Read the guidelines and elaborate on the points to make it a fluent piece of reflective writing. Approach it from a organizational behavioral standpoint. The only sources needed are to apply organizational behaviour concepts.
Norms in Teams
I undertook a group project with three other colleagues on the breakfast club’s movie during this course. Our interaction was formal; thus, we had to establish team norms that would guide our behaviors towards each other. The team’s norms were mostly prescriptive, and they included respect for each other, open-mindedness, organization, active participation, and transparency during the project. The group’s most critical norms were active decision-making and organization, which explains why we named ourselves “the organized ones”.
Our team established these norms during our first online meeting, where each member proposed the rules and guidelines that they believed would be essential in mutual interaction. Some, such as open-mindedness, became necessary in our subsequent meetings; thus, the members incorporated them into the team norms. As a team, we ensured that these norms were maintained by revisiting them frequently before every meeting and throughout the project’s life.
Reflecting on the nature of our team, it is clear that each member had a desirable personality. The most visible personalities in the team were extraversion and agreeableness. Most notably, each team member was social, energetic, and more than willing to collaborate with others in the group project. This personality made it easier for the team to work together towards a common goal without feeling pressured to do so. The other common personality that was manifested among all group members was agreeableness. It was astounding the way in which the team was cooperative, kind, and considerate of each other despite our varying backgrounds. The two types of personalities fostered positive interactions based on achieving a common goal rather than being competitive with each other.
While extraversion and agreeableness were the most dominant personalities, each team member likely had other secondary personalities that might not have been manifested during the project. Nonetheless, despite the differences in our personalities, there lacked evident conflict within the team. It is remarkable the way in which we managed to interact and work towards a common goal despite our varying personalities.
Based on an analysis of the group, it is evident that the team adequately upheld diversity during the project. Most notably, the team consisted of two boys and two girls, a clear manifestation of diversity in gender. Furthermore, the group was ethnically and culturally diverse because it constituted individuals from the U.K., U.S. East Coast, and West Coast. In essence, the gender and ethnic composition of our team made the group diverse.
Undeniably, diversity had a positive effect on the group’s experience. Martin (2014) averred that diversity provides an organization with a sound and vast knowledge base because each member has a varying way of thinking and analyzing a matter. True to Martin’s premise, our team’s diversity helped us gather different opinions from each member. For example, students from the U.S. East and West Coast and the U.K. gave their idea about the project based on their experiences and observation of issues as they occurred in their nation and states. Ultimately, the team’s varying views and contributions helped us to develop a solid and well-thought presentation.
However, conflict was inevitable, considering the diversity of the group. Fortunately, the team only experienced positive conflict, which, in my view, was constructive. For example, as we analyzed the movie, each student had a varying idea of practices that constituted positive organizational behavior, which likely arose from the different cultures, values, beliefs, and ethics across countries. Nonetheless, such conflict was constructive and highly encouraged because it helped the group generate new ideas for tackling the project and creating a comprehensive presentation. Furthermore, the positive conflict and diversity in thinking were ideal for the team members to practice creativity by analyzing certain situations from multiple lenses.
Our team based task performance during the project’s life on delegation of duties. At the start of the project, we outlined the task and divided the activities evenly among ourselves. Although every student was willing to perform their duty as required, our delegating approach reinforced the members’ commitment to the project. Furthermore, the delegation of duties fostered accountability, as every member was required to provide an account of their work’s progress. Delegation of responsibilities also boosted productivity and reduced redundancy as each important task was identified and assigned to the members appropriately.
Besides dividing the work, we tried to hold regular virtual meetings, especially as we neared the presentation’s deadline. The planned follow-up meetings’ essence was to monitor each other’s progress and practice to ensure that everyone was on track and that each job component had been tackled effectively. During the follow-up meetings, it was remarkable to see the way in which each group member went beyond their role requirements and gathered adequate information from outside sources to support the analysis. Furthermore, it was fascinating that besides their assigned tasks, the group members were willing to assist each other if one member encountered challenges in their work. This commitment and the follow-up meetings were the primary facilitators of the effectiveness with which all the group members performed their duties.
Motivation plays a critical role in driving one to undertake a given task, either because it is fulfilling or because one expects a positive outcome in the end. Scholars argue that motivation is the inherent force that drives people to achieve their ambitions or a psychological process that causes arousal, direction, and persistence of behavior (Shoraj & Llaci, 2015). Upon reflection of the project, it is evident that all the signs of motivation as described by scholars were visible in the group. Most notably, each student was persistent in attending and being active during the group meetings. Undeniably, my teammates and I were strongly motivated to work hard, which explains why we pursued a collective effort in completing the project in the best way possible.
Individuals may draw motivation from different sources, from intrinsic processes, instrumental motivation, and goal internalization. In my view, the primary source of inspiration for our team was the goal to attain a good grade. Notably, each member was determined to get a good grade for the project. We all acknowledged that one member’s failure to deliver as expected would adversely affect the group’s performance. Therefore, this awareness and goal internalization motivated the team to collaborate and develop a solid presentation.
Overall, there lacked visible differences in the group’s goals. From the start of the project, every member was focused on a common goal; to attain a good grade. In my view, the similarity in our goals was of significant importance as it boosted our morale to complete the project. Arguably, if each member had a varying goal, they would lack the enthusiasm to collaborate and complete the assigned tasks. Furthermore, the common goal likely fostered a feeling of trust in each’s member’s capability to undertake the assigned task effectively.
From a personal view, there lacked significant stressors during the project’s life. However, as we neared the final presentation, our group experienced a brief naturalistic stressor. Scholars posit that this type of stressor involves “a person confronting a real-life short-term challenge such as an academic examination” (Palomba, Daolio, Romeo, Battaglia, Marcia & Sala, 2018, p.1). In this context, the stressor stemmed from the fact that our group was not as prepared as it ought to have been, as mentioned by our professor during our first group meeting. As a result of this stressor, the group experienced a slight turmoil that lasted for a short while. Nevertheless, each team member’s resilience helped us overcome the stressor, revert to the right track, and acted as our group’s name suggested- “the organized ones”.
Despite being a formal group, our team lacked a clear leader. In my view, the team exhibited a laissez-faire type of leadership style. As posited by scholars, laissez-faire describes a “hands-off let things-ride” approach, an absence of leadership, avoidance of intervention, and responsibility (Tosunoglu & Ekmekci, 2016). Similarly, in our team’s scenario, there lacked a definite leader that left decision-making in all the team members’ hands. In my view, this leadership approach was effective because it enabled each member to take part in making critical decisions that affected the group. Furthermore, the “hands-off let things-ride” type of approach fostered a feeling of equality and importance as each member felt in charge of the group. Besides, to avoid some of the pitfalls of laissez-faire leadership, such as lack of clear group direction, our team ensured that each project’s phase was discussed comprehensively during the virtual meetings and that all concerns and clarification were made before proceeding to the next phase.
Conflicts are sometimes typical in groups, especially where there exists diversity. However, in our group’s case, there were no visible conflicts among the members. In my view, our team mitigated all group discords by adopting ideal practices during the project. For example, it is common for struggles over control to fuel conflicts among individuals (Karthikeyan & Thomas, 2017). Also, poor communication, unfair treatment, and lack of joint opportunities can result in conflicts during team projects. Our group’s approach towards collective decision making rather than selective control and open communication through virtual meeting likely mitigated the emergence of disputes during the project. Furthermore, our decision to divide the tasks evenly and grant each person an opportunity to share their views during the meetings likely played a significant role in mitigating group conflicts.
Despite the lack of dispute, our team experienced coordination challenges due to differences in our time zones during the project’s initial phase. For example, I was in the U.K. while the other members were located in the U.S. East and West coast. Our differences in location and time zones posed a challenge in setting an ideal meeting time. However, we eventually overcame this issue by brainstorming the fairest meeting time that would be convenient for every group member.
As a team pursuing a common goal, there were several instances in which critical decisions had to be made. Decision-making in the group was mainly based on consensus. Notably, every decision was passed after the team discussed and arrived at an agreement. In my view, this decision-making approach was ideal because it fostered inclusive participation and equalized power among all the members.
Based on an analysis of the group, it is evident that there were no traces of social loafing. Social loafing is defined as the practice of group members making the least of their abilities because of their involvement in a group task (Cicekdagi, Akgemci & Yilmaz, 2018). In this context, the team members exhibited synergy whereby they cooperated to produce a solid presentation and performed to their level best despite the project being a group task.
As noted, the project tasks were divided evenly among the team members. Furthermore, there lacked a definite leadership structure. Therefore, each team member assumed all the fundamental roles applicable to teams. Most notably, each team member was a facilitator, arbitrator, and notetaker during the virtual meetings.
Power and Influence
The team balanced the issue of power and influence throughout the project’s life. On the one hand, power refers to an individual’s capacity to influence others, and it may stem from the former being in a higher position than the rest or in possession of skills that others may not have. On the other hand, influence is a person’s ability to affect the manner in which other people behave or think. In our group’s scenario, power was balanced by ensuring that each individual was equally influential in the team. Besides, all the team members were knowledgeable on the topic of discussion, which implies that none of the members could use knowledge to exert power in the group.
Cicekdagi, H.I., Akgemci, T., & Yilmaz, A. (2018). Relationship between social loafing behaviors on organizational culture type: An evaluation on search and rescue employees. International Journal of Social Sciences, 7(1), 34-48. doi:10.20472/SS.2018.7.1.003
Karthikeyan, C., & Thomas, P. (2017). Evaluative study on workplace conflict resolution strategies: A leadership perspective. International Journal of Management, I.T. and Engineering, 7(7), 198-217. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/332934402_Evaluative_Study_on_Workplace_Conflict_Resolution_Strategies_A_Leadership_Perspective
Martin, G.C. (2014). The effects of cultural diversity in the workplace. Journal of Diversity Management, 9(2), 89-92. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjPrI_ozcPtAhWPFxQKHcmFBe0QFjAAegQIAhAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fclutejournals.com%2Findex.php%2FJDM%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F8974%2F8934&usg=AOvVaw3QHupZpHKNhbSacYkt0KeC
Palomba, S., Daolio, J., Romeo, S., Battaglia, F.A., Marci, R., & Sala, G.B. (2018). Lifestyle and fertility: The influence of stress and quality of life on female fertility. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, 16(113), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12958-018-0434-y
Shoraj, D., & Llaci, S. (2015). Motivation and its impact on organizational effectiveness in Albanian businesses. Sage Open, 5(2), 1-8. doi:10.1177/2158244015582229
Tosunoglu, H., & Ekmekci, O.T. (2016). Laissez-faire leaders and organizations: How does laissez-faire leader erode the trust in organizations? Journal of Economics, Finance and Accounting, 3(1), 89-99. Retrieved from https://dergipark.org.tr/en/download/article-file/757422