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Group Roles in the “Survivor” TV Show Essay (Movie Review)

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Updated: Aug 3rd, 2021

The TV show “Survivor” features an exciting contest where two groups of young people compete with one another while also encouraging disruptive inter-group conflict. This generates compelling drama and group dynamics where individual goals both correlate with and oppose the purpose of building an effective team. Nevertheless, group development and role separation processes are primarily similar to Tuckman’s model of development and Belbin’s team roles theory. The purpose of this paper is to identify the stages of group development processes as well as individual group roles, as shown in the first episode of season one of Survivor: New Mexico.

Team Composition and Group Formation Processes

At the beginning of the episode, the individuals were split into two teams, each comprising of 6 individuals (3 males, three females). The red team included Greg, Jeremiah, Alex, Anna, Carolyn, and Soraya. The yellow squad received the rest, which involved Noah, Daniel, Luke, Kate, Sophie, and Emma. Because this is the very first episode of the season, the groups had no prior knowledge or experience with one another, meaning that the predominant stages of group formation in the attack consisted of forming and storming. Tuckman’s stages of group development define the forming stage of the group as a period where members get to know and seek acceptance from one another. Due to the premise of the show, which involves elimination voting, seeking approval is of paramount importance. In the red team, it is possible to see alliances being formed from the get-go, with Alex and Jeremiah agreeing to look out for each other. In the yellow section, the same is done with Daniel and Luke.

The conflict part, or Storming, as identified by Tuckman, occurs by the end of the first contest. Although the groups did not spend enough time getting to know each other enough for conflicts to arise, the show introduces one artificially by forcing them to decide who is the most useless or dangerous member of the team. It is interesting to observe that the red team, which lost the contest and had to vote first, used the inter-player alliance to attempt to push Greg out based on his performance, whereas the yellow team is already scheming against Kate due to the fact that she seems sharp, competent, and “overqualified,” thus a threat to the others.

Role Separation

While it is too early to define role separation based on the first episode alone, it is possible to identify some of the lead players based on their actions. In the red team, the main driving force is comprised of an extrovert and an introvert – Alex and Jeremiah. Alex is the Shaper (SH) of the group – he is energetic, dynamic, and does not like laziness. From the first moments in the show, he coordinated the team to construct a shelter based on the materials available and the position of the Sun. Jeremiah is more of a team worker (TW), as he tends to follow Alex’s lead and gets along well with everyone.

In the yellow team, the two defined leaders are Luke and Kate. Luke is the face of the party; he is calm yet confident and seemingly prudent when it comes to strategy and planning. These qualities are attributable to Chairman (CH). His introverted counterpart in the team is Kate, who is stoic and stern yet very objective-focused. Her relative lack of outward empathy with others classifies her as a monitor evaluator. Although she does not seem to be a people person, her assessments are usually spot-on.

Conclusions

Typically, groups are being formed to accomplish a specific task, with the conflict generated within them not being intentional. “Survivor” forces a conflict of interest upon individuals, which causes development progression. Although only two stages were seen in this episode, group evolution will be more evident in the future. Belbin’s theory helped identify the leaders of the groups and their respective roles based on personality traits.

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IvyPanda. "Group Roles in the “Survivor” TV Show." August 3, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/group-roles-in-the-survivor-tv-show/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Group Roles in the “Survivor” TV Show." August 3, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/group-roles-in-the-survivor-tv-show/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Group Roles in the “Survivor” TV Show'. 3 August.

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