Many group behavior and patterns could form in a virtual team. Research has observed several patterns of group dynamics. In particular, member awareness, conformity and leader emergence are potential behaviors that could affect the performance and satisfaction of teams.
Member awareness is an understanding of the activities of others, which provides a context for the individual’s own activity (Dourish & Bellotti, 1992). Awareness of group members is believed to be a critical building block in the construction of a dynamic team.
Conformity refers to the behavior of individuals who adhere to group norms over time (Galanes & Adams, 2007). Team members conform in order to be accepted and liked, to be perceived as right and not appear a fool, and to help the group function as a whole (Galanes &Adams, 2007). Conformity is linked to group productivity unless in excessive levels, in which case, negative groupthink occurs (Janis, 1972).
Leader emergence is the natural rise of individuals who are perceived by other members as best embodies of the group prototype, that is, the behaviors and norms to which the less prototypical members are attempting to adhere (Hackman, 1990). Studies suggest that leaders strongly influence team performance and individual team members ’ satisfaction in virtual teams (Hiltz, Turoff, & Johnson, 1991). The leader in virtual teams usually takes the responsibility of organizing, delegating assignments, coordinating information, and supporting the contributions of others. It has also been observed that the role of the leader in groups can emerge naturally through communication with other members (Zander, 1971); when one participates more actively, he is more likely to be perceived as the leader even without being assigned leadership.