In “The Forgotten Group Member” case study, the organizational behavior group developed using some of these five stages: forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. Forming is characterized by the groups desire to be accepted. This is the orientation part of the group development and a leader is chosen. In the storming stage, group members often discuss and debate about which tasks and duties are assigned to whom. The key factor in the successful transition from this stage is the ability to listen. While in the norming phase, cohesion is evident through the group’s interpersonal relationships.
Each member is opened to new ideas based on the facts presented by other members. An understanding of each other leads to a higher trust level which leads to a better working team. Performing, while not reached by every group, is an evolution of independence within the group, where there is trust that everyone will perform as desired and there are no interpersonal issues amongst the members. The final stage is adjourning, which includes the conclusion of tasks, relationships, goodbyes and the recognition of performances and participation in the group.
According to this case study, the organizational behavior group, led by Christine, is a in the storming stage. Assuming Christine was unaware of the storming stage of group development, she could have made a more aggressive attempt to speak with Mike before the fifth week. There were issues with Mike that needed attention early on. Some would argue that the group would be in the norming stage but these conflicts were never resolved which puts them still in the storming stage. Everyone in the group was getting along and they understand their role, all but Mike. This is made evident by fourth paragraph from the case study about how Mike missed most of the meetings because he was busy with work. Part II: Problem Identification
In my opinion, the primary problem facing the group is the lack of cohesion and trust between all of its members. The biggest problem facing Christine is her inability to confront Mike and hold him accountable for his part in the group project. Christine is the “Team Coordinator”, and as such, she has an obligation to address these issues early on.
As a group, it seems that Christine is inadvertently excluding Mike from the team meetings by picking times in which he works. To me, she has failed in her duty to accommodate all members of the group. This leads to the issue of trust. Mike has personal problems with his girlfriend, is almost always busy outside of classes with work and probably feels like he isn’t welcomed by the group. I point to the example in the cafeteria where there was an impromptu meeting by the other members of the group. Mike probably assumed they excluded him from this informal meeting on purpose which seemed to cause Mike to become even more distant.
Christine should have understood not just the skills and attributes of the group, but also the personal feelings of the individuals. She was so caught up in making her grade that she overlooked her responsibilities to every member of the team. Mike was full of great ideas, but his personal issues and sense of exclusion from the group made him feel like an outcast. Christine was not sensitive to this which may have made problems worse. Had Christine talked to Mike in the very beginning and made an early effort to resolve these issues, the group may have turned out much differently. Part III: Retrospective Evaluation
When talking about group development, team building exercises come to mind. “One perfect solution” would have been to choose another “Team Coordinator”. From the case study, Christine was hesitant to take any action. She was good at organizing and managing but not leading. Her insensitivity to the feelings of others, in this case Mike, caused added conflict within the group. She was more occupied with making the grade than with practicing what she learned about organizational behavior and team theory. It would be difficult to decide which of the others would have made a better leader. In this case, I would say Mike. According to Christine, he had vision and great ideas for the team. His personality, at least from the first meeting, put people at ease and made them laugh. As “Team Coordinator”, he would have been able to choose a meeting time more convenient for him. He would seem a more likely follow the team theory and organizational behavior topics covered in his class instead of focusing on just the grade.
My other “perfect solution”, assuming that Christine stays on as “Team Coordinator”, would be to have Christine take a more active role in applying the theories learned in the organizational behavior class. Focusing on the grade is good for her personal goal but the objective of the project was to put into practice what was learned in class. Using team theory and understanding the steps to group development, she would have been in a great situation to really shine as the leader. The issues with Mike would have been eliminated or greatly reduced and his contribution to the group would have been greater and more apparent to the other members. This would have allowed them to move past the storming and into the norming stage straight into the performing stage because of the high level of trust that would have been likely built with each other. Mike as Team Coordinator| Christina applying topics from class| Pros| Mike won’t miss meetings| Better vision for group| Higher performance capability| Reduced interpersonal issues| Better group cohesion| Higher trust level| Cons| May still have group interpersonal issues| May not get as high a grade as expected| Part IV: Reflection
Christine was probably a mediocre group leader. She exhibited managerial skills to an extent but did not display the leadership qualities that I would expect from a team leader. She was more concerned about getting a good grade than with putting to the practice the topics discussed in her organizational behavior class. She gave assignments based on ability and was not concerned about personal attitudes or feelings according to what I read from the case study. Mike was the prime example of her insensitivity to every group member’s feelings. Mike felt excluded and she was oblivious to this issue that got out of hand fast. Although Mike could have confronted Christine early on about his feelings of exclusion, Christine was ultimately responsible for guiding the group through the development process that would lead to their success in the project.
In a team every member is important and Christine’s group, although all but one member took care of their own part, was not operating as a team. They showed no concern for Mike except when it would affect their grade. This lack of concern for Mike made him feel like an outside of the group which probably aided in his desire to underperform in his duties towards the group. The “Team Coordinator” failed in their fundamental duty to build team loyalty and trust. Christine is a hard worker but was not fit to be a group leader.
Schermerhorn, J. R. (2012). The OB Skills Workbook. Organizational behavior (12th ed., pp. W-112). New York [etc.: J. Wiley.