IntroductionRecently having discussed the effects of’Organizational Behavior’ and ‘Human Resource Management’ theories in relationto the termination of employees in Sainsbury plc. This following essay willreflect the journey and my experience working within a group environment.Firstly focusing on the conflicts my group members and I struggled with duringthe duration of the assignment. Then reflecting and analyzing differentpolicies and practices which if implemented may have mitigated the followingstruggles. Following through with this reflective journal, I will enable myselfto learn from experiences and combine my learnings in order to be moreeffective and efficient.
As (Bassot 2016, p.6) once said, “Reflection enablesme to process my thoughts and make sense of them”. Experienceduring group exerciseNot having any familiar acquaintances with mein lectures was a true burden. Once my instructor to form into groupsconsisting of exactly six members announced the assignment, I immediately saidto myself ‘this is not going to be easy’. A couple of weeks later, with thehelp of the module forum online, I was able to communicate with existing peersvia email, who were looking for fellow group members as well. With e-mailsgoing back and forth with a peer who took initiative, we were able to identifysix group members. Having not seen any of them physically, we formed a group on’WhatsApp’, and agreed on meeting the following day right after our class. Asthis was my first time having to do a group assignment with complete strangers,I let out a sigh of relief as in my belief the hard part was over.
Havinglooked through the assignment outline and the deadline, I assumed getting theassignment completed and submitted was going to be very smooth and laid-back.Although to my surprise, the series of events that occurred right after were hardlyany of the following.Being eager to start on this assignmentimmediately in order to have more time to focus on my other set of modules.Having the only one who looked over the contents of the assignment, I tookinitiative on behalf of my group members to search for a recent newsletter.Expressing strong desire in regards of Albert Bandura’s (1978) self-efficacytheory, which “considers how people perceive themselves or how they appraisetheir own level of competence in the process of learning”. Having accomplishedthat, as well as ruling of different examples of items in the news. I hadreally hoped by our first meeting my group members had fulfilled their promiseson searching for newsletters as well. On Tuesday October 24 the date of ourfirst meeting, which was, one week after forming our groupinitially.
With the final agreement on meeting outside our module classroom.The time finally came and our class was finally over, I left our class in JPHall whilst surrounded by hundreds of other colleagues I was in the search formy group members.Finally having met my group members, whichconsisted of all ‘English speakers’ which I was very thankful of as itmitigated any types of language barriers. To my expected surprise, a fellowgroup member and I were the only people who researched topics for ourassignment. Having already scheduled a room in the Main Arts Library, we walkedthere together whilst ideas brainstormed regarding which approach to follow.Having done my research on the concerning topic, my group members were interestedin what I had to offer. Having shown them a recent article that consisted andcovered all aspects of Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management,we made our final decision.Fast forwarding to our second meeting, whichwas exactly a week later.
Having fulfilled my promise on the assignment fromthe previous meeting, I was eager to see what my group members have hadaccomplished. The initiation of my conflict started then, as during our meetingI have come to realization that I was the only person who had started his work.It began to unravel to me that using goal setting as a motivational techniquehad led to a huge disappointment (Locke 1968).
Reflecting to The Porter-Lawlermodel of Work Motivation (1968), I began to realize that my expectations andeffort would not lead to my perceived equity of rewards. Progressing throughour meeting, slowly but surely I began to unveil the true nature of my groupmembers. Having dealt with previous dysfunctional groups, I knew exactly theappropriate approach to deal with my current situation.
Derailing (Vroom’s 1975)expectancy theory, in which the outcomes I had imagined to transpire were notattainable. Due to these circumstances, I was not motivated to participate evenslightly for the remainder of the meeting. As my hard effort had goneunnoticed, I shifted my interest to my own self. As the assignment was due on 12December, I thought it was still too early to panic. After the end of ourmeeting, we decided to schedule our next meeting after reading week, in hopesthat everybody would be able to accomplish their part of the task.
15th November to my surprise, thegroup was progressing to a certain extent. Only half of the group members hadfulfilled their tasks, while the others came up with excuses covering thereasons why they were not complete with their task. Taking initiative, I urgedeverybody to send me his or her completed parts of the assignment so I couldcombine and structure the assignment prior to the submission. Receiving thework of other group members, I had realized that most of their work done wasirrelevant to what was required from our instructor.
Having contacted one of mygroup members who had demonstrated his intentions and extrinsic motivation(Huczynski and Buchanan 2013). After a close discussion, we decided to coverthe remaining parts of the assignment ourselves, as we were looking forward toachieve a high grade, To our relief we were given an extension on our groupassignment. With our admirable group effort, we were able to achieve our commongoal of completing the task with time to spare.
LessonslearntAs result of the inception of this forming tobe my first group assignment with unfamiliar faces, there were many lessons Idrew back upon after the final submission. As stated previously, I was eager todemonstrate my attributes and knowledge in regards of the assignment followingthe first meeting. Although due to the lack of motivation generally provided bymy colleagues, the group as a one force were not able to progress forward inachieving our mutual goal. With me stepping down as the initiative takerresulting from lack of support, would have an actual tenacious and stableleader benefited us more. Following the study of Burns (1979) model a ‘TransformationalLeader’ was exactly what our group needed.
The basis behind a transformationalleader is “the process by which a person interacts with others and is able tocreate a solid relationship those results in a high percentage of trust thatwill later result in an increase in motivation” (Leadership-central, 2018).With different cultures and personalitiesprogressing through a shared assignment, the familiarity aspect was off. Originof culture is thought to be considered one of the leading factors, which may infact affect the behavior of individuals, (Hofstede, 1980) exemplifies thismodel. For an ideal task team, the professionalism factor usually overlooked.
Expression and communication are elements that help with the formation of afunctional group structure, once neglected or prevented it negates anyevolvement. Whilst organizational behavior is a new topic that I have comeacross, my new understanding of certain related topics in regards of’leadership and motivation’ will help me apply theory of practice differentlynext time ( Gersick 1991; Avolio 1994; Ralph Stogdill 1974).While being comfortable with Grasha andRiechmann’s (1974) model that overlooks learning styles in a more cognitiveapproach of learning. I had never really adapted nor comprehended the potentialsynergy of implementing such learnings in reality.
As well as the recentunderstanding of Kolb’s (1984) model, that has opened up a new experience andenlightenment of self-improvement and development. Due to the importance ofself-reflection following any experience of great practicality andsignificance, the true intentions behind it is to increase understanding forfuture purpose of use. As Baltasar Gracian (1637) once said, “Self-reflectionis the school of wisdom”. This experience has been eye opening, as ithas given me an opportunity to experience and reflect on the ability to managemyself in different perspectives. Influenced mainly with retrospect to mysurrounding vibes, which may have been an obstruction and in fact an obstacleto overcome. Whilst failing to engage myself as an initiative leader, due to manyexternal factors (Burns, 1979).
With this reflection, I have made various noteson how to overcome these factors whilst working in a group exercise. For example,the act of patience and observing in order to understand the current situation,before making any rash decisions. Communication comes a long way, in a groupstructure in order to attain the mutual objective.
Having put in more of aneffort in regards of communication may have been a minor and common issue,something as simple as checking up on a person’s work may have been a force topush us forward as a group. In hopes that this ‘bad experience’ may be thelast, I will be working on significantly improving myself in terms of bothbeing a leader as well as not doubting and second-guessing my actions. Withthis overview of self-reflection, in future time I hope to be the moreeffective and influential leader as well to attaining the ability to manage my groupmembers efficiently and overall myself.The opportunity to work in any type of groupwork most often generally cherished, as the principles used and applied mayhelp you prepare for a brighter future in a workplace. The intention ofcommunicating and working together in order to achieve a mutual goal is similarand compared to the principles and structure of an organization. The experiencethat I have went through regarding my recent group exercise in a bigger picturemay have caused the downfall of an organization. Nowadays, organizations tendto expect their managers to be qualified with many internal and externalattributes, so would the common standards of Fayol’s (1916) ‘Principles andFunctions of Management’ considered to be enough in the 21st century?With the irregularity and fast-paced changes in our everyday lives, leaders inan organization have to be able to reflect and adapt to irregular situations inwhich the firm may face.
Due to the complexity and changes of a corporatestructure, the manager has to have the capability of comparing historicalforecasts and analyzing events in order to progress in the future.The act of reflection and learning from innermistakes may be a more valuable trait to an everyday manager than for exampleMayo’s (1920) ‘Human Relation’s Theory’ or Burn’s (1960) ‘Theory X and TheoryY’ (Perry,2017). Although considered a necessary trait for a manager, manyknown to resist keeping a reflective journal in order to improve performance.Shareholders and CEO’s must encourage their managers to enhance themselves, inorder to negate any risks and ultimately improve the performance of theorganization. Although still at its early stages, many shareholders havestarted implementing ‘Human Resource Development’ officials, which use “theirprofessional skills in order to help managers and employees reflect and improveon their organizational skills”. Although sometimes seen as an extra cost,which ultimately leads to no improvements in practice. The act of reflection onprevious mishaps and inefficiencies may reveal resolutions in order to resolvethe subject matter in the future. This is where questions such as ‘how can weimprove next time’ and ‘how do we avoid similar risks’ come into mind.
If anorganization fails to resolve problematic matters, the expected occurrence inevery term may affect the firm’s ability to be a ‘going concern’.The problems that we have faced together as agroup, if having occurred in an organization workplace would have led to theirdownfall and demise. Our group lacked any leadership and any progressivecommunication. Including the lack of diverse team roles in regards of Belbin(2010), our group was a ticking time bomb from the given start. We may have nothad the best resources or information when choosing or picking our groupmembers, as it is mainly focus based on a random population sample.
To theiradvantage, organizations have the option to employ specific personnel who theyconsider would be beneficial to the company’s growth, as well as avoidingpotential employees who do not share the same work ethic and values. Holdingthe trust of their shareholders and stakeholders, the risks of heading into adownward spiral must be minimized close to none. With thousands of publics’interests at stake, firms will have to allocate a big portion of interest andresearch into familiarizing employees and corporate managers with theattributable skills and principles, in order for the business to be runsmoothly.The implementation of Organizational Behaviortheories are encouraged within organizations in order to mitigate problemspersisting in regards of leadership, management and culture.
“Learning is theprocess whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience”(Kolb, 1984, p.38). David Kolb’s experiential learning theory overlooks anddivides four separate learning styles. The theory is interpreted into fourstages, the first being “Concrete Experience”, the first stage revolves aroundactually encountering a said experience, which may have affected youdramatically. The second stage is “Reflective Observation”, is where youreflect or observe on the experience, in which you highlight specific mattersof importance or great significance to you as a person.
The following stage”Absolute Conceptualization” gives rise to a modification or something you wereto do differently if the said experience were to happen once again. With thelast learning cycle concluding to “Active Experimentation”, where the personwho has went through the previous stages, would apply the modification in orderto see if it were actually beneficial for the person. Implicationof Kolb’s learning style theory to mitigate such problems StageOne: Concrete ExperienceReflecting on what had occurred on our secondmeeting as a group, one of the key elements that stood out was I refusing toparticipate as soon as I had found out that none of my group members hadfulfilled their obligated role. I had a hard time reacting to the unraveling ofthis information, as it was clear to me now that I had entered a dysfunctionalgroup.
With having finished my part of the assignment already, by the firstmeeting. I had decided to step down and not intervene with any groupcomplications or objections.StageTwo: Reflective ObservationAfter reflecting on what I had done, I nowunderstand that I should not have stepped down on my role as a leader. As I hadtaken the first initiative with coming up with the topic for the groupassignment, in realization that maybe my group looked for me to lead them tothe completion of this assignment. In coincidence, If I had leaded and managedmy team appropriately after the second meeting, with words of encouragement theymight have took initiative and finished their assignment work by the thirdmeeting.The main insight that I have acknowledgedabout myself after reflecting on my behavior, is that I may rush certaindecisions without being aware of the total consequences.
Introducing Duval andWicklund’s (1973) study of self-awareness. I should have focused on thebrighter image, and took time to assess and evaluate my behavior to theappropriate standards and values bestowed on me. As Albert Bandura (1978) oncesaid in regards of self-efficacy, “it is the belief in one’s capabilities toorganize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospectivesituations” (Albert Bandura, 1978, p.84).StageThree: Absolute ConceptualizationThe application or modification might as wellbe considered the most important stage whenever applying OrganizationalBehavior theories into practice. Having identified what I had done wrongfullyunder stage two of the process. The main practice modified would have beensetting straight the rightful leader at the initiation of the group assignment.
Whether it would have been myself or any of my other colleagues, as well as Icould have interpreted Argyle’s (1972) ‘Communication Cycle’ and had broughttotal awareness of who is in charge to my colleagues, which would have set thetendency in a different manner.Other aspects I would apply differently in anyother group exercise would be identifying weak group members at the initiation.A certain identification of whom may have experience or knowledge regarding ourgroup exercise, may offer us a certain type of understanding. As theidentification of the person who may not handle a vast workload be clear, inwhich other group members may be willing to offer help to whomever may requireit. It may be clear as well, that there are many different modifications Icould in fact make, in order to steer group exercises in the most efficient andappropriate path. Although many of the other implications would require thesupport and understanding of my colleagues in regard of OB practices, in whichI could bring light upon the practices although there final application may notbe necessary.StageFour: Active ExperimentationI have not yet been able to actually applythese modifications, due to my module not containing voluminous groupassignment opportunities.
However, these principles implicated in any form ofgroup activity, even in sportsmanship. Although in hopes that the opportunityarises in the near future, as the implication may result into my organizationalsuccess. In order to succeed or benefit from self-reflection, there has to bemany cases in which the latter has to be applied.
As I am certain as anindividual that the succession of self-reflection will lead me in my desire ofbeing a more efficient and as well effective leader. ConclusionMy actions may have been the unnecessary pushthat has driven my group exercise to go indeed downhill. Had I reacteddifferently at the start of the group assignment, it might have positively affectedthe group’s approach in getting the group exercise done. However, this based onmy own self-reflection, until being applied; its implications may not in facthelp. Since such events may be, drastic if occurred in a workplace, havingsolved it prior hand in our learning stages may be very beneficial and exactlywhat future employers are looking for.
In whatever line of work or context,knowing the application of self-reflection and actually applying it in youreveryday life will help you improve not only as an employee but as a person aswell.