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As we approach the time for us to be assigned into our respective teams I ponder as I browse through the selected readings for the week what teams are used to achieve, seeing the number 1 associated adjective of teams; synergy raising its head once more I realise, slightly sickeningly that there is some truth in what is being stated.

When ever I have worked in a team we always managed to finish a strangely large volume of research and work & keeping in mind Daudelins notes on reflection I thought back to what really was the driving force for the time and effort my team and I put into our assignment last semester.. I decided that Oakely and Co are right to suggest that fear from ones peers far exceeds that of the teachers and so the fear of being labeled a loafer and a disdain for loafers exposed me in a position as though I was simultaneously a prisoner and a guard as in the famous Stanford prison experiment where students given power and the authority of guards tended to abuse their peers in a quite brutal fashion. In as much it is a unique position to be able to punish those I deemed as lazy yet fearful of being perceived as lazy myself as my job demanded significant time away from uni and it was this that I think pushed our team to do quite well and spend large amounts of time and effort on our assignment.. whether or not fear of irrational students is a "good" motivator it is indeed effective.

I also note the differences in the writers Katzenbach, somehow painting a somewhat less authoritarian perspective of what it is to be in a team than compared to the gang of frenzied teaching staff of Oakely, Felder Brent & Elhajj which is to be expected as we all know students are found in the lower order of invertebrates somewhere beneath worms. I realise that they too are on to some good points, or rather points which are used to test the productivity of small groups of students whom are to be transformed to churn out a large body of work in a short period, something I think most students in this course have experienced at least once before.

I feel that Oakely, Felder, Brent & Elajj principles of control such as peer evaluations reflect the hard HRM which back up Katzenbachs work regarding the means used to control those in the teams and align goal congruance. This i feel reflects the reality for many of us as we head out into the workforce, the use of team citizenship and the use of verbally publicly agreed terms (which probably will be substituted written contracts in the real world) binding those components of the team to their expected performance levels and if they are not met.. it will be the team members rather than the firm which will be responsible for the firing of (us)? A fearful thought perhaps but necessary I as we leave the relative safety of our years in education to the capitalist marketplace where our ability to provide worth becomes the sole reason for our employment.

 

Katzenbach, J. R. & Smith, D. K. (1992). Why teams matterMcKinsey Quarterly, (3), 3--27
Oakley, B., Felder, R. M., Brent, R., & Elhajj, I. (2004). Turning student groups into effective teamsJournal of student centered learning, 2(1), 9--34.

3 Comments

  1. I am very impressed!

    Generally I comment on using Daudelin's (1996) progressive stages of reflection and Bloom's taxonomy. 

    You explicitly and effectively used the process of reflection and came up with some enlightening ideas about why you achieved in teams previously. I particularly liked your formulation of a tentative theory to explain the problem where you pulled in the readings to assist your analysis. Just remember that the final step in reflection is action and it would have been beneficial to your journal entry to have just one sentence summing up (at least) how you plan to achieve action  e.g. so even though the success is based on fear, it has been successful and so I plan to continue on the same path //OR// with this new knowledge, the path forward is... 

    In terms of Bloom's taxonomy, you have reached the higher levels of learning by integrating all of the readings and your own knowledge effectively. I smiled at your mention of the Stanford prison experiment. I never made that connection myself and I thought it was very clever and thought-provoking. Excellent work!

  2. I enjoyed reading this journal, and can tell you've really engaged with the readings this week and thought about how they relate to everything happening in MGMT300. It interesting to see that you are frightened of others marking you down even though in the past you have complete most of the group work yourself. I feel you lack a little bit of flow from your second to third paragraph, almost jumping straight from personal teamwork reflection to talking about the readings. Therefore in future journals you may want to think about making that connection between the two at the end of one paragraph as a lead in to your next point (I hope that make sense..)  

    Overall a strong journal and you've showed you have really thought about each point and have explained your interpretation of the readings. There were a few minor grammatical errors as you are missing commas in places.

     

    1. Thank you, your feedback was very constructive and helpful, I  have a chaotic writing style and as a consequence my flow and grammar tends to suffer. I shall bear your words in mind when I am writing my subsequent journals. Thanks