According to the theories about human learning (Bruner et al 1973), every individual learns differently, these differences arise from different personal factors such as personality, motivation, memory, cognitive awareness etc. people also learn differently to according to the nature of thing that is learnt.
Our team came together for a short period of time (about 8 weeks), and none of us knew each others before, which meant that we could not learn each others learning styles therefore we could not relate to each other in the best way.According to Bruce Tuckman (1965) team go through difference stages of development, these are Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. I think I could explain the development process of our team using Tuckman theory as the theory can accurately describe the processes in our team. In the forming stage which was when the team first came together since I didn’t know most of the others in the team I behaved in a controlled and defensive manner, I was mainly silent in this stage but contributed only the essential ideas I thought was necessary, the storming stage started when the team was given the case study and everyone started realising what the team had to do, I observed the behaviour of other to what each individuals personality was like.I began to relax more as I got used to each of them, the storming stage passed smoothly as it was established psychologically that me and Louisa would do the most decision making in the team and the rest would go along with the decisions, this was because we were the only persons in the group who actually took on the responsibility to decide what the group should do and how things should be organised. At the Norming stage everything was established, everyone had a clear idea of what was expected from each other and what roles each person should be taking, I had high targets for the grades I wanted to achieve and projected this to the team as a team standard, it was accepted by the team because everyone had high targets themselves, so the main group norm was to produce a high stand of work.After establishing the expectations in the Norming stage we started performing, and this is when problems in the team started arising, which really began in our first meeting.
In the meeting me and Louisa had a disagreement about who should take charge of the team, my opinion was that one of us should take charge and start making decisions so that the team can progress through, but she disagreed with this saying that she doesn’t want a leader in the team and that everyone should contribute in the decision taking which really disagreed with and still do. The other conflict arose form her body language and her disapproval of my opinions and the contributions which I tried to make.At some point she said something similar to “look, the only reason I’m not walking off right now is because I have to do this work” at this point I realised how frustrated and annoyed she was with me. I feel that this was because she didn’t like my style of talking and getting things done which I really think resulted from clash of personalities between mine and hers. Therefore the team development took on a problematic path which meant that the team kept on going back on fourth in the development stages.”The development of a team might be recycled from any of the final stages to an earlier stage if necessitated by a failure to achieve satisfactory performance or if adjustments to environmental demands are required or if problematic team interactions develop.” – http://www.geocities.
com/Athens/Forum/1650/htmlgroups06.html This friction between me and Louisa was the main source of conflict in the team which also badly affected the progress of the team. Her disapproving of me caused me to disengage in the decision making process of the team and just do what was asked of me, I also realised that because of her attitude towards me I was not able to concentrate at what she was saying when she was talking to me, this worsened the problem in the team and made me look like the ‘villain’ to others.This was a Dysfunctional conflict (Huczynski & Buchanan 2001) meaning a harmful conflict. Other reason for the conflict was her stubborn and intolerant attitude and my weak interpersonal skills. I could have avoided the conflict if I was better at explaining my opinions to her and better at realising her needs. It is also indicated in Belgin’s team role theory that ‘Co-ordinators’ are inclined to clash with ‘shapers’ due to their contrasting management styles.
This was the case in our team when our (mine ‘shapers’ and Louisa’s ‘Co-ordinators’) attitudes and personalities clashed.The main communication problem in the team arose because of my conflict with Louisa, even though the team was in a matrix structure meaning that information should flow quickly to all directions the conflict produced sub groups in the team, which was between the males (me and Anthony) and females (Louisa and Kalsum), the result of this was less information was flowing between each subgroup causing less cohesion and less “teamwork”.The main power and political struggle in the team was between me and Louisa, our personalities characteristics resulted in us to take charge and try to control people, we had a lot of disagreements about how to run a lot of aspects of the team, which resulting in a struggle. I think she came out on top because she was a better politician than me and she had a better interpersonal skill. I think she also had the better character to control people. She was a natural leader.
Like in another team, motivation was also an important aspect in our team. The main motivation theory that applies to our team is the Expectancy theory (Victor Vroom 1964). According to this theory people’s motivation levels are determined by; ‘Valence’ times ‘Expectancy’ times ‘Instrumentality’. ‘Valence’ was the grade that I wanted to achieve (which was quiet high as I mentioned earlier), ‘expectancy’ was the confidence I had on myself and my team to actually receive that grade (which was also quiet high as the team initially looked focused and skilful and the ‘instrumentality’ was weather we would get the results we deserved which also scored very high as we all trusted the university marking system.Therefore according to the theory our initial motivation level should have been high which I agree with, but I also thing our motivation level decreased as the team progressed further in time. I can explain this using the expectancy theory; ‘Instrumentality’ stayed high as the trust in the system didn’t change, ‘Valence’ also stayed high as our desires to get a high grade also stayed unaffected, but ‘Expectancy’ decreased as we started doubting the ability of the team to work together and produce the required results (due to the conflict’s and problems in the team) which affected everybody’s motivation level.REFERENCEOrganisation Behaviour: Introduction text, 5th Edition, David Buchanan, Andrzed Huczynski, Prentice Hull 2004. Business Psychology & Organisational Behaviour: A students’ Handbook 2nd Edition, Eugene McKenna, LEA Publishers 1994.