Define Hitchhiking: the refusal of one to do share of the work while demanding the same grade (Oakley, Felder, Brent & Elhajj, 2004). After we “hit the ground running” in week 1, it was apparent that MGMT300 was not going to slow down for anybody! This week summoned my reflective self as it was time for group selection. This motivated me even more to sacrifice more than a quarter of my day to try and increase my Shareholder Value on MikesBikes in the hopes that I would be grouped fairly. To try and understand my situation, I have chosen to use relevant theories to guide me through where I am in terms of thought processing and course-confidence, before I end with what I have learnt this week
Firstly, Katzenbach & Smith., (1992) explains a breakdown of the Performance Curve (working group, pseudo, potential, real and high performance teams). This triggered questions of anxious thoughts. Questions included: What kind of team do I want to be part of? How can I contribute to foster and develop my team? The uncertainty of not knowing what type of group I would be placed in created concern. My potential group mark depends on what it theoretically means to be a team – compatibility within a group and how committed we are to a common purpose, goal and approach while maintaining a level of independent and mutual accountability (Katzenbach, et al. 1992). The question now was whether it was possible to satisfy the theoretical definition in its entirety? I explored this further.
Being a member of a high performance team is my ideal. This is where we are equally dedicated to a shared objective with a high level of responsibility that stretches beyond the team setting in an attempt to also help each member grow individually (Katzenbach, et al. 1992). As specified in my C.V for MikesBikes, I am very grade-oriented, so the concept of “divergent goal setters, hitchhikers, domineering and resistant members” (Oakley, Felder, Brent, & Elhajj, 2004) are risks that I am taking by accepting instructor-formed grouping. Nonetheless, I pushed a stream of positivity through my thinking as my grades are my priority. Through Daudelin’s (1996) third stage of reflection (formulation/testing of a tentative theory to explain the problem) I played different hypothetical scenarios in my mind based on past experiences (good and bad) about what kind of team I had been in and may be assigned to. I felt comfort in knowing that groups can bring ability heterogeneity and a serious focus on role delegation (Oakley et al. 2004). Still my worst MGMT300 fear is to experience the refusal of one to do their share of the work while demanding the same grade (hitchhikers). However, I know that I can use confrontation with the support of my lecturer, regular reflection on team progress and active listening (Oakley et al. 2004) to minimize its negative impact (if it happens). It is not yet confirmed whether the definition of team (as reflected on above) can be satisfied in its entirety – time will tell. Now, after meeting my group, I can confidently say that I feel a positive attitude from all members and am very excited to work with them.
I figured that the way the teams were formed played a part in merging all these “think-alike optimists” in to one group but after analyzing the reading on ‘Turning Student Groups into Effective Teams’ (Oakley et al. 2004), I felt a discrepancy between how the teams were created with the guidelines provided. From the reading, I understood that the idea of instructor formed teams is to avoid the groupings of strong students with strong students and vice-versa. This was so that weak students are provided with good modelling of effective learning approaches, and stronger students being able to strengthen their learning through tutoring (Oakley et al. 2004). So it was interesting to know that students who did not pass the $20 Shareholder Value threshold were grouped together. It is ironic though that the selection process seemed to follow an instructor-formed structure, yet groups were ultimately created by students themselves (volunteers). This begs the question - As defined by Oakley et al (2004) were selectors thinking as students or as instructors when selecting groups? Nonetheless, I understand why selectors have processed applications this way and am a bit grateful for the thought process. I hope that this helps to motivate the “less than $20 SHV” group to do well in the assignment.
The most useful lesson I have learnt this week is that the world after graduation will inevitably lead to a career filled with strangers who have diverse personalities and uncommon goals which will never be predictable. I still stand with what I have said in the previous journal, i.e. MGMT300 has the potential to equip me with skills for the "Extra-Terrestrial World". Like my attempts to test different grouping scenarios in my mind, nothing is as expected. The occurrence of my worst MGMT300 fear (hitchhikers) is not an option for this course so if it comes to be, I will make sure that for the sake of the group and our grades, we do not let the hitchhiker walk but instead get him to “hit the ground running” through support and teamwork. After all, as stated by Oakley et al. (2004), teaching another is the best way to learn.
Daudelin, M. W. (1996). Learning from experience through reflection. Organizational Dynamics, 24(3), 36–48
Katzenbach, J. R. & Smith, D. K. (1992). Why teams matter. McKinsey Quarterly, (3), 3–27
Oakley, B., Felder, R. M., Brent, R., & Elhajj, I. (2004). Turning student groups into effective teams. Journal of student centered learning, 2(1), 9--34.