THE FORGOTTEN GROUP MEMBER – CASE STUDY
23rd, March 2013
For any group to form and establish itself, it must undergo different developmental stages. The first stage is the forming stage. This is the ‘ice-breaking’ stage of the group. This mainly involves membership of the group, as members are accepted into the group. At this stage, members do not know their roles, and mutual trust among them is low, as they attempt to know one another. The second stage is the storming stage. This is the most challenging stage in group formation. In fact, most groups will be stuck at this stage for quite a long period. At this stage, a lot of testing is experienced in the group. The members might test the policies of their group leaders. Members also know what their membership entails, as well as their roles in the group. These might also try to determine their position and relevance in the group power structure. Nonetheless, this is a problematic stage, which requires strong leadership for the group to succeed.
The third stage is the norming stage. This stage is the first where the group will exhibit considerable integration, after the chaotic storming stage. Members will exhibit commitment to the success of the group. Here, members believe to have their roles spelt out clearly, while the question of power in the group is addressed in an organized way, without any emotions involved. The performing stage is fourth, and here, the group is considered mature and functional. Most activity is based on looking for solutions to problems in the group. Generally, communication in the group is effective, and members perform their roles responsibly, without getting in the way of others. The fifth stage is the adjourning stage. Here, the group is considered to have served its purpose successfully, therefore, is disbanded.
In this case, Christine’s group is still at the storming stage. This group is chaotic, and the members lack cooperation. They lag behind on the task they were assigned. Mike is stubborn and skips most group meetings. Although the rest of the group members are potentially competent, they are not dedicated to the group. Members such as Mike are also giving Christine, their leader, a hard time managing the group.
If Christine would understand the development stages of a group, she would have utilized the knowledge to push her group forward. She would have understood that her group was at the second stage, therefore, employed relevant strategies, which would minimize the problems at this stage. For instance, she would have enforced rules in her group. These rules were to have disciplinary measures for anyone who failed to adhere to them. This would have been a form of control in the group, as this stage is characterized by emotionality among members, which requires rules to control.
The primary problem in this group is unequal group commitment and involvement of group members. This problem will cost the whole group. The secondary problem faced by this group is the questionable knowledge and skill of individual team members. In this case, from Mike’s behavior, his skill and knowledge is questionable. This problem also affects the whole group. On the other hand, Christine faces a challenge in coordinating the group members. In these cases, one member presents the most problems in the group. Mike is problematic, as he fails to attend most team meetings because of petty excuses. In addition, he fails to complete his role in the team assignment on time, like the other members.
In order to have prevented this, Christine ought to have initially considered the aspect of individual membership. For team effectiveness to be guaranteed, leaders have to put the right members on the team. This is with regard to their skills, personal attributes, and those who show interest in group work. Mike does not meet this criterion. Therefore, if Christine had evaluated him prior to granting him membership into the team, she would have known his weaknesses and incapability for group work, thus, not including him on the group. Christine would have saved their group trouble. The group would then include only the members ready to adhere to the group processes, and deliver results.
In order to ensure equal commitment and involvement of the group members, the group leader could have considered allocating roles to each member, based on power sharing in the group. Members could have been given the positions of the group secretary, coordinator during meetings, among other positions. Secondly, the group members ought to have discussed and establish goals, agenda, and timelines that all members would agree on. Setting clear goals and timelines will make all members be motivated to participate and commit to the group work, as this offers them a sense of direction and a need for accomplishment of the set goals. On the other hand, giving leadership responsibilities to members will make them be committed to the team, since leadership requires one to set an example to others. Therefore, if all members are granted different leadership positions, their commitment levels in the group will rise. This instills a sense of urgency and responsibility in the members. In this case, if Mike had charged with the responsibility of conducting the meetings, he would not miss attending meetings, since he knows the meeting cannot proceed if he is absent. On the other hand, developing timelines and goals for the group would have made Mike to be more accountable and responsible. He would have ensured that his work progress at a particular point coincides with the expectations in the timeline, and goals of the group.
Christine – An Effective or Ineffective Group Leader?
Christine was an ineffective group leader. She does not exhibit any strong command of leadership in her. She is lenient to Mike, and empathizes with him when he gives poor excuses for failing to attend meetings. Christine does not also report the case of Mike to the instructor, as they had been instructed to report irresponsible group members. In addition, Christine seems to lack knowledge about the organization of a group, as she does not set any goals for the group, neither a group schedule. Therefore, her group lacks direction. Finally, she does exhibit any form of leadership style. She does not connect with group members individually, and therefore, fails to lead the group as a whole.
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