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Case Study the Forgotten Group Member

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Case Study - The Forgotten Group Member
Helen M. Gales
GM591 - Leadership and Organizational Behavior
Keller Graduate School of Management
Professor Leo Shelton
July 23, 2012
Case Study - The Forgotten Group Member
Part 1: Group Development In looking over the details given for the case, the group appears to still be in the Storming stage. While some of the team has come together and are providing their assigned portions of the class project, they still are not a cohesive, and functioning team; due to one of their team members being preoccupied with outside demands and not really coming together with the rest of the team. By having a better understanding of the stages of group development, Christine would have had a better idea of how to lead the group through the different stages and help them to move forward towards a successful completion of the assignment. The text indicates that for a team to be successful it needs to go through all of the stages, forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning; making progress as each stage is completed.
Part II: Problem Identification From the little amount of information that the case gives concerning the initial meetings of the group, the primary problem is that Mike is seen as the "clown" and not taken seriously when suggestions are made. From what the text indicates about the different stages, this indicates a "clique" was formed between the other team members, and a general lack of concern was given to Mike and his needs, or at least that is how Mike views it by his reaction to finding the rest of his team having lunch together without him. The second problem appears to be social loafing on Mike's part, this may not be completely intentional, they might be due to job constraints. But since he passes vague information along, and doesn't show up to meetings without explanation, he is seen as not doing his part by the rest of the team.
Part III: Retrospective Evaluation With the information given in the case, there are two options that come to mind. First Christine can stand up and take action, instead of sitting worrying about herself and what she should do, she can do something about it. Mike has given her notes with his ideas when he ahs been unable to make it to the meeting, and she feels that he is creative and has good ideas. With this in mind since he is unable to make it to the next meeting due to work schedule, she could try an setup a meeting between just the two of them when he is available to go over the notes he has given her and to see if there are any other ideas he has that he would like expressed to the group. It might even be possible for him to be at the meeting virtually by using a speaker phone or some other device, while he is on break at his job. This will help to make him feel included and more a part of the team. It will also help the rest of her team feel like a more cohesive unit and that everyone is playing their part and not letting others do all of the work. This option would give the team members a feeling of achievement of doing a job well ( intrinsic reward) and hopefully a good grade on the assignment (extrinsic reward) The second option would be for her to give up and go to the instructor and let her know that Mike has not held up his end of the assignment. This option, would show that she is not ready to lead a team when there is any kind of confrontation or problems and does not help her learn from the situation so she would be better prepared in the future for team work. This would also work to confirm Mike's feeling that no one cares. This option should not be taken until all options to bring Mike into the group has been tried and failed.
Part IV: Reflection Christine was an okay team leader, but was unable to reach a higher level due to her concern for herself and her own grade, instead of the needs of all of her team members. As the text states if goals and rewards are focused too much on individual-level instead of group level accomplishments the team can suffer as well. Given the limited information concerning the initial meeting of the group, the first assumption made is that the forming stage was not thoroughly examined. One of the things that needed to be delved into on the first meeting was a detailed list of what needed to be done in order to complete the assignment with all of the necessary data and in the allotted amount of time. At this point everyone needed to give their input as to what they were not only capable of doing, but what they were willing and had time to do. In doing this every member of the team has the satisfaction of being heard, and having active participation in deciding what will be done by whom. In starting out this way Christine would have had more of the valuable information she needed about to team members to lead them to a successful completion of the project. It would also provide her with the information she needs about each team member on their strengths and weaknesses and what processes she can implement to keep them motivated. The text also indicates that with a group this size, that by redefining the roles it makes the free riders more visible and peer pressures to perform are more likely, increasing accountability by making individual performance expectations clear and specific, this would prevent the social loafing that occurred.

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