1. What are group norms? How does the online environment affect group norms? What is disinhibition? What are other ways in which the online environment influences group dynamics?

What are group norms?

Group norms refers to behaviors learn by the people within an organization from one another as they watch what others do and experience subtle praise or rebuke, often non-verbal.  For the case of an online environment, group members are not able to perceive the non-verbal cues, so the group norms can be more difficult to establish. For instance, virtual team members often complain that one or two members are free riding and failing to do their share of the work. This makes norms about how workload should be shared more difficult to transmit and enforce in an online environment.

Disinhibition is where people express themselves more bluntly, abruptly or aggressively than they would in face-to-face settings. Other ways influenced by the online environment include status equalization where the online world tends to flatten out hierarchies and equalize status, partly because many of the cues used to establish status are less apparent. Trust is another where which is not easy for the virtual teams in the online environment.