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Mount Everest Simulation

In: Business and Management

Submitted By fcharris
Words 1966
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According to Kreitner and Kinicki, a group is defined as “two or more freely interacting individuals who share collective norms and goals and have a common identity” (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2013, p. 269). A team is defined as “a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable” (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2013, p.300). The team exercise was a simulated climb of Mt. Everest, with each member having a unique role during the simulation. According to Psychologist Bruce Tuckman, there are five stages in group development including forming, storming, norming, performing, and a later added adjourning (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2013). Not only was the Harvard Publishing Leadership and Team Simulation: Everest V2 a simulation in climbing Mt Everest, it was a lesson in executing a group challenge. The formation of the team began with the team assignments from the professor. There was some confusion as to who was on what team but after a few days; one after the other was present for the forming processes. It took a few days for everyone to collaborate and get their schedules all to work out to complete this task. Communication between team members was initially challenging trying to figure out the best method of communication between group members. Some members communicated more than others in the discussion board. A slower method of communication was utilized when two members, Terry and Jackie, had technical issues accessing the Chat room. In the process of developing the team charter, behavioral characteristics such as procrastination became apparent, which made it difficult to write portions of the team charter for everyone’s review. The lack of communication made the final product miss some key elements. The team analysis paper was not considered during the initial drafting stage, so individuals of the team had no responsibility assigned to them. The team was just focused on the simulation, and did not analyze the full scope of the team assignment. These absent roles in the charter led to confusion for drafting the team analysis paper. Our initial planned time to run the simulation had to be rescheduled due to several members not being present. This could be an example of some de-forming, which is when standards of conduct are eroded and group members drift in different directions and interests change (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2013). The group was supposed to meet 6pm PDT = 7pm MDT = 8pm CDT = 9pm EDT every Tuesday, Saturdays (US time). This did not always happen. Eventually, the members that were present agreed on another date and sent the information out to the absent members. Once we were able to get together, we all were able to get an idea of what was expected during the simulation. Before we started the simulation, only four members were present for the forming processes. Once the four of us were together, we noticed that there was confusion to what happened to other team members that were absent. During the planning process, we made contact with team members by sending messages via discussion boards and blackboard. This in effect made contact possible and by day of the simulation there were four out of the six team members present for the simulation. The team exercise was of a simulation to climb Mount Everest. We were given six days to make it up five stages. Our team consisted of six team members, the leader, doctor, environmentalist, marathoner, photographer, and an observer. In the beginning of the simulation, the leader wanted to make sure everyone was healthy and ready to go out and accomplish this goal. The biggest issue that this team faced in the beginning was trying to get everyone on the simulator at the same time. Everyone had to be on at the same time in order for the team to be able to move forward. Since we had team members from many different time zones, it took a couple of days for everyone to get on at the same time. Once everyone was on, there was some chatting back and forth, so that the team members could meet each other. The last issue we had was trying to figure out how the simulation worked. We all collaborated on how it was supposed to work and then we moved ahead. Although, the physician was unavoidably absent, the leader did not think there were any weaknesses within the team. The team accepted the risks with the missing members and decided to move forward with the simulation. The biggest challenge was communication and enabling the team to consolidate its concerns to the group leader. According to one article, “although members of teams share a common, ultimate objective, they often have asymmetric or conflicting individual goals that shape the way they contribute to, and pursue, the shared goal of the team. Compounding this problem, they are frequently unaware of the nature of these goal asymmetries or even the fact that such differences exist.” (Pearsall, & Venkataramani, 2015, p. 735). Communication would have been a key element in understanding each other’s ultimate goals for the simulation. Additionally, at one point in the simulation, one of the team members James Holley had an asthma attack, but did not receive the inhaler from the medical kit, because the physician (Adam) was absent from climbing. Through open communications, each team member relayed their portion of the simulation to the leader to provide her with timely information needed to make critical decisions during the climb. The leader eventually developed a role call system sharing the leadership responsibility with the entire team. The team quickly learned that although the final decisions were to be made by the group leader, each teammate needed to input their data to the leader for the consolidated decision. This certainly impacted the team in a positive manner providing the group with a forum to elaborate on their concerns or make recommendations to the group leader. Once the team had gotten into a rhythm, the team would analyze their portion of the data for each day’s scenario and move their recommendation forward to the group. Once the group provided its' feedback, the order was given by the team leader to make the action necessary. This in-turn was returned by communication to the team leader as being complete. The leader of the group took the time to listen to what everyone’s concerns and thoughts. There was no dictatorship being performed by the leadership. The Leader, Marathoner, Photographer and Observer, we all communicated well and everyone showed a great deal of team effort. Each team member participated very well by voicing their suggestions and needs to the team. We all knew what our roles were and how we should go about doing them. All of the team members listened to each other and there was good communication and a great team effort. We were all able to communicate effectively with each other during the simulation. Team members were very active with every decision being analyzed in order to provide the team leader with the information needed to make the correct next step. The group operated effectively as a team and in an organized manner. In all, the group was a great team and thus operated as such with little mistakes outside of not reading the information provided in round 4; and the team did reach the final stage, although we did not meet our objective of reaching the summit of Mount Everest, but the climbing was adventurous and a great good endeavor of team building efforts were displayed by each participants present during the simulation exercise. According to our feedback from the instructor the “team completed 20% of the overall team goals and was not successful in meeting the Weather, Medical, or Oxygen Challenges.” It was also suggested that we could have brainstormed to have the observer play another role, such as physician to help the team. There was certainly room for improvement had the group had the opportunity to repeat the simulation. The team started performing the moment we all came together in the chat room provided in the simulation exercise. We all knew who the leader was and we all knew our roles within the team, we took the responsibilities of making sure everyone was healthy and making sure we reached our destination. Unfortunately, we did not reach our destination and took a risk by climbing the mountain without the physician. It wasn’t about reaching our destination but becoming a team and working together in difficult situations. Each of the team members had individual goals in the simulation, as well as having the ultimate goal of reaching the summit. The team was able to come together and put aside some of their individual goals and focus on the groups goals. Some of the individual goals aligned with what the group were attempting to do; however, some of them went against the groups goals. The team stayed on track with the ultimate goal of making the summit. At end for the simulation, there was some confusion on what exactly had happened and the prevalent question was why the team simulation was terminated early. This caused some confusion among the group; most thinking a decision was skipped. We could not figure out what happened because all the decision and actions were taken by all the team members and its standing leader. After the simulation concluded, each member congratulated each other for their outstanding input and effort as a team. Although Tuckman did not add “adjourning” to his theory until 13 years after his original article (Tuckman & Jensen, 2010), this stage was critically important to our group. We did, however, make sure that everyone was safe which actually was a good accomplishment was since no person was left behind. This showed great leadership from everyone. Teamwork was definitely a big role for all of us in this group. Throughout the exercise, it is believed that our behavior during the exercise was guided by our norms. A norm is the “shared attitudes, opinions, feelings, or actions that guide social behavior” (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2013, p. 281). These norms guided us through and helped us as a group with our organizational behavior through friendship and acceptance. At the end of the simulation, we spent time to discuss the roles each team member played and what took place. We acknowledged our mistakes and thanked each other for being members of a great team. The possibility of asking to redo the simulation was discussed but it was realized that time constraints would not make this possible. Such a decision was bounded rationality, where constraints restrict rational decision making (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2013). In hindsight, the simulation created very challenging communication issues amongst the team. Each member had an important part in the overall decision making process during the simulation, but it was not realized until later in the simulation. There was some confusion as to how some of the resources were utilized and assumptions were made that did not happen. The team did not evaluate the simulation fully prior to attempting it. This fact was actually a benefit since it illustrated the short comings that happened within the team, provided more insight to the team dynamic, and brought to light all the challenges associated with performing as a team.

References
Kreitner, R., & Kinicki, A. (2013). Organizational behavior. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Tuckman, B. W., & Jensen, M. C. (2010). Stages of Small-Group Development Revisited. Group Facilitation: A Research & Applications Journal,1043-48.
Pearsall, M. J., & Venkataramani, V. (2015). Overcoming asymmetric goals in teams: The interactive roles of team learning orientation and team identification. Journal Of Applied Psychology, 100(3), 735-748. doi:10.1037/a0038315…...

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