Group Dynamics and Teams Essay
Group Dynamics and Teams
We will continue our experiential approach to the study of Organizational Behavior by engaging in a personal applied case on the topic of group dynamics and teams. As in module 1, use the following outline to structure your 4-6 page paper. You may use the subtitles as headings for your paper.
Introduction: Discuss the topic of the paper and how you will approach it. It is best to write this section after you have written the rest of the paper.
Concrete Experience: Begin with a specific situation/event. Describe an experience with a group or team that was meaningful to you. It may have been an extraordinarily good experience – or it may have been an experience that did not work out very well at all! The important point is that it should be an experience which you would like to understand better. Be objective and focus on just the facts: who, what, where, when, and how – as if you were composing a newspaper article.
Reflective Observation: Reflect upon that experience from multiple perspectives of persons involved or affected in the experience. Step back from the situation, look at the experience from your own viewpoint, and from the perspective of all other parties involved or affected. You want to look at the circumstances surrounding the experience from every relevant point of view. Why did you behave the way that you did? Why did others behave the way that they did? Did others have the same positive (or negative) experience? Explain. (Note: your discussion of theories and models from your module materials belongs in the following section.)
Abstract Conceptualization: Use critical thinking skills in order to understand and interpret the experience at a deeper, more generalizable level. Interpret and understand the events you have described by drawing on the concepts, theories, and models in the background material from this module. Explain how they apply to your experience. For example, what behavior patterns can you identify in yourself and others that are similar to the ones described in the material on communication, teams, and conflict management? Does the model of Force Field Analysis (home page) help you better understand why people behaved the way they did? Be sure to apply at least three concepts, theories, and/or models and cite all references to concepts, ideas, and/or quotes that you use from any outside source.
[This Abstract Conceptualization section is the “heart” of your paper. Using critical thinking skills, provide a clear, specific discussion on the logic, theories, and models and how they apply to your experience.]
Active Experimentation: Identify ways to respond to the next occurrence of a similar experience. What have you learned about the way groups work from this analysis? What have you learned from your mistakes? How are you going to put what you have learned to use? What actions will you take to build more effective work teams in your job?
Conclusion: Sum up the main points of your analysis and the key learning you are taking from it.
Reference List: List all references that you have cited in the paper using APA formatting. References include materials from the required background readings as well as any outside internet or library sources you used in researching and writing your paper. If you have APA questions, refer to the optional listings on the background page.
Group Dynamics and Teams Essay
This paper explores a group event entailing the visit to a neighboring children’s center, as part of giving back to the society. It details the planning and execution of the event and the parties involved. It also includes a reflection of what went right/wrong and the lessons learned. It concludes with a discussion on team and group concepts and models as well as their application in group tasks and the management of teams.
Last summer, my five friends and I met and discussed how we could get involved in our societies, how we can drive change through giving back to the society. I was selected as the coordinator of the group, and a number of proposals were fronted, from cleaning our streets, visiting the sick at our local health facility to visiting a neighboring children’s center. We were unable to clearly agree on what was the most appropriate decision, with some members inclined towards each of these decisions. As the coordinator, I had to make a decision that the best option in the circumstances, the one that would have the greatest social impact was visiting the Maxwell’s children’s center. We estimated that we would need about $5,000 to cover for logistics, children’s gifts, clothes and foodstuff. Since we did not have enough resources, we decided to fundraise amongst our friends, family and school mates. We gave ourselves a two weeks’ timeline to fundraise and organize the event. We took a bit of time to agree on our various roles, with some members feeling that we could just do those activities as a team, while others felt that their work was more involving than others. Peter was to coordinate with the Children’s Centre to ensure that we are welcome to the venue and also to gather information on what the management feels that is needed at the center, Mike in charge of logistics regarding how the various items were to be purchased although he felt that this task was rather bulky and therefore needed help, Terry was to be the treasurer of the team, safely keeping any funds contributed, Dennis was involved in managing publicity and social media, ensuring that we got as much support as possible while Ryan and myself were involved in the overall coordination of the event, myself in the financial docket while Ryan checked on all administrative issues.
We had held the last meeting, one day before the event where we discussed the progress of our activities. We had collected only $3,850 and had a list of items that the management of the center felt was urgent such as clothes, foodstuffs, diapers, and children gifts. On the material day, together with other friends and school mates, we left for Maxwell’s children center. We were received with joy by the management and little ones, as we all helped unpack the goodies. We gave gifts to the children and left the management with clothes to give them out on a need basis. Touched by the plight of the little ones, and the joy that our small gesture had brought to them, we discussed with the management the possibility of making it a periodic event, probably biannual and the management was very excited about that prospect. We wound up our event about 1700 hours and left for our homes. It still remains one of the genuinely important events that I have been involved in.
Later, we met and discussed the events of that day. While we were all of the opinion that the event was generally successful and achieved the intended purpose, there was a variety of opinions on areas that we could have improved, as individuals and as a team. I strongly felt that Ryan needed to clearly brief the other people that accompanied us, on the schedule, as we realized that some of them came in rather late when we had done most of the activities. Peter, on the other hand, felt that the fundraising period was inadequate, although it was the general feeling that Dennis had not done a great job on publicity and social media coverage of the event, which limited our sources of funds.
Bruce Tuckman (2001) identified five stages that define the path that teams follow from formation to the attainment of the team goals. First is the forming stage, which is characterized by team members that are polite and positive, some even anxious not aware what the object of the team is. Leadership at this stage is important; in order to ensure that all team members are well informed on the activities of the team.
Storming is characterized by a lot of pushing and haggling, with each team member jostling for space in the new establishment. At this stage, teams start to experience disagreements and conflict among the team members due to differences in opinions, styles of work, strengths etc. as they get to understand their specific roles in the project. This stage is also characterized by high levels of stress and frustration due to lack of collaboration and support amongst the team members, established processes or strong relationships. Leadership and conflict management skills are important at this stage, as the leader emphasizes on the bigger picture while ensuring that every member of the team is comfortable in their roles. It’s at this stage that force field analysis model comes into play, where the team leader has to give directions on team actions after evaluating the various forces at play (Kozlowski, & Bell, 2001). For instance, in deciding to visit the children’s home as opposed to the other proposed activities, I had to strongly argue on its merits which included lack of fixed visiting hours unlike a hospital that has time restrictions, no legal or licensing considerations unlike cleaning the streets that would require a permit from the local council etc.
It is at this stage that members start to accept one another, accept their roles and resolve their differences while appreciating their colleagues and leaders. At this stage, there is a stronger commitment towards team goals and progress is noted towards it.
Performing is probably the most important stage as it’s characterized by hard work and team cohesion as the set structures and processes of the team support its work. At this stage, team leaders delegate most of the work and concentrate on the development of team members, coordination of work and maximization of team’s strengths (Ancona, 1990). After the team’s goals and objectives have been attained, it’s time for adjourning, where teams are disbanded and members go their separate ways.
There are vital lessons on group dynamics from the events discussed above. First, members of a team are diverse in many ways and will not always agree on a course of action, sometimes resulting in conflicts, which means that conflict management is an important skill for successful team leaders. In cases where teams are unable to agree on a course of action, models such as force field analysis, which weigh various forces before arriving at a decision, would be helpful. From an analysis of the above event, I have learned that communicating of the team goals, ensuring that team members are assigned the right roles and providing of visionary leadership are essential ingredients towards successful team activities. In future, I would avoid some of the mistakes highlighted in our team reflection above by ensuring that team selection, communication, and briefing of team members of the goals of the project, decision making, and conflict resolution are entrenched in my leadership skills.
Tuckman, Bruce (Spring 2001). “Developmental Sequence in Small Groups'” (PDF). Group Facilitation: A Research and Applications Journal: 71–72. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
Ancona, D. G. (1990). Outward bound: Strategies for team survival in the organization. Academy of Management Journal, 33, 334-365.
Gully, S. M. (2000). Work team research: Recent findings and future trends. In M. Beyerlein (Ed.), Work teams: Past, present, and future (pp. 25-44). The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers
Kozlowski, S. W. J. & Bell, B. F. (2001). Work groups and teams in organizations. Retrieved [insert date], from Cornell University, ILR School site: http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/articles/389/