assign specific tasks to specified team members and give strict timelines for the delivery of results.
The consensus decision making was as a result of the failure of some members to take responsibility for courses of action agreed upon by a majority. If a member did not support a course of action and the results turned out to be unfavourable, he or she would deny responsibility for the results and thus the need to agree to all courses of action through consensus.
Poor response levels to communication necessitated the need to develop the norm of communicating through email. Communication through phone calls, though effective, was prone to misuse, with some members denying that they had been called or claiming to have forgotten. The use of email ensures that there is evidence of correspondence and the requirement for a reply within a day ensures that tasks are not delayed by faulty channels of communication. Other methods of communication such as phone calls are used to seek clarification on points not well understood in communication by use of email.
The team should develop a norm of holding a regular virtual meeting, preferably weekly, to discuss the progress that is being made. The meeting can be held through teleconferencing or video conferencing. This will assist greatly in further development of interpersonal connection among the members of the team.
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