During one of the economic classes, our lecturer assigned us a project that required us to assess the impact economic changes on the operation of multinational firms. The assignment was supposed to be completed in groups of six students, and be submitted in two weeks’ time. I partnered with my colleagues in forming a group that would ensure successful completion of the assignment. In a bid to ensure that the group worked effectively, one of the group members was selected to be the leader through consensus. The group leader was required to coordinate the team’s activities and foster a collaborative relationship amongst the team members in order to improve the project outcome. However, the group’s overall score was below 35 points.
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Punctuality and absenteeism
During the initial phase, the group resolved that it would be conducting its sessions two times every week. We formulated a working schedule that outlined the time and venue of the session. Each session was scheduled to last for two hours. Furthermore, the group resolved that all the team members would observe punctuality. During the first session, all the team members were punctual and they contributed in the group discussion. However, during the second meeting, two of the group members did not attend the session. On the other hand, one of the members was late.
Lack of collaboration
In the initial stage of formulating the framework to be adopted in completing the project, the group worked without any problems. However, after a few group sessions, we experienced conflicts that adversely affected the working relationship in the group. One of the problems entailed a breakdown of communication between the group leader and the group members, which adversely affected information sharing amongst the team members.
Some of the group members did not give others an opportunity to raise their opinion on the issue under discussion. This aspect led to the development of a negative attitude amongst the team members. Additionally, some group members developed the perception of not being recognised. The breakdown in communication made it difficult for the group to establish a collaborative effort in executing the various project tasks.
Lack of focus and hard work
As one of the group members, I identified that some of the team members resorted to personal discussion that were unrelated to the subject. These discussions could consume a substantial amount of time, thus making it difficult for the group to make any substantial progress within the set timeframe.
The conflict persisted throughout the group sessions, which made the group’s working relationship to disintegrate. Thus, the group members realised that it was difficult to complete the project within the set period. Consequently, the group decided to adopt an easy way out by breaking the project into small parts and assigning one task to each of the members. Finally, the team members were required to submit their completed task for final compilation. This decision explains why the team scored a low grade. Moreover, the group’s inability to work as a team adversely affected its productivity.
Lack of autonomy
The group members were internally motivated by sharing their views on the project; however, the group leader did not foster an environment whereby the team members’ views and opinions were respected irrespective of whether they were right or wrong. Autonomy is a critical element in nurturing motivation amongst team members. Moreover, the autonomy to raise one’s opinions and views is a fundamental method through which a team can enhance information sharing and knowledge creation. In this situation, some group members did not provide other members with an opportunity to contribute their ideas to the project. Available literature identified recognition as one of the major sources of external motivation.
Failure to respect the members’ needs and expectations
According to the McClelland’s Needs theory, people have diverse needs, which include the need for power, achievement, and affiliation. In this scenario, the group members did not create balance amongst the various individual needs. The group leader did not ensure balance for the members’ need for power, which limited their ability to work collaboratively. Therefore, some of the team members did not have an opportunity to challenge others’ opinion, which is sign of achievement.
Another reason that explains the group’s lack of motivation is that the group members did not appreciate the fact that each of the members had different expectations in joining the team. According to the expectation theory, individuals join organisations or groups with different expectations, which influence how they react while in the group or organisation. The theory further argues that individuals have the discretion to choose their behaviour in the group, which is a factor of their expectancy calculations. Moreover, the theory assumes that individuals expect different issues by joining organisations or groups. Some of these expectations may entail an opportunity to advance in their respective career path.
The expectancy theory is based on three main elements, which include expectancy, instrumentality, and valence. The expectancy element highlights the importance of putting adequate effort in order to achieve the desired results. On the other hand, the instrumentality dimension emphasises the importance of rewarding performance, while valance refers to the value of the outcome/ reward. The group’s failure illustrates a breakdown in the expectancy model. According to expectancy theory, motivation in teams or groups is based on a multiplier effect within the level of valence, expectancy, and instrumentality. Despite the view that the group was focused at achieving a high mark, there was lack of adequate effort, which explains the low level of motivation, and thus the group’s poor performance.
In order to deal with the problems experienced above, it is imperative for individuals to consider the following aspects.
Groups or teams should recognise the existence of diversity amongst the team members. Subsequently, group members should not discriminate individuals based on their demographic characteristics such as their personality variables. However, group members should have perceived diversity as a source of competitive advantage in completing the project. This aspect would have played a fundamental role in establishing a collaborative working environment. Moreover, appreciating individual differences would have fostered knowledge sharing, hence increasing the likelihood of attaining the desired goal.
The group leader should have focused on nurturing a high level of integration amongst the team members. For example, the leader should have focused on nurturing a high level of charisma during the group sessions. Moreover, the leaders should have provided all the team members with an opportunity to contribute to the project. Adopting charismatic leadership would have sustained the group’s vision, hence ensuring that the group completes the project as a team by preventing disintegration.