Individual reflection on group work experience Essay Example

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Reflection on group work
6

Title: Reflection on group work

Introduction

Working in a group is sometimes a challenge, but knowing how to handle it makes it a great experience. I was involved in a group work in which we were working on the topic about misunderstanding in international students. The group consisted of five members who came from different countries. As we engaged in the group work, I could see the challenges that we faced and how we handled them. During the meetings, I took the role of group maintenance. The initial stages for the group were marked with some difficulties as members tried to adjust and know each other (Gronlund & Holme, 2004). Though it was challenging to be involved in a multicultural group, we were able to solve the problems that affected us and accomplish the task. I will reflect on the challenges that we faced on the group as well as points of consensus.

Group work involves several challenges associated with different personality traits of the members. In some instances, the differences may make the members feel that they are not working appropriately and their progress is hampered. This was the case in our group during the initial stages. The group members came from different background and with different personalities. The group had a hard time to get started as each member tried to fit in. The group leader came with a plan that was aimed at making the members get settled and acquainted with each other. I was involved in giving the members the opening speech and later we selected the group leader. Each of the members was given time to introducing themselves. We then started to brainstorm on the topic so that we could get the insight on the topic (Fuchs, 2006). We then exchanged our names and contacts so that each of the members felt a sense of belonging. In this stage, I observed the importance of having an organized group start. Initially, I had observed that members did not interacted freely. But after the introduction and exchange of names, there was more communication.

As we started the discussion in our next meeting, I observed that the group had problems in discussing the ideas thoroughly. There were uncoordinated contributions and the ideas given were not well researched. The team leader had to engage the members into brainstorming. Each of the group members was consulted on their individual ideas. The ideas given were few and members were asked to conduct more research (Gaertner & Dovidio, 2000). As I analyzed the situation in which the group was at, I realized that members were getting more interactive and were developing traits that could enable team work.

One of the major problems that we faced during the group work was communication. There was poor communication among the members as the group consisted of members from different nationalities. I found out that it was hard to communicate with some members. This could have affected the group forming process were it not for the timely intervention by the group leader. Some of the members who could not communicate appropriately did not contribute and were mostly quiet. The group leader had to establish why the members were not contributing. This required assurance that all the members’ contributions will be valued. This gave the members confidence (Santos, Pacheco & Lenaerts, 2006). I suggested to the group leader that we contribute in a sequence so that each of the team members could contribute. This worked and some of the members who were quiet were able to give their input. Where the, members could not understand each other, clarification was offered.

Communication is the main indicator of a successful group. The group has to observe the communication pattern to be able to know their progress. This involves knowing who talks, for how long and the communication styles that are involved. As the group progressed, there was increase in communication between the members (Santos, Pacheco & Lenaerts, 2006). The contribution had increased and the task was on the scheduled. This was due to fact that we had understood each other and the members were free with each other. I noted that some of the members were taken as the group influencers. This is due to their contributions and their style of communication.

In the group, I played the maintenance role. I was involved in improving the members’ relationships and making sure that there was harmony. I was involved in encouraging and making the compromises in the team. Maintenance role is vital as it ensures that the team is able to reach to a consensus and there is a good relationship among the members (Gaertner & Dovidio, 2000). When I observed any differences between members, I worked to ensure that they were in harmony. This involved resolution and compromise between members.

One of the areas that the group avoided was group conflict. The members were encouraged by the group leader to ensure they deal with their disagreement effectively. This involved respect of the members’ opinion, negotiation and compromise. The importance of forwarding the issues that could lead to conflict was stressed that lead to the members being able to cope with each other. I ensured that I treated each of the members with respect and always made sure that I was able to listen to other people’s ideas to avoid conflicts. When coming into consensus, the decisions made were evaluated by all the group members (Gaertner & Dovidio, 2000). This was through considering the effects of the opinions of other members and encouraging sharing. I noted that all our decisions during the group work were based on consensus and no team member had the authority to push decisions over the others.

In conclusion, the group work was a great experience to me. I was able to observe the type of challenges that exists during the group forming process. I learned that being able to make the group started was the main task that would enable the group forming process to take place. This is especially in a group that is made of people from different backgrounds. Valuing other members’ opinions makes them feel valued and ensures that all the members are able to contribute. Another aspect that I learned is the fact that members may fail to contribute if there is a language barrier. There is a need to ensure the members that all their input will be regarded and incase of misunderstanding, there is a need for clarification. Consensus was arrived through involving all members.

References

Fuchs, C. (2006). The self-organization of social movements. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 19(1): 101–137.

Gaertner, S. L., & Dovidio, J. F. (2000). Reducing intergroup bias: The common ingroup identity model. Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.

Gronlund, A. & Holme, P. (2004). Networking the seceder model: Group formation in social and economic systems. Physchological Review, 70(3): 036108.

Santos, F. C., Pacheco, J. M., & Lenaerts, T. (2006). Cooperation prevails when individuals adjust their social ties. PLoS Comput. Biol., 2(10): 140-142.