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Case Study

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The five stages of team development are forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. In the forming stage of team development is the initial entry of members to a group. This is the time that team members identify with other group members and the team itself. In the storming stage, there is a period of high emotionality and tension among group members. Team members compete to impose their preferences on the group and to achieve a desired status position. Membership expectations are clarified and obstacles that stand in the way of the goal are addressed.
In the norming stage, also called initial integration, members really start to come together as a coordinated unit.
In the performing stage, also called total integration, the team is mature, organized, and well-functioning. The team is now able to deal with complex tasks and handle internal disagreements in creative ways. The structure is stable and members are motivated by team goals and are generally satisfied.
In the adjourning stage, a well-integrated team is able to disband, when its work is accomplished. This stage is especially important for temporary teams, such as task forces, committees, etc.. Members have to be able to convene quickly, do their jobs on a tight schedule, and then adjourn, and be able to reconvene later if needed, which is a long-term test of team success.
Reflecting on the case “The forgotten group member” the group is in the storming stage. Mike is considered the class clown of the group and he doesn’t seem to be taking the assignment seriously. Mike had a lot of excuses, such as not wanting to meet before class because he did not like to miss his favorite television show, meeting times conflicted with his work schedule, and that he was having problems with his girlfriend. . Social facilitation theory suggests that working in the presence of others creates an emotional excitement that stimulates behavior in a positive or negative way. If a team member is good at something they are enthusiastic, if they are not good at something they become a social loafer. Perhaps Mike was not comfortable being a member of the team because he felt unfamiliar with a task that he was assigned or simply just not good at it. Mike’s social facilitation led to f social loafing which is when a team member works less hard in a group setting than they would individually. If Mike had to complete this assignment on his own he would have found the time and he would not have any excuses, he would have completed the assignment to the best of his ability.
The team continued to move on to the next stage of group development. The team is now in the norming stage and ideas are starting to come together and they are moving toward their goal of completing the assignment, and they were doing this without Mike’s involvement. There were two situations in the case that Mike felt left out, once in the cafeteria he went to get lunch and noticed that his group was sitting together and another time before class the group were talking and laughing together. Poor Mike feels like he is not included in the group.
Steps that Christine, the group leader can take includes redefining roles so that free-riders are more visible and peer pressures to perform are more likely and increasing accountability by making individual performance expectations clear and specific.
Procter & Gamble’s former CEO A. G. Lafley says that team effectiveness comes together when you have “the right players in the right seats on the same bus, headed in the same direction.”(Schermerhorn 168). Christine did not have the ability to chose who would be on her team or what size team she would have, but she can contribute to the team’s success by setting appropriate goals, having a well-designed reward systems, adequate resources, and appropriate technology which are all essential to support the work of teams. Just as an individual’s performance, team performance can suffer when goals are unclear, insufficiently challenging, or arbitrarily imposed. It can also suffer if goals and rewards are focused too much on individual instead of group accomplishments. In addition, it can suffer when resources; information, budgets, work space, deadlines, rules and procedures, and technologies, are insufficient to accomplish the task. By contrast, having a supportive organizational setting within which to work can be a strong launching pad for team success.
The tasks that team members are asked to perform can place different demands on teams, with varying implications for group effectiveness. When tasks are clear and well defined, it is easier for members to both know what they are trying to accomplish and to work together while doing it. But team effectiveness is harder to achieve when the task is highly complex.
I do not think Christine was an effective team leader. This is probably Christine’s first time as a team leader, and she was too empathetic with Mike and that had a negative effect on the team and meeting their goal, and subsequently getting a higher grade on their project. Everyone has obligations, when you are working on a team you cannot be selfish and just think of yourself, you have to consider how your actions will affect everyone else on the team. If Christine wants an effective team she has to be encouraging, motivating, be able to resolve and negotiate conflicts, and persuade others to cooperate.…...

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