Individual assignment

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    Management
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    Undergraduate
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12PROJECT TEAM ASSESSMENT

Project Team Assessment

Introduction

In the prior stages of my growth as a project team member, I went through various difficult groups although one specifically sticks out from the rest. I was among the members of a project team assessing a case study of David Jones Company and the methods in which the members approached the discussion had its ups and downs. There is a lot that we learnt from each other and at the same time there was quite some issues that we would like to have changed. At first, as a group, we weren’t assigned rules in which we had to follow when attempting the project. We divided the project equally amongst ourselves each of the project team member tackling a problem.

In the course of the research, I realized the importance of proper and effective communication when dealing with a project together as a team. A number of issues cropped up as we went with our work such as incoherence in our information among others. The issues that came up due to lack of communication was the vague division of work amongst the team members (Anderson and Price, 2001). Therefore, this assessment will highlight the experience we had as a project team emphasizing on the issues that worked well as those that didn’t. Furthermore, it will utilize a number of theories to evaluate the development and functioning of the project group. Finally, it will discuss approaches we would have taken in order to improve both group satisfaction and performance.

Project Group Experiences

Benefits of the Project Group

While working on the group project as a team, there was a number of things we were able to learn from each other which included: fostering creativity and learning, promoting a broader sense of ownership and encouraging healthy risk-taking (Anderson and Price, 2001).

Fostering Creativity and Learning

I was able to learn that working on a project as a group encouraged thriving of creativity amongst the team members because we were able to brainstorm ideas as a unit rather than individually (Anderson and Price, 2001). This activity eradicated any form of stale perspectives since we were able to combine exclusive viewpoints from every team member creating more effective solutions. Furthermore, I also recognized that we learnt quite a lot working as a team by maximizing our knowledge through sharing (Anderson and Price, 2001). Additionally, every team member learnt new skills which they would apply later in their personal and professional life.

Promoting a Broader Sense of Ownership

In some way, the project group encouraged a sense of ownership since every member felt proud of their own contribution to the discussion topic. We were able to handle challenges with regard to the David Jones case which promoted participation amongst the group members which brought about self-fulfillment (Anderson and Price, 2001). Additionally, it also brought about loyalty among the team members.

Encouraging Healthy Risk-Taking

Working as a project group encouraged healthy risk taking because allowing the members to take more risks since they had the back-up of the whole project group in case a failure occurred. I learnt that when working on a project all by yourself, one develops a sense of insecurity limiting them what they already know (Anderson and Price, 2001). This is entirely because they are afraid of bearing the consequences and the blames all by themselves in case of a project failure. Therefore, encouraging health risk-taking worked well for our project group.

Difficulty in Project Group

On the other hand, my project group has three man conflict areas namely: misaligned activities, defensive and over-reactive communication and abuse of power. These three problems came about due to ineffective facilitation. Based on my group experience, these three issues require more attention in preparation of an effective project team (Ringer, 2002).

Misaligned activities

First and foremost, I experienced misalignment of activities as the first issue that brought about conflict within our project group. We had a lot of unclear objectives on how we would have handled the project (Ringer, 2002). Due to the lack of a common purpose, I realized a huge wave of dissatisfaction as well as frustration within my team members. Furthermore, due to misaligned activities, every member of the project group had different perspectives on the case of David Jones as well as varying goals and objectives (Ringer, 2002). This kept the team revolving over the same issue since everyone wanted their idea to be applied

Defensive and Over-reactive Communication

My group members were not at their best especially when dealing with matters of over-reactive communication. Some of the members had the capability of getting ‘under the skin’ of other members which often resulted to defensiveness as well as unsuitable reactions from the afflicted (Ringer, 2002). This issue often led to the reduction of some member’s degree of free attention. Therefore, this issue led to the reduction in the member’s ability to serve the group and at the same time distracted the group members from focusing on the objectives and purpose of the group work.

Abuse of Power

Furthermore, at the beginning of the assessment, we were able to appoint one of our group members as a temporary team leader. The appointed team leader mismanaged the powers given to her by failing to regard the views of other team members (Ringer, 2002). The team leader was biased especially when it came to considering the perspectives of the other members regarding the David Jones case. Furthermore, the team leader abused her powers since she failed to recognize diversity and at times made incorrect assumptions about matter of the group (Ringer, 2002). Abuse of power is not at all times deliberate although it doesn’t justify the leader’s actions whenever it occurred.

Theories and Models of Teamwork

Tuckman’s Teamwork Theory

Tuckman’s theory demonstrates the relationship that exists between group relationships and task force. It focuses of four fundamental phases namely: forming, storming, norming and performing. The theory indicates that in order to reach the final phase of performing for a project team, the team often experiences both the positives and negatives which is referred to as the storming phase (Kottler, 2004). The “forming” phase is considered the initial stage of any project group where group members haven’t yet familiarized themselves to each other. We faced quite a lot of challenges in this stage as a group since every group member was trying to find their position within the group (Kottler, 2004). Some group members even went ahead and tried sizing each other. Other group members queried themselves of why they were in this situation.

The second phase of this theory illustrates the aspect of storming. In this phase, project groups often face numerous challenges. For instance, in my project group, individuals started seeing themselves as a part of a team and the same time started challenging each other. In this stage, we lost a significant amount of focus on the task since numerous conflicts and confrontations emerged due to the differences among the group members (Kottler, 2004). Furthermore, Tuckman’s theory suggests that the norming phase is constantly characterized with a sense of “togetherness”. In this phase, my project members started establishing ground rules as well as the roles of members of the team. Lastly, Tuckman suggests that the final stage of performing, project groups often increase their performance since the members have resolved their disputes and have learnt to work together (Kottler, 2004). Therefore, my project group demonstrated a huge amount of maturity at the end and worked as a unit.

Social Identity Theory

Social identity theory of teamwork suggests that we ought to go beyond exploring individual’s psychology and determine how, when and why people describe themselves with regard to their group membership (Thomas, 2008a). Furthermore, this theory also asserts that we should determine how these memberships impact the individual’s behaviour within a project group. This theory demonstrates that classifying oneself in a certain group gives meaning to the behaviour of the individual thus developing a positively assessed social identity. In my project group, some members were seen to categorize themselves properly into the project group making themselves comfortable within the shortest time possible (Thomas, 2008a). Other group members were seen to practice in-group favoritism so as to improve their self-esteem.

Furthermore, social identity theory looks at both social and psychological elements which rely on the belief structure of the individual which are often defined by the applicable social structure (Thomas, 2008a). Therefore, people will tend to show social behaviour if they agree to social mobility beliefs where they comprehend the edges that exist between project groups. For example, one of our project group members comprehended the boundaries between male and female and thus attempted to dissociate herself from her gender in-group and went ahead performing her roles within her project group.

Maslow Theory

Maslow’s theory suggests that individuals cannot commit to move to the following need if the previous one has not been adequately met. This theory also states that there are various conditions which are required in order to meet the need of an individual such as; freedom to speak, justice, honesty, freedom to express and fairness (Thomas, 2008a). These conditions were well demonstrated within my project group. Some of the members were failed to perform their assigned roles regarding the project because their individual needs were not met by the other individuals within the project group. Therefore, Maslow’s theory considers a hierarchy of needs tool that can be able to motivate teamwork. This hierarchy of needs includes: survival, security, belonging, prestige and self-actualization (Thomas, 2008a).

In order to effectively motivate a team, one has to ensure that their survival needs are met. For instance, in my project group, most of the members were able to think for themselves. Secondly, the security needs of the project group members were adequately met because eventually, every contribution made by the members were put into consideration (Ringer, 2002). With regard to belonging needs, the group members didn’t complain much since the group members listened to each other’s point of view regarding the David Jones case. Furthermore, the prestige needs of an individual entails that a sense of respect and recognition has to be met before reaching self-actualization (Ringer, 2002). In my project group, respect was a bit of a challenge since some of the members were quite insecure in their contribution to the study topic. Lastly, self-actualization needs were adequately met within the group since every member was able to develop a skill or two after the discussion.

Belbin’s Team Roles Model

Belbin’s team role model suggests that by realizing ones role in a team, an individual has the ability to grow their strengths and at the same time manager their shortcomings in order to come up with a balanced team (Ringer, 2002). Therefore, in the case of my project group, most individuals wanted a particular role of being the team’s secretary since it was easy noting down the matters discussed in the project. This therefore unbalanced the team therefore, this model can be used to assign necessary roles to every team members so that any probable behavioural tension as well as weaknesses existing among the team members can be adequately addressed (Ringer, 2002).

How to Enhance Group Satisfaction and Performance

Firstly, regarding the issue of poor misaligned activities, the project group members should have been conscious of what they are doing and exhibit this deliberation via the discussion used, via cognizance of the operations within the group and also by expressing any form of hidden agendas (Jenkins and Jenkins, 2006). Furthermore, they should have promoted an awareness of individual stance and at the same time shaping good behaviours. Furthermore, the project group should have conducted an election first before starting the works and assigned duties to each and every member of the project group indicating the consequences one can undergo if he or she fails to perform their duties (Jenkins and Jenkins, 2006).

Secondly, the issue of defensive and over-reactive communication should have been handled through self-actualization. Every member of the project group should have learnt how to deal with their own doubts as well as their fears through acceptance of their own limitations and imperfections (Jenkins and Jenkins, 2006). Furthermore, project group members who were faced with resistance within the group should have chosen to heed to various voices that look at alternative explanations for the resistant behaviour instead of listening to the voices that point out both their inadequacies as well as their shortcomings (Jenkins and Jenkins, 2006). This would have assisted the group members to stay open and heighten their probability of finding ways forward.

Thirdly, the issue of power abuse should have been taken care of through increasing the members’ awareness regarding power and rank (Jenkins and Jenkins, 2006). This would help evade any issue connected with their abuse. It is very important for the individual assigned to be the leader to become very aware that both power and rank aren’t essentially bad nor is their misuse unavoidable. Therefore, if the leader of the project group could have been cognizant of their rank, they would have utilized it for their own benefit as well as that of the other group members (Jenkins and Jenkins, 2006).

How Learning can be transformed into Actions

First and foremost, in order to transform the learning process into action, school administration should come up with recognition programs. I would encourage such programs because they promote quality teamwork among group members (Anderson and Price, 2001). This can be done through rewarding and giving incentives to various groups that perform well. This will infuse the role of teamwork into the learning process thereby creating a more effective yet participative learning sessions. Furthermore, I encourage the integration of social activities into the learning process because it improves the way individuals discuss various matters amongst themselves (Anderson and Price, 2001). This would also build a sense of camaraderie amongst group members.

Furthermore, instructions have to be put in place that can deal with disputes that arise from project group members. These detailed instructions can empower team members to find solutions to matters efficiently and productively (Anderson and Price, 2001). For instance, with the presence of dispute instructions, it would encourage the members in conflict produce documentation of any issue at hand. Furthermore, clear guidelines can help team members enhance any situation.

Recommendations and Conclusion

To sum up, teamwork within a project group is very important in ensuring success of any task undertaken. I have pointed out the potential in which project group members can solve some of the issues groups may experience. My contention is that increased awareness of team roles within any project undertaken should be highly emphasized so as to improve the level of personal and professional awareness when tackling problems as a group. Therefore, from my experience as a member of a project team, I recommend that awareness towards leadership in any team should be assessed carefully focusing on their power as well as their rank since they are the biggest influence within the team. Furthermore, I recommend that individuals working in a team to should practice self-actualization since it would eliminate any form of defensiveness among them and facilitate a smooth flow of communication among others.

References

Anderson, R. D., & Price, G. E. (2001). Experiential groups in counselor education: Student attitudes and instructor participation. Counselor Education and Supervision, 41(2): 111-119.

Jenkins, J. C., & Jenkins, M. R. (2006). The 9 disciplines of a facilitator: Leading groups by transforming yourself. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Kottler, J. A. (2004). Realities of teaching group counseling. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 29(1): 51-53.

Ringer, M. (2002). Group action: The dynamics of groups in therapeutic, educational and corporate settings. London: Jessica Kingsley.

Thomas, G. J. (2008a). Facilitate first thyself: The person-centered dimension of facilitator education. Journal of Experiential Education, 31(2): 168-188.