THE FORGOTTEN GROUP MEMBER
The given case clearly describes possible problems that we (students) can face during group work. Disunity, misunderstanding, lack of time, failure of given tasks and arguments are the points that can be met during the work in the group.
Mr. Rasmussen??™s approach of teaching isn??™t innovative but it is very effective. And it needs a lot of effort as from the instructor??™s side and as from the students??™ side. In this case we can see how group members communicate with each other, which problems occur in the process of group development and also we can see how it is important to pass through the stated stages (forming, norming, storming and performing) accurately and coherently.
While reading this case I brought a few issues, I would divide them into 3 groups according to the source of its origin:
a. Janet had a lack of time
b. She didn??™t range her priorities
c. She didn??™t always inform the group that she would be absent
d. She didn??™t even try to improve her relations with the group mates
e. Without fixing problems with the group mates she went straightly to Mr. Rasmussen
f. Christine didn??™t pay a lot of attention to the group cohesion
g. After recognizing that the environment in the group is kind of stressful she just stated it and didn??™t try to fix
h. She skipped the first stage of group development (establish relationship)
III. Group members (Diane, Mike, Steve)
i. They didn??™t try to improve relationship with Janet either
j. The group assignment was already done but since it was a group work and one member hadn??™t participate in the preparation we can assume that they failed the task
If we want to find the guilty part it will be impossible because all of them are not right. They didn??™t follow the documents which they signed even though it wasn??™t real. ???Striving to a cohesive group???, ???Assisting the group manager in the managerial functions of planning, leading and coordinating???, ???Informing group manager when attendance isn??™t possible??? etc.
Below I described the issues and provided recommendations to them:
1. As long as Christine has an HR major she should know all the steps of developing the team. Forming stage is very important because it is a fundamental stage: relationship and trust are forming at this step. So on the first meetings she should pay more attention on relationship, common things and understanding between each of the members. As a group leader she had to be more involved into the groupthink. It was the first semester so people haven??™t seen each other before and they have to work together for a period of time. Yes, she did a lot of things that are required in the beginning but it wasn??™t enough. As a group leader she had to motivate her group to establish relations with the ???forgotten member??? Janet. She didn??™t do that and even if she felt some difficulties with her responsibilities she should go to the instructor and discuss that with him and ask for some advice.
2. Janet is more crying poverty when she is complaining that her group doesn??™t like her. She didn??™t do anything to improve her communication with members. She just accepted that fact that they ignore her. It would be better for her first of all to understand her personal life. Her priorities are not in that order as they should be. She works on 2 part-time jobs for the sake of her boyfriend and that??™s why she skips a lot of courses and group meetings. I think it should be opposite ??“ she should study hard to have a safe future with her husband that??™s why she skips a lot of dates with her boyfriend. Her problem is in herself. Once when she skipped the second meeting she didn??™t inform her group that??™s the disrespect for the members and their time. Every time when she feels like she can be late or she can??™t come she should inform Christine about that. And one more thing is that without telling to the group or at least to Christine she called to the instructor and complained about the situation. And although she didn??™t even know that Christine was going to evaluate her at the same level as others thus she set her group up. And it was a thoughtless step, she should come to the group leader (if she was shy or uncomfortable to talk with the whole group) and discuss this situation with her not to hang her problems on somebody else(Rasmussen).
3. Group members didn??™t show any interest in improving the contacts with Janet. For them she was just a ???member of the group who is always absent???. They didn??™t care of why she is absent; they were satisfied with that fact that she is doing her job. But the truth is that everybody was so excited to do that project and didn??™t even think that the aim of that project is not only the execution of the assignment but also a group work. Members have to care about each other at least for the group assignment. Because one of the aims of that course is to make students understand what a group work is, how it is to work in a group and how to deal with some problems that can occur.
My opinion is that Christine was so obsessed with getting the prize and getting a good grade that she didn??™t pay attention at the problems that occurred during the work. Other members also were obsessed with the project that??™s why it prevented them from a good result. And Janet was at the same time obsessed with her personal problems. So my questions for the class would be next:
1. Who do you think is guilty in this situation
2. Who should take the whole responsibility of the occurred problem
3. Was Christine a good leader
4. What did Christine do wrong What should she do to fix that situation
5. Can the situation in the group be fixed at this stage
6. What should Mr. Rasmussen do Should he intervene into this or not
7. Who can fix the situation
8. Is it possible for Janet to join the team now