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Gm591 Case Study

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A Case Study
Ventryce Hampton-Taylor
Keller School of Management
Vent1980@live.com
GM 591-Leadership and Organization Behavior
Professor Kenneth Goldsmith
January 21, 2012

The first stage of team development is the forming stage. In this stage, there's lots of exploration as group members get to know one another. There's a focus on similarities and differences and first impressions are key as people try to figure out the similarities and differences. Because everything is new there is a fair amount of confusion and anxiety as people try to put their best foot forward. As a result, productivity will be lower. The second stage of team development is the storming stage. This stage is characterized by a bid for power. Each group member is wondering whether or not he or she will be respected and this plays out in competition, tension and disunity. Relationships become strained and differences become uncomfortable. The leader is challenged for control. The third stage is the norming stage. In the norming stage, the group has begun to be effective. The focus of each individual is on "how can I help the group?" Because of this, there is increased cohesion and more collaboration. The fourth stage is the performing stage. At this point, the group is asking "How can we do our best?" and is filled with enthusiasm and focused on creative problem solving. Characteristics include harmony, productivity, effective problem-solving and full development of the potential of the group and the individuals in the group. Adjourning is the last stage and is the break-up of the group, hopefully when the task is completed successfully, its purpose fulfilled; everyone can move on to new things, feeling good about what's been achieved.
The group is in the storming stage at this point of the case study. When Mike showed up at the lunch table thinking that the other members were meeting without him, he didn’t feel a part of the group. He also felt that way when the other members were joking around before class began. As the team leader, Christine is finding it hard to get everyone involved. Mike can’t make it to most of their meetings, only to send rough notes to Christine. If Christine had an understanding of the stages of group development, then she would have known to set group ground rules, which are expectations about how work will be done, decisions will be made, and how people will treat each other. Knowing she was in this stage would have given her a wonderful opportunity to be sure that the right people were in the right place using the right process. The leader's main task in the storming stage is to coach group members to get them on board and organize work so that it can become effective. If she were familiar with the stage of group development she would have figured out her team was in this stage and could have focused on team building to ensure that people got to know one another and not got stuck in seeing each other as competitors. Christine would have talk to the Professor so they could directly address the conflict within the group and poor communication styles.
Tension and disunity are the primary problems. As a leader, Christine should have understood that some members may feel overwhelmed by how much there is to do, or uncomfortable with the approach being used. Some may react by questioning how worthwhile the goal of the team is, and by resisting taking on tasks. The secondary problem is an issue of inclusion. It seems to me that Christine did not realize that she was working in a heterogeneous group. FIRO-B theory examines differences in how people relate to one another based on their needs to express and receive feelings of inclusion, control, and affection. (Organizational Behavior, 11th Edition. John Wiley & Sons p. 171). If she were familiar with this theory, she may have guessed that part of Mike’s low productivity was because he didn’t feel included.
Two possible solutions to conquer the tension and disunity in this group are: * Resolve conflicts quickly and fairly- Establish process and structure, and work to smooth conflict and build good relationships between team members. Conflicts need to be resolved immediately if the group is to function properly. * Establish a common goal-Take a few moments to go over the group’s purpose and to determine what each individual would like to get out of it. Direct the team and establish objectives clearly.
People choose to perform the way they do because of some internal or external motivation. People are motivated to change their behavior when given clear, sharply focused objectives. People need to thoroughly understand how to perform their functions correctly.
Management of a group requires the leader to have an idea on how people are motivated. As a team leader, your aim is to help your team reach and sustain high performance as soon as possible. The success of a group activity will rely not only on an individual but on how the group works together. Christine was not an effective leader. She was not able identify which stage of the team development her group was at. She didn’t understand what they needed to do to move from forming to storming, norming and, finally, performing stage.

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