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The Forgotten Group Member

Essay by   •  February 1, 2014  •  Research Paper  •  1,998 Words (8 Pages)  •  2,690 Views

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Part I: Group Development

Identify and summarize the stages of group development

Team development has been defined by the business dictionary as an enhancement of the effectiveness of work groups, by improving goal and role clarification as well as interpersonal processes. However, the development of teams is an ongoing process because the composition of team may undergo a continuous change. All teams are dynamic in nature than they take time to come together, to form, develop and grow. Having said this, team members pass through several stages for the development of the team and there has actually been a lot of research completed in order to identify such stages. The model studied in our textbook was developed by Dr. Bruce Tuckman in 1965 who published five stages of team development. Dr. Tuckman identified these stages as (1) forming, (2) storming, (3) norming, (4) performing and (5) adjourning. Let's briefly examine what is done in each of these five stages before proceeding to analyzing the conflict

As seen in figure 1.1, the forming stage constitutes a period of time in which group members become acquainted with each other. In addition, team members consider the contributions that they can make towards helping the team achieve its goal. Group roles are established as well as the types of behaviors that will be considered acceptable. In a way, this could be interpreted as setting clear the expectations that are to be met according to the role that is assigned to each team member.

The second stage of this model is the storming stage. The storming stage is described as one that involves high emotionality as well as tension among its group members (Schermerhorn, 2012). Team members may begin to have disagreements in regards to the mission, vision or simply having different approaches towards specific situations or issues. This combined with the fact that the team members are getting to know each other better can cause strained relationships and conflict. Because of the changes that may occur within the team, it sometimes can give way to hostility and fighting.

The third stage to this model, norming stage, is also referred to as the initial integration stage. After passing the turmoil of the storming stage, team members try to preserve the positive balance within the team and begin to work together as a coordinated team. In some cases, attempting to hold the team together while preserving the harmony within in it becomes more important sometimes than accomplishing its tasks or goals. As a continuation to the norming stage, it is followed by the performing stage, which is also considered as the total integration stage. Team members become effective in dealing with complex tasks while also being able to manage internal disagreement in efficient ways (Schermerhorn, 2012). In addition, our text book identifies a relationship with the level of total integration and the emergence of maturity within the team. When a team has reached a level of total integration, it is likely that it will have high scores on the criteria of the team maturity as well.

The last stage to this model is the adjourning stage. This final stage was added by Dr. Tuckman in the 1970's. This stage marks the ending; when the team members have completed their mission/purpose and it is time for each to pursue other goals and/or projects.

Applying the concepts that were learned within this chapter, I would consider that Christine's team is currently in the storming stage. As identified in our textbook, this stage is partially characterized by a tension that emerges within the team members. I believe that a certain level of tension began making its way to the surface when Mike, for specific reasons, was unable to attend to their group meetings. In addition, tension was also created by Mike expecting Christine to do part, or most of the work that was delegated to him and was part of his role/responsibility within the group. Lastly, hostility and fighting may be possible issues that could occur after Mike ran into his group members in the cafeteria and saw that they had gotten together without extending him an invitation as well.

Christine may have benefited from having knowledge of these stages and could have practiced such in her role as leading this group towards completing their assignment. If she would have had some understanding of these stages, it may be possible that she would have managed certain situations with a different approach. It seemed as if she was not leading the group or reminding her team members of their responsibility. Rather she was simply accepting the uncomfortable situations in which some of her team members, such as Mike, were putting her into. Having knowledge of these stages would have encouraged her to take action when needed, guiding her group effectively while also managing conflict/tension efficiently. In addition, if she was aware of these five stages, she would have been able to establish a clear set of rules that would have established a guide for her group while also setting limits to what will be considered as acceptable behaviors and actions of her group members.

Part II: Problem Identification

Identify key problems

The most evident problem within this case study is the social loafing. Our textbook explains that social loafing occurs when people work less hard in groups than they would individually. Considering that Christine empathized with Mike's situation about his course, work and girlfriend issues, Christine's passive and understanding attitude was being taken advantage of from Mike's part. Unless there are extreme and inevitable circumstances, such as a death in the family, Mike had a responsibility with his team members. This included participating in all meetings as well as being responsible for his own work. Missing most of the group meetings and handing Christine notes about his ideas to discuss in the group for Mike are not ways to fulfill ones role and responsibility with a group. Given that Christine demonstrated an empathetic attitude towards Mike's situation, she was taken advantage of. Not only did she have to comply with her work load, but also



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