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Case Study

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Case Study: The Forgotten Member
Kristin Kovar
GM591 – Leadership and Organizational Behavior
Dr. Anne Hallcom
Part 1 Group Development:
The group is currently in the norming stage. The first meeting the group went through the forming stage by introducing themselves and talking about their schedules. They joked around and had a good time and started to bond together. They worked through some dysfunctional issues during the next week or two when Mike became upset that he felt excluded from the group. The group is starting to come together and function well together except for Mike. All members of the group are doing their share of the work and helping each other out but Mike is still not pulling his own weight and seems to be distant from the group. I think he feels resentment towards the group because they are close and working well together but he feels like they are excluding him so he isn’t pulling his own weight to get back at them. If Mike were more integrated into the group and working well with them, I would say the group is in the performing stage but this won’t happen until the group comes together to make Mike apart of the group and Mike contributes more to the group.
If Christine understood the stages of team development, she could have led the group to become a high performance team. She had many opportunities to make this happen. The first opportunity was in the initial meeting when the group was determining the best times to meet. Mike told the group that his television show was more important than working on the project. Christine should have interjected and set the standard of acceptable behavior within the group rather than laugh it away. Had Mike and the group been told that they were all expected to attend meetings and equally contribute to the group, then Mike probably wouldn’t have missed most of the team meetings and worked harder on his portion of the project.
Another opportunity where Christine could have stepped in to help the team come together to be a high performance team was in the cafeteria. Mike was clearly upset that the team was all together without him. This made him feel alienated, and he didn’t know where he fit in with the team. Therefore, he wasn’t motivated and getting what he needed from the group and didn’t have the initiative to put forth the effort into the group project. Christine shouldn’t have let him walk away from the group. She should have realized how Mike was feeling and made a bigger effort to make him feel included. The same could be said for when Mike entered the classroom quietly while his teammates were chatting before class. Had Mike felt like he had a place on the team, he would have been getting what he needed individually from the group and would have felt compelled to give back to the group project.
Part 2 Problem Identification:
I believe the primary problem with this group comes from a lack of communication and team building. The group never established a set of rules for behavior or clear expectations of each member. Each member made their own contributions that they felt were important. For example, Steve liked to have an agenda and follow it for each meeting so he created one, and Janet would always do extra work. Had there been clear communication, clear expectations would have been established and Mike probably would have done his share of the work. There also wasn’t much team building. Team building helps bring all members together to feel like they are part of the group and can get what each individual needs from the group. When each person gets what they need from the group, they are more willing to work hard and give back to the group.
The secondary problem with this group is a lack of motivation. One leader contribution that must be present to have a high performance team is a sense of urgency. This sense of urgency is created through establishing due dates but also by motivating all members of the group. Even though most of the members contributed there were a couple who didn’t or minimally contributed. Mike never finished his portion of the group project because he had no motivation. This is why he would only turn in notes to Christine. Another example is when Diane would only contribute ideas and work when directly asked. More motivation to all members of the group and the project would be completed and Christine wouldn’t be having concerns about how to get the project completed.
“Personality is the overall combination of characteristics that capture the unique nature of a person as that person reacts and interacts with others.” Christine should have understood each type of personality and being able to recognize them. She should also know how people interact with each other. If she had a better understanding of the personalities of each member of her team, she would have realized that there was a problem with Mike much earlier. She would have recognized that he didn’t feel like a member of the team and was acting out when in the cafeteria and she could have taken corrective actions. Had she done this, she wouldn’t be trying to figure out how to get the project completed before the deadline.
Part 3 Retrospective Evaluation:
The first solution is to focus on communication. The first team meeting Christine needs to establish clear rules of behavior. She also needs to set clear expectations for each member. She needs to let all teammates know that they are going to be responsible for an equal part of the group project. She should let each member know what they are expected to produce and give deadlines for each part of the project. During the initial meeting to encourage communication between the group, she should have each member introduce themselves and let the group know one interesting fact about them, what they expect from the group, and what the group can expect from them. This way each member of the group can have clear expectations of each other and be able to hold each other accountable if they are not meeting expectations. Lastly, Christine should let each member know that if they are experiencing problems that they need to speak to the group about it to work through the problem and if they can’t work it out then they will take the problem to the instructor of the class.
The second solution is to focus on team building. The first step to implement this plan is in the initial meeting. Christine still needs to establish clear expectations and rules for the group. She needs to give clear assignments to each group member towards the project. To encourage team building, each group meeting should either begin or end with a fun activity to bring each team member together as a group. Each member should be responsible for creating and implementing an activity for a meeting. This is a continuous improvement approach to team building. It allows each member to have a say and feel like they are a member of the team. This allows each member to monitor the team dynamics and be able to work through any problems to become a high performance team. | PROS | CONS | Solution 1 | Better communication, established goals, sense of urgency created, more positive rewards of “good job”, bringing up and discussing problems within group | Members still withhold comments, members still feel like not being heard | Solution 2 | Members feeling apart of team, individuals getting what they need from group, more cooperative working, | Still have members pull away from group if not joining meetings, goals might be forgotten because of fun activity, possibly lose focus if activity in beginning |

Part 4 Reflection:
I don’t believe Christine was an effective leader. She missed some major contributions to the group that prevent her team from being a high performance team. First, she did establish rules for behavior. When Mike said his television show was more important than the team meetings and the group laughed, she should have stepped in and said that it wasn’t appropriate. She should have let Mike know that the group meetings were important to attend and it would not be tolerated that he miss them. She should have let the rest of the group know that by laughing they are allowing him to be disruptive and they are encouraging his bad behavior. Had she done this, Mike would have attended more meetings and would have contributed more to the group.
Christine also should have done more to bring the group together. Mike felt like the outcast of the group and Christine did nothing to change that. In the cafeteria, Mike was clearly upset that he felt that he was being left out. Christine didn’t try very hard to get Mike to join the group. She should have gone after him and encouraged the rest of the group to have Mike join them. This would have brought the team together and Mike would have felt like all members of the group wanted him there and to participate. Had this happened, Mike would have had a sense of belonging and would have contributed more to the group.
The last thing I think Christine could have done a better job of was establishing clear goals and expectations for each member of the group. Everyone contributed to the group but Mike. Mike made minimal contributions to the group by only providing notes. Other members like Christine, Janet, and Steve were highly motivated on their own and went above and beyond their part. Diane would only contribute meaningful ideas and input when directly asked. This leads me to believe that Christine didn’t establish clear goals for each member of the group. Had she done this, she wouldn’t be trying to figure out how to complete the project and still include Mike in the group.

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