Focus: Compare and contrast your individual and team’s experiences and results in the two Everest simulations using the following two course concepts; i) Groups & Teams ii) Leadership 1 1 executive summary This report has addressed and evaluated theoretical organisational and management concepts in areas of leadership and groups and teams and it can be concluded that the way a team interacts is directly influenced by team processes.
The different roles and characteristics that an effective leader must possess such as determining priorities, encouraging group interaction and cohesion and provide a source of enthusiasm for team tasks is discussed in this report.
Furthermore, we make a comparison between the leadership styles of both leaders where a task-orientated leadership style is utilised in the first simulation and a relationship-orientated approach implemented in the second. Both had its perceived benefits and disadvantages and we are able to critically evaluate which one worked best and why.
It is observed that our team’s development process somewhat resembled processes outlined by Tuckman’s model of group development.
Furthermore, even though a team contract enabled us to draft a strategy to follow, the simplicity and incomprehensiveness of the team contract and the fact that it was established after group norms had been cemented may have had an immaterial impact on the team’s overall performance. We discuss the issues of a virtual team and although several advantages are recognized, we found that the conventional face to face teams performed better on average.
The conventional face to face teams can be further advantaged by combining different aspects and elements of virtual teams into the structure. Contents Executive summary2 Introduction4 The simulation experience5 Results5 Leadership6 Style of Leadership6 Role of Leadership6 Groups and Teams8 Group Development8 Team Contracts and Planning9 Team Structure and Communication10 Conclusion12 REFERENCE LIST13 APPENDIX A: GOALS ON TRACK (1)15 APPENDIX B: GOALS ON TRACK (2)15 TEAM CONTRACT16 Introduction
The Everest Simulation is a virtual game which involved students climbing a computer-based “Mount Everest” in pre allocated teams of five to six members. It aimed to enhance the skillet of students through challenges by enabling them to reflect and make clear decisions. This report was commissioned to critically analyse the extent to which a theoretical framework could be applied to a leadership and teamwork simulation. The main goal of the simulation was to maximise the total objectives met by both the individual and team.
However, it was designed so that each member had conflicting objectives, hence objectives had to be prioritised and compromised. This meant that we had to work together as a team, amalgamate our collective resources and evaluate our decisions during the course of the simulation. The simulation was completed twice to allow for different strategic approaches to be implemented and compared. Our team utilised a different strategic approach in each simulation, and although the second simulation saw the introduction of a team contract and a shared leadership style, the performance of the second simulation was lower than the first.
The following report aims to put forward my analysis of my personal as well as team experiences and the outcomes, and examine areas of leadership and effective team management, integrated with theoretical organisational and management concepts. Through this analysis, we able to gain a better understanding of the complex and dynamic processes which govern both individual and group behaviour. the simulation experience This report attempts to summarise the findings from the observations and results of our Everest Simulation and use it as a basis for analysis.
Our team consisted of six people, whom we have had no prior group experience with and were allocated one of the following roles: team leader, a physician, a marathoner, an environmentalist, a photographer and an observer. Team members needed to progress through stages, each requiring a course of action which had to be clearly thought through. We recorded our results and similarities and differences from managerial theory could then be identified and explained. Results
In the first simulation, there was an overemphasis on individual task completion and due to the lack of planning beforehand; we were oblivious to the fact that each group member had conflicting goals. There was minimal group discussion and decision making was centralised around the leader. We did not effectively use all available resources, due to the ambiguity of each medicine’s purpose and as such the correct medicine was not administered to the corresponding symptom. There was a low level of conflict that was observed in our team.
A course of faulty decisions meant that one team member had to be rescued off. Despite all this, team and individual goal achievement scored average. Individual goal achievement was 80% but team goal achievement as 65%. The second simulation called for an improvement in planning and strategic decision making. A more aggressive and team orientated approach was introduced which allowed for democratic discussion and shared decision making. Levels of team conflict were again at a low, and the establishment of a team contract improved strategic planning but was not reflected in the final outcome of the simulation.
Once again, a team member had to be lifted off due to further decisional mistakes and the rest of the team were able to summit. In this second simulation, team goal achievement downgraded slightly to 63%, but individual goal achievement improved to 86%. Leadership Style of Leadership My role as a physician and an environmentalist during both simulations did not provide me with the formal power or status as a leader, however I was able to witness and observe first hand, the approaches that each leader took in each simulation and contrast the differences in results in both.
The evolution of leadership has generated two major leadership styles: the relationship-orientated approach, targeted on developing teamwork, confidence and trust within the group; and the task-orientated approach, which is a driver for direction and aims to maximize quality and performance (Collier & Esteban, 2000, p208). The leader of the first simulation encompassed the task oriented leadership style which promoted efficiency, productivity and reliability (Yukl & Lepsinger, 2005, p363) and although we were able to achieve a higher result, we lacked cohesion and interaction.
The excessive stress on task achievement may work negatively and discourage risk taking and even diminish motivation. The leader of the second simulation embraced a relationship-oriented style, intending to improve team relationships (Yukl & Lepsinger, 2005, p363) through the increased collaboration and interaction between members, evident through increased group discussion and consensus voting.
Furthermore, it can be observed that the leader is attempting to create more of a shared leadership defined by as a dynamic, interactive influence process among individuals in groups for which the objective is to lead one another to the achievement of group or organizational goals or both. The leader’s perception towards leadership is further supported by Collier and Esteban (2000) stating that shared responsibility implies shared purposes and a shared commitment to pursue the common good. Role of Leadership
Leadership is an important determinant in impacting the success of a team and its performance as determined by the effectiveness of the team leader (Trent 2004, p. 94). According to Nienaber (2010), an effective leader must possess the skillet to put forward judgment and direction, and also the ability to access the importance of a task over another. Through the observation of both leader’s performances during the two simulations, it is evident there is a relationship between team leadership and team performance.
Team leaders strongly affect group effort, cohesion, goal selection, performance norms, and goal attainment (Trent, 2004, p94). The leader is the first simulation failed in her attempts to uphold these responsibilities and as such the performance within the team was not consistent, with some scoring significantly higher than others. This was because direction and judgment was not effectively communicated and objectives were prioritised with the sacrifice of some team members.
Leaders also have a responsibility to improve group interaction, to discourage member complacency and to provide a source of enthusiasm for team tasks (Trent, 2004, p95). Through the implementation of a shared leadership in the second simulation, our team was overcome the problems associated with the first simulation through the utilisation of team discussions, which not only aided in the development of an understanding of the task assigned to our group but also allowed us to reflect on variables that affected the quality of team interaction and hence formulate performance strategies.
Effective leaders play a role in creating an environment that promotes group effort and constructive engagement between members (Trent, 2004, p95). This is definitely observed as there was a noticeable increase in our team discussions. Although we scored higher in our first simulation than our second, we measured a significant increase in the interaction within the team, further improved by better communication channels and greater autonomy within the team. Groups and Teams Group Development As a task force, our formal group was created to accomplish the task of completing both Everest simulations.
Tuckman’s model of group development incorporating the five sequential stages resembles the evolution of our team and can be applied to our team’s experience to a certain degree. The three stages of forming, norming and performing within our Everest team were observed in simulation one and were consistent with what was advocated by Tuckman’s model. The forming stage is characterized by the pre-Everest activities, where we were given the opportunity to meet and bond with each other, as well as discuss the strategies we might utilize during simulation one.
By the first Everest simulation, our team had already ascertained a set of well-defined norms and expectations. We had established a time and location where we would meet for both simulations, in-class discussions were democratic and email correspondence was the accepted medium by which we would communicate. According to Kozlowski and Bell (2003, p350), these norms that has arisen in our team were the by-products of various work-based and social interactions which took place during the group development process. Consequently, this lead to a transition into the performing phase, where Tuckman (1965, p. 90) describes as a period of ‘mutual task interaction’; with ‘a minimum of emotional interference’ as our group entity sought to ‘support rather than hinder’. Everest groups began as task forces, classified under the natural group setting and thus at the completion of the second simulation, we enter the adjourning phase, with a main focus on debriefing and discussing the outcome of the whole situation However, it was observed that the storming phase was virtually non-existent during both simulations which marked a distinct deviation from Tuckman’s model.
The absence of group conflict may have been more detrimental, than beneficial to our performance, as it hindered us the capability to generate a wider range of strategies and opinions, resulting in a substandard performance strategy. This could be mainly attributable to the fact that we were unfamiliar with fellow members and thus we were reluctant to share and voice out dissent or disagreements. Team Contracts and Planning The first simulation was flawed by a misunderstanding of the team objective, a lack of planning before the simulation and an overemphasis on individual goals rather than team goals.
We neglected and were oblivious to the bonus point challenges as we were blinded by the information in front of us given and went ahead without evaluating other sources of information, demonstrating the anchoring effect (Kahneman & Tversky 1974). Furthermore, the collation of individual success is essential in the determination of overall team performance (Wolfgang & Morhart, 2008, p103) and this is reflective in the fact that a few individual group members did significantly better than others.
Despite this, and the fact that the environmentalist needed to be rescued, we managed to score 65% as a team. Mathieu and Rapp (2009, p. 90) speculated that in order to enhance team performance, it is necessary for team members to produce superior work and engage in positive intra-group interaction. The introduction of the team contract in the second simulation brought about an important role. It assimilated a set of expectations regarding leadership, communication and group processes while simultaneously holding team members accountable to a comprehensive framework.
Through this, we were able to conquer problems faced in the first simulation as we efficiently utilized our communication systems to channel strategic information and disperse our knowledge and thoughts (Alge, Wiethoff & Klein, 2003, p. 29). We developed a strategy which calculated the tradeoff between achieving the goal of one team member’s compared to another and by allocating the weights of each objective; we met at a consensus that our main priority was to gain as much points as we can by minimising the compromisation of team goals. Kahneman & Tversky 1974). Nonetheless, even if our team performance strategies were well developed (Mathieu and Rapp, 2009, p. 90), the incomprehensiveness of the team contract may have been an attributable factor to the lower team score we achieved. This is consistent with the findings of Mathieu and Rapp (2009, p. 90) whom stated that team contracts were meant to have been utilised as a tool to solidify group norms during the team’s foundational stages.
In actual fact, the team contracts were introduced after the first Everest simulation, where group norms had already been established. Therefore, the implementation of the team contract at this point in time would have had an immaterial impact on the team’s overall performance. Team Structure and Communication During the first simulation, we decided to structure our group as a conventional face-to-face team, where we employed technology as a complementary aspect (Arnison & Miller, 2002, p170).
By utilizing this structure, we were able to enhance the communication of the team without hindering the working and social interactions between the members. The choice to conduct our Everest simulation face to face was an important factor that showed the linkage between the quality of communication and the resulting team performance, as it supported our need for negotiation, discussion and decision making throughout the course of the simulation.
We recognised the inconvenience of virtual networks in regards to discussions and information sharing and we also acknowledged the unique aspects of face to face communication: the transmission of values, attitudes and commitment (Alge, Wiethoff & Klein, 2003, p. 29). This definitely worked to our advantage as our choice of medium enabled the clear transfer of information, interpretation of non-verbal communication and an instantaneous modification of decisions (Huebner, Varey, & Wood, 2008, p207).
With the intention to replicate the simulation conditions as the first, we encountered an unexpected setback with which a member of the team was not able to meet up at the specified time due to some personal issues. Thus, he was the only member of the team to complete the simulation via pure virtual networks. The ability of team members to interact at both the working and social levels was impeded by the virtual structure we were forced to employ (Arnison & Miller, 2002, p170).
This is accentuated in the second simulation where the ability to collaborate was restricted to a combination of non-verbal and face to face communication. This worked against us as it deprived us of the ability to be able to infer the perception of our missing group member and hence we were unable to understand and empathise with his perspectives with respect to decisions made, which is further added to the fact that he held the important role of a physician and decisions to administer medicine was not properly communicated.
Arnison and Miller (2002) states that a lack of productive interaction between team members can prohibit the effectiveness of the team, which accurately reflects the situation at hand because he was not very proactive with using the in-system chat box and it was extremely difficult to communicate with him at times. Arnison and Miller (2002) further goes to state that team members working from home may feel isolated from other team members because of their locality and can cause the loss of identify as a team member. Conclusion
Despite the backwards trend in the performance of the second simulation percentage-wise, we are relatively happy with other aspects of the experience. Interaction between team members was positive and there was a significant increase in group cohesion, reflecting the minimal amount of conflict that was observed. All members were able to freely express their ideas within the group, and all members contributed suggestions, many bringing benefits to our simulation. The Everest simulation was a highly valuable experience enabling students to understand processes at the individual and group level.
Through our experiences of both simulations, it can be shown that elements of the leadership and team work theories can be applied with varying degrees of success. Furthermore, a reflection of my performance has enabled me to identify weaknesses in my techniques and strategies and given me the opportunity to refine them. REFERENCE LIST Alge, B. , Wiethoff, C. & Klein, H. 2003, ‘When does the medium matter? Knowledge-building experiences and opportunities in decision-making teams’, Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, vol. 91, pp. 26-37. Arnison, L. , & Miller, P. (2002).
Virtual Teams: a virtue for the conventional team. Journal of Workplace Learning , vol 14, no. 4, p166-173. Collier, J. , & Esteban, R. (2000). Systematic Leadership: ethical and effective. Leadership & Organization Development Journal , vol 21, no. 4, p207-215. Huebner, H. , Varey, R. , & Wood, L. (2008). The significance of communicating in enacting decisions. Journal of Communication Management , vol 12, no. 3, p204-223. Kahneman, D. & Tversky, A. 1974, ‘Judgement under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases’, Science, vol. 185, pp. 1124-1131. Kozlowski, S. W. J. , & Bell, B. S. (2003).
Work groups and teams in organizations. In W. C. Borman & D. R. Ilgen (Eds. ), Handbook of psychology: Industrial and organizational psychology (Vol. 12, 333–375). New York: Wiley. Mathieu, J. E. & Rapp, T. L. (2009). ‘Laying the Foundation for Successful Team Performance Trajectories: The Roles of Team Charters and Performance Strategies. ’ Journal of Applied Psychology. 94 (1), p90-103 Nienaber, H. (2010). Conceptualisation of management and leadership. Management Decision , vol 48, no. 5, p661-675. Trent, R. (2004). Team Leadership at the 100-foot level. Team Performance Management , vol 10, no. /6,p 94-103. Tuckman, B. W. (1965). ‘Developmental Sequence in Small Groups. ’ Psychological Bulletin. 63 (6), p-384-399 Wolfgang, J. , & Morhart, F. (2008). Navigating towards Team Success. Team Performance Management , vol 14 , no. 1/2, p102-108. Yukl, G. , & Lepsinger, R. (2005). Why Integrating the Leading and Managing Role Is Essential for Organisational Effectiveness. Organizational Dynamics , vol 34, no. 4, p361-375. APPENDIX A: GOALS ON TRACK (1) Goals| Points| Reach Summit | 2| Complete climb without needing to be rescued| 3| Avoid getting frostbite| 1| All climbers spend extra day at any camp| 1|
Your Points for Personal Goals | 7| Round 2: Medical Challenge Points| 0| Round 3: Weather Challenge Points| 1| Round 4: Oxygen Tank Allocation Points| 0| Your Total Points| 8| Your Total Possible Points| 10| Percent of Your Goals Achieved| 80%| Percent of Team Goals Achieved| 65%| APPENDIX B: GOALS ON TRACK (2) Goals| Points| Complete climb without needing to be rescued| 3| Spend extra day at Camp 4 during ascent| 1| Your Points for Personal Goals | 4| Round 2: Medical Challenge Points| 1| Round 3: Weather Challenge Points| 0| Round 4: Oxygen Tank Allocation Points| 1| Your Total Points| 6| Your Total Possible Points| 7|
Percent of Your Goals Achieved| 86%| Percent of Team Goals Achieved| 63%| TEAM CONTRACT TEAM CONTRACT Everest 2 Team Name: Team 135 | Name| Role| Contact| 1| Casey Robinson| Leader| 2| Edward Yeun| Marathon Runner| 3| Edwin Cheung| Photographer| 4| Jennifer Kong| Observer| 5| Josh Abbott| Physician | 6| Andrew Collignon| Environmentalist| Team Procedures 1. Day, time, and location of team members for Everest 2: Monday 6pm 23rd April. 2. Preferred method of communication before and during Everest 2 (i. e. , e-mail, mobile, chat function, face-to-face in a specified location). A) Before the climb * Email
B) During the climb * Face to face C) After the climb * Email / Face to face 3. Team goal for Everest 2: * To maximise our team goal percentage in comparison with first simulation attempt. * To achieve more than 65% of team goals * To communicate all ideas/issues/problems and solutions that are relevant to the simulation. 4. Decision-making policy (By consensus? By majority vote? By team leader? ): * Group discussion team leader makes final decision, Team Participation 1. How will we resolve conflict? * Discussion and sharing of thoughts between conflicting team members, team leader acts as mediator . Strategies for encouraging/including ideas and debate from all team members: * Brain storming / Discussion of ideas. 3. Strategies for achieving our goal: * Identify individual goals for each team member, and communicating which goals will be of most benefit to the team. * provide a forum for ideas to be put forward for each team member * Team leader to act as mediator, to ensure all team members are contributing to discussion. 4. Preferences for leadership (team leader only, shared leadership): * One leader )team leader) as per voting . decision making to involve entire team, team leader makes absolute decisions in cases of indecision between team members Personal Accountability 1. Expected individual attendance, punctuality, and participation at Everest 2 * All team members to be on time for simulation. * Respond to all emails from team members. * Everyone must share their opinion before we move to the next stage. 2. What are the consequences for lack of engagement in Everest 2? * Observer to report any non compliance to team leader who will address it with offending team member
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