Module 3 Case
Groups and Teams
The case study-“Two Poorly Functioning Teams” represents what fundamentally often happens in work groups and teams. In this paper, I will enlist the multiple factors that caused the poor functioning of each group and annotate the common denominators. In Tuckman’s five stage group development, conflict occurs at the second stage; I will compare the two groups in respect to the conflict process that took place within each group and use Tuckman’s stages as framework. Finally, I will suggest some resolution to the conflicts and explain why I believe they would be effective.
Numerous factors caused the poor functioning of both groups. Based on Thomasina Borkman’s evaluations, some of the factors were the result of actions or lack thereof, and others were perceived due to an end result. Team A’s poor functioning factors, the most conflicted of the two, started in the team’s leadership. Team members had different perceptions about the team leadership; too many leaders, leadership was problematic and multiple perceptions as to who were the legitimate leaders, indicating a clear lack of consensus. Probably the most significant poorly functioning factor of Team A was its communication. Here, member perception of the instructor guidance on team communication was in question but was never attempted to be clarified, this factor hinges on the teams perceived leadership. And significantly, the failure to utilize the Discussion Tool to communicate the project direction and progress, announce face-to-face meetings, and even post the face-to-face meeting talking points (Borkman, 1996). Borkman’s (1996), sociogram, a matrix of subgroups and/or members that communicated more often with one another, reveled that Team A had three people who were considered isolates and a close subgroup of four. This member formation remained throughout the course of the project and exemplifies the dysfunctional communication and leadership of the group. Borkman (1996), referred to a Too Nice Syndrome, where members are indirect in negatively sanctioning people who do not do their part, but this often turns into a conflict near the end of a project. Team A experienced such a conflict due to the four member subgroup having this syndrome but in the final week of the project; a heated confrontation ensued between one isolate and the four member subgroup, resulting in tension and distrust throughout the remaining time of the project between them and the other two isolates. Team A did concur on one factor, the attribution of the poor performance was due to the lack of commitment, but yet this concurrence was itself was a factor.
Team B’s poor functioning factors started in their self perception as being “laid back” but after a month of inaction (Borkman, 1996), the first face-to-face meeting identified, like Team A, that leadership would be a factor; when one member assumed the leadership position with little discussion or consensus from the rest of the group. Team B’s communication was also a factor to poor functioning, an indicator in the very beginning when after 3 weeks only a few messages had been posted to the Discussion Tool and a month after the project start was it decided to meet face-to-face. The Discussion Tool was used rarely and yet only one time of the 8 to 10 times they had face-to-face meeting did everyone attend. The Norms, or delegation of project tasks and medium to discuss, was considered by some to be clear but not followed, while others disagreed; there were no clear expectations. The sociogram (Borkman, 1996), reveled two isolated, who were dropped from the team, and a subgroup of four. Yet even within the subgroup, there was a clique of two that interacted and communicated more frequently than the four as a whole. Team B’s TooNice Syndrome (Borkman, 1996), resulted in an avoidance of expressed conflict, although Team B defined their conflict as being expressed