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Case Analysis – Organization Behavior and Managerial Processes

Major Problem/Issue Identification and Executive Summary

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            The key management issues are poor group cohesion, communication problems, personality conflicts, lack of clarity in task assignments, varying individual commitment, and lack of uniformity in motivation of the group members. The team of five working on a strategic plan to meet the 48-hour GEOB exam was barely able to fulfill the requirements. Some of the team members were late on the second day and another team member met with the group on the second after the strategic plan report was nearly finished.

Only one team member finished the final report. (Szabunio & Seijts, 2002) As a team working together for the rest of the semester, the problems emerging during this exam needs resolution to ensure smooth group dynamics. Although differing in targets for their performance as a team and as individuals, the solution should be able to accommodate the expectations of the team members. This could even create a common target for the team members as a common ground for cooperation. These issues also form part of the strategic plan formed by the team.

Solutions to the Management Problems

            A number of solutions emerge based on the identified problems. First is the clarification of rules and corresponding sanctions even before working on group tasks. This is similar to the establishment of principles in an organization to guide the action of each individual member. The corresponding sanctions should deter violation such as typing the final report or paying a greater amount of contribution for any expenses incurred by the group in finishing the project. Second is team building by determining group capabilities in analyzing organizational behavior. Apart from determining native and non-native language speakers and status as single or married, the team members should also gain a sense of the individual capabilities of each team member such as the person with the analytical, thought organization, communication and articulation, or leadership prowess to guide task assignments. While all group members engage in discussions, each would take individual tasks they are best at doing. Marcel may be a slacker but he could have a strength he can contribute to the group since the group members all form part of a select number of Ivey students. However, he did not have a specific task, which could have influenced his tardiness on the second day when he was on time on the first day. Third is open communications for conflict management. This holds a two-fold importance. One is to facilitate team building. The members can voice out their concerns and settle differences through communication. The other is to clarify, discuss and analyze the requirements of the 48-hour exam and other group tasks during the rest of the semester. Fourth is motivation for organizational development. The team coordinator should have an idea of the factors that motivate the performance of his team members. With Marcel appearing to be the most problematic member, his motivational problems could be resolved by altering his belief that his good performance, such as being on time, would not meet any reward. The team members should express better appreciation of each other in terms of remarks, task assignments according to the competencies and strengths as individuals, and other similar actions. These solutions also comprise the considerations in the strategic plan developed by the team.

            The solution with the most effective long-term result is open communications. If achieved, this facilitates the effectiveness of the other solutions. This seems to be amenable to all the team members since this is a way for Peter to express his concerns about the team, for JP to effectively coordination team performance, for Linda and Sergei to express their problems with Marcel, and Marcel to explain his side. This starts with obtaining uniform agreement over the need to establish open communications. Second is obtaining commitment from each individual member to give constructive feedback of personal and performance related issues and the recipient to listen before providing an explanation. Third is to integrate both informal and formal communication and establish a venue for conflict resolution such as the neutral party in discussing interpersonal issues.

Method of Assessment

            The method of assessment is group performance in terms of the efficiency and effectiveness in fulfilling group tasks, the issues resolved, and improvements in interpersonal relations determined by a decline in conflicts throughout the semester and in completing the remaining group tasks. The overall group performance would determine if the solution worked. Continuous improvements in the completion of specific tasks and better relations through lesser interpersonal conflicts reflect on the effectiveness of open communications as a solution.

Reference

Szabunio, P., & Seijts, G. (2002). Juan Pedro’s shrimp farm: Or the 48-hour exam nightmare (A). Ontario: Ivey Publishing.

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