Donner Party was an expedition, a migration in 1846-47, originating from Springfield, IL to reach California. Migration started with Two families (Reeds and Donners) consisting of a mix of age groups, majority of which were either Children (16) or Old, of the age bracket 50-60v and above. It is clear that group already lacks competitive and young members. Over the course of journey random migrators vouched to join the Group. Joined by migrators made up of various social, religious and geographical background, the group now was now numbered at 82. This will be hereon termed as the Donner Party. James Reed (45) vouched to lead the diverse group.
There was no structured division of labour, nor were any member assigned for certain specific duty. This showed poor team description. James too was self-nominated with little or no team leading capabilities. For an expedition of this scale, it is necessary for a leader to have some expertise over the mission, which Reed totally lacked. Reed can also be blamed for making some seriously poor choices, for example taking the Shortcut through the forests or including people into the group without knowing their background. Having people join in at random indicates the fact that there was nearly no relation between the group members, hence a very low social diversity. Essential for a team to function properly is for members to know each other well enough. This is to effectively depend on each other to attain the assigned goal. This disparity is one reason why Donner Party suffered. Having no trust within, finally lead to separation of group and setting up of sub groups in varied distances. Instead of sticking together which clearly would have benefitted all, breaking apart lead to huge losses, ranging from cattle, lives and most importantly trust and communication.
Another very important factor that the Donner party should have considered was to assess their resources. Extremely old and young populating the group was more of a burden than blessing for the expedition. As is mentioned, towards the end, there came a need for a number of rescue missions to retrieve survivors, majority of which were children. The Old were unable to assist in any expedition activity. Instead they bruised overall progress by giving up and settling down midway.
Another very horrific experience that Donner party encountered was cannibalism. It is so tabooed that it is almost always unspoken of. But with poor decisions made and without proper amenities, that too through the harsh winters of the mountain, people tended to consume the dead. People had already experienced hallucination and madness. Consuming the already deceased was one thing, but to seek out and devour the…