Q1. Sara, Abdulla and Maryam works in an HR department. They attend several meetings together to achieve organisational and department goals. Are they part of a formal group or an informal group? Why do you think so?
Formal group:- A group is formal when it is purposely designed to accomplish an organizational objective or task. It is created via formal authority for some defined purpose.
Informal Groups:- Whereas formal groups are established by organizations to achieve some specific objectives, informal groups are formed by the members of such groups by themselves. They emerge naturally, in response to the common interests of organizational members. They are formed spontaneously, without any formal designation, and with common interests such as self-defense, work assistance, and social interaction.
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Sara, Abdulla and Maryam works in an HR department and they attend several meetings together to achieve organisational and department goals. Hence they are the part of formal group. A formal group can be a command group or a functional group that is relatively permanent is composed of managers and their subordinates who meet regularly to discuss general and specific ideas to improve products or services.
The formal groups usually work under a single supervisor, even though the structure of these groups may vary. For example, in one form of a group such as in production, the members of the workgroup depend on each other as well as on the supervisor, and in another form of group, such as salesforce, the members of the group work fairly independently and their common contact may be the district sales manager.
Formal group structures have a number of advantages:
- They facilitate consistency and continuity in the work of the group.
- There is leadership accountability.
- There is financial accountability, which is important when working groups are responsible for institutionally granted budgets.
- They tend to be more stable.
Q2. Groups and teams go through a development proves and a specific series of stages. Tuckman propose a five- stage model of group development. Explain these five stages in your own words.
Psychologist Bruce Tuckman developed his group development model in 1965 to explain how healthy teams cohere over time. Tuckman’s model identifies the five stages through which groups progress: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. Each of the five stages of team development represents a step on the team-building ladder. As the group members climb the ladder, they morph from a random assembly of strangers into a high-performing team that can work toward a common goal. Here are Tuckman’s five stages of group development explained in detail:
1. Forming Stage:-
In the beginning, when a new team forms, individuals will be unsure of the team’s purpose, how they fit in, and whether they’ll work well with one another. They may be anxious, curious, or excited to get going. However they feel, they’ll be looking to the team leader for direction. This may take some time, as people get to know their new colleagues and one another’s ways of working.
The forming stage is the first stage in Tuckman’s stages of group development and is a similar experience to your first day on a new job or at a new school. In this phase, most group members are overly polite and are still extremely excited about what their future may hold. Since the group dynamics and team roles aren’t yet established, the team leader will often take charge to direct the individual members. During Tuckman’s forming phase, new team members may discuss team goals, ground rules, and individual roles, but since this stage of development prioritizes people over the actual work, it’s unlikely the team will be high-performing at this time.
This stage is classified by:
- High dependence on the leader for guidance and direction.
- Little agreement on team objectives other than those received from the leader.
- Individual roles and responsibilities are unclear.
- The leader must be prepared to answer lots of questions about the team’s purpose, objectives and external relationships. Processes are often ignored.
- Members test the tolerance of system and leader.
- The leader directs.
2. Storming Stage:-
The storming phase is like when you reach that point with a new roommate where you begin to notice their small idiosyncrasies that get on your nerves. For teams, the conflict often arises due to clashing working styles between team members. Some people may start to even doubt the team’s goals discussed in the earlier stage and will stop performing their necessary jobs altogether. This has a negative and stressful effect on those who keep up the hard work since the pre-established group processes no longer function smoothly. Some project teams think they can skip this stage, but it’s better to acknowledge conflicts now and work them out rather than avoiding them until they explode.
In simple language, people start to push against the established boundaries. Conflict or friction can also arise between team members as their true characters – and their preferred ways of working – surface and clash with other people’s.
At this stage team members may challenge your authority or management style, or even the team’s mission. Left unchecked, this can lead to face-to-face confrontations or simmering online tensions. If roles and responsibilities aren’t yet clear, individuals might begin to feel overwhelmed by their workload or frustrated at a lack of progress.
This stage is classified by:
- A lack of agreement when it comes to making group decisions. Team members attempt to establish themselves and their position in relation to other team members and the leader, who might receive challenges from team members.
- Clarity of the team’s purpose increases but many uncertainties persist.
- Cliques and factions form. This may lead to power struggles. The team needs to focus on its goals to avoid becoming distracted by relationships and emotional issues.
- Compromises may be required to enable progress.
- The leader coaches.
3. Norming Stage:-
The next of Tuckman’s stages is the norming phase. This is when the team moves past their previous quarrels and begins to recognize and value their teammates’ strengths. During this stage, team members increasingly respect those who are in leadership roles. Now that everyone has begun to bond and familiarize themselves with the team processes, teammates feel comfortable giving each other constructive feedback as they work toward accomplishing new tasks. Since these new tasks often come with a high degree of difficulty, it is not uncommon for groups to regress back into the storming phase. Even if a group slides back into old behavior, members’ new decision-making skills will make conflicts easier to resolve than they were during the initial storming phase.
In simple language, people start to resolve their differences, appreciate one another’s strengths, and respect your authority as a leader.
Now that they know one another better, your team members will feel more comfortable asking for help and offering constructive feedback. They’ll share a stronger commitment to the team’s goals, and they should make good progress toward it.
This stage is classified by:
- Agreement and consensus largely forming among the team, who respond well to facilitation by the leader.
- Roles and responsibilities are clear and accepted.
- Big decisions are made by group agreement. Smaller decisions may be delegated to individuals or small teams within the group.
- Commitment and unity are strong. The team may engage in fun and social activities.
- The team discusses and develops its processes and working style.
- There is general respect for the leader and leadership responsibilities are now shared amongst the team.
- The leader facilitates and enables.
4. Performing Stage:-
The performing phase is the happiest of all the stages of development. In this stage, your team performance is at an all-time high. This high-performance level means all team members are self-reliant and confident enough in their own problem-solving skills that they can function without oversight from the leaders. Everyone is working like a well-oiled machine, free of conflict and moving in sync toward the same end goal.
This stage is classified by:
- The team’s increased strategic awareness. It is now clear why the team is doing what it is doing.
- The shared vision of the team. It is now independent and does not need interference or participation from the leader.
- A focus on over-achieving goals and the team makes most of the decisions against criteria agreed with the leader. The team has a high degree of autonomy.
- Disagreements. However, they are now resolved within the team positively, and necessary changes to processes and structure are made by the team.
- The team can work towards achieving the goal and to attend to relationship, style and process issues along the way.
- Team members looking after each other.
- The team requiring delegated tasks and projects from the leader.
- The team not needing to be instructed or assisted. Team members might ask for assistance from the leader with personal and interpersonal development.
- The leader delegating and overseeing
5. Adjourning stage:-
The fifth stage of Tuckman’s development sequence is the adjourning phase. This final stage actually wasn’t added to the Tuckman model until 1977, and it is the most melancholy of all the stages of team formation. The adjourning phase assumes that project teams only exist for a set period of time; once the team’s mission is accomplished, the team itself dissolves. You can equate this stage to a breakup since team members often find it difficult to separate from people with whom they’ve formed close bonds. In fact, this phase is also sometimes known as the “mourning phase” because it is common for team members to experience a feeling of loss when the group is disbanded.
Many teams reach this stage naturally. For example, projects come to an end, or permanent teams are disbanded and people redeployed. People who like routine, or who have developed close working relationships with colleagues, may find this time difficult.
Q3. It is a mistake to use the terms “group” and “team” interchangeably. A group must meet certain criteria to become a team. Explain any four such criteria.
The terms ‘group’ and ‘team’ are typically used interchangeably, but while they are similar concepts the words have different connotations. They seem synonymous, but there really are large differences between the two.
A group is two or more individuals with common interests or common characteristics. Groups can be formed almost arbitrarily, based on qualities as inconsequential as hair color, geographical location, or soda preference. The grouping could even be more intentional, such as individuals who work in the same sales department at an insurance company. In the latter, their work is related, but each individual is focused on their own performance; another person’s work does not influence their own. They may not even know all of the people in their department.
Teams, like groups, are composed of two or more people with a common interest. However, teams require those people to work toward a common purpose. They are formed intentionally, with a tight structure and distinct roles. The output of one directly affects the work of another, so members must know every other member of the team and understand how their work fits together to impact the whole. Consider a soccer team; their purpose is to win games. Players work off the field to be able to support their teammates on the field. Then, when they’re on the field, they maintain their primary spheres of influence as right midfielder or central defender, but come together to score on their opponents, or to keep their opponents from scoring on them.
All teams are groups, but not all groups are teams. Simply calling a group a team does not make it true. A group is only a team when their tasks and their achievements are intertwined.
Commitment to the purpose and values of an organization provides a clear sense of direction.
Team members understand how their work fits into corporate objectives and they agree that their team’s goals are achievable and aligned with corporate mission and values. Commitment is the foundation for synergy in groups. Individuals are willing to put aside personal needs for the benefit of the work team or the company. When there is a meeting of the minds on the big picture, this shared purpose provides a backdrop against which all team decisions can be viewed. Goals are developed with corporate priorities in mind. Team ground rules are set with consideration for both company and individual values. When conflict arises, the team uses alignment with purpose, values, and goals as important criteria for acceptable solutions.
To enhance team commitment, leaders might consider inviting each work team to develop team mission, vision, and values statements that are in alignment with those of the corporation but reflect the individuality of each team. These statements should be visible and “walked” every day. Once a shared purpose is agreed upon, each team can develop goals and measures, focus on continuous improvement, and celebrate team success at important milestones. The time spent up front getting all team members on the same track will greatly reduce the number of derailments or emergency rerouting later.
The power of an effective team is in direct proportion to the skills members possess and the initiative members expend. Work teams need people who have strong technical and interpersonal skills and are willing to learn. Teams also need self-leaders who take responsibility for getting things done. But if a few team members shoulder most of the burden, the team runs the risk of member burnout, or worse-member turn-off.
To enhance balanced participation on a work team, leaders should consider three factors that affect the level of individual contribution: inclusion, confidence, and empowerment. The more individuals feel like part of a team, the more they contribute; and the more members contribute, the more they feel like part of the team. To enhance feelings of inclusion, leaders need to keep work team members informed, solicit their input, and support an atmosphere of collegiality. If employees are not offering suggestions at meetings, invite them to do so. If team members miss meetings, let them know they were missed. When ideas-even wild ideas-are offered, show appreciation for the initiative.
Confidence in self and team affects the amount of energy a team member invests in an endeavor. If it appears that the investment of hard work is likely to end in success, employees are more likely to contribute. If, on the other hand, success seems unlikely, investment of energy will wane. To breed confidence on a work team, leaders can highlight the talent, experience, and accomplishments represented on the team, as well as keep past team successes visible. The confidence of team members can be bolstered by providing feedback, coaching, assessment, and professional development opportunities.
Another way to balance contribution on a work team is to enhance employee empowerment. When workers are involved in decisions, given the right training, and respected for their experience, they feel enabled and invest more. It is also important to have team members evaluate how well they support the contribution of others.
For a work group to reach its full potential, members must be able to say what they think, ask for help, share new or unpopular ideas, and risk making mistakes. This can only happen in an atmosphere where team members show concern, trust one another, and focus on solutions, not problems. Communication-when it is friendly, open, and positive-plays a vital role in creating such cohesiveness.
Friendly communications are more likely when individuals know and respect one another. Team members show caring by asking about each other’s lives outside of work, respecting individual differences, joking, and generally making all feel welcome.
Open communication is equally important to a team’s success. To assess work performance, members must provide honest feedback, accept constructive criticism, and address issues head-on. To do so requires a trust level supported by direct, honest communication.
Positive communication impacts the energy of a work team. When members talk about what they like, need, or want, it is quite different from wailing about what annoys or frustrates them. The former energizes; the latter demoralizes.
To enhance team communication, leaders can provide skill training in listening, responding, and the use of language as well as in meeting management, feedback, and consensus building.
Most challenges in the workplace today require much more than good solo performance. In increasingly complex organizations, success depends upon the degree of interdependence recognized within the team. Leaders can facilitate cooperation by highlighting the impact of individual members on team productivity and clarifying valued team member behaviors. The following F.A.C.T.S. model of effective team member behaviors (follow-through, accuracy, timeliness, creativity, and spirit) may serve as a guide for helping teams identify behaviors that support synergy within the work team.
- Follow-through- One of the most common phrases heard in groups that work well together is “You can count on it.” Members trust that when a colleague agrees to return a telephone call, read a report, talk to a customer, attend a meeting, or change a behavior, the job will be done. There will be follow-through. Team members are keenly aware that as part of a team, everything that they do-or don’t do-impacts someone else.
- Accuracy- Another common phrase heard in effective work groups is “We do it right the first time.” Accuracy, clearly a reflection of personal pride, also demonstrates a commitment to uphold the standards of the team, thus generating team pride.
- Creativity- Innovation flourishes on a team when individuals feel supported by colleagues. Although taking the lead in a new order of things is risky business, such risk is greatly reduced in a cooperative environment where members forgive mistakes, respect individual differences, and shift their thinking from a point of view to a viewing point.
- Timeliness- When work team members are truly cooperating, they respect the time of others by turning team priorities into personal priorities, arriving for meetings on time, sharing information promptly, clustering questions for people, communicating succinctly, and asking “Is this a good time?” before initiating interactions.
- Spirit- Being on a work team is a bit like being part of a family. You can’t have your way all of the time, and-to add value-you must develop a generous spirit. Leaders can help work teams by addressing these “rules” of team spirit: value the individual; develop team trust; communicate openly; manage differences; share successes; welcome new members.
Q4. Social loafers, also referred to as free riders, produce not only low- quality work, which causes others to work harder to compensate, but they also often distract or disrupt the work of other team members. How will you convert the free riders to team players?
Free-riding means individuals work less because their colleagues will complete the task for them; Social Loafing occurs when team members cannot be identified, meaning there are no rewards or punishments for individuals.
1. Make the task more meaningful:- People often slack off when they don’t feel that the task matters. When they recognize the importance of their efforts, they tend to work harder and smarter.
2. Show them what their peers are doing:- Sometimes people simply don’t realize that they’re doing less than the norm.
3. Shrink the group:- When working in a large team, it’s easy to question whether individual efforts really matter.
4. Assign unique responsibilities:- Many groups balloon in size because people are trying to be polite—they want to include everyone and offend no one.
5. Make individual inputs visible:- When it’s impossible to see who’s doing what, people can hide in the crowd.
6. Build a stronger relationship:- If it’s challenging to change the task or the results, it may be time to work on the relationship. People don’t worry much about letting down strangers and acquaintances, but they feel guilty about leaving their friends in the lurch.
7. If all else fails, ask for advice:- Sometimes it’s useful to go right to the source. What if you approached a slacker and said the following? “I’m trying to get some members of this team to contribute more, and I wanted to seek your guidance on how to do that.”
When thinking about building a team, it’s important to think about the team needs (building and maintaining of the team), the task needs (getting the project done), and individual needs. Researchers suggest establishing group norms that everyone feels comfortable with, affirming the importance of keeping commitments made to the group, and holding group members accountable.
Q5. List 5Cs for effective team member behaviours (teamwork).
Having a strong team is very essential to work effectively and to produce spectacular results.Good and effective team coordination results in a successful project. Every company strives to inculcate team values in their employees to create a strong value based organization. Strong team improves the performance and quality. Building a strong team can only be possible through effective communication and cooperation. Building a strong environment is not an easy task and it depends on how the management creates favorable environment for people coming from different cultures and regions.
1. Collaboration:- Effective collaboration yields good results and this can happen only when each and every member of the team is clear about what is expected from them and also what they have to do. If the team lacks clarity then they fail in building a strong team. Having clear expectations and understanding his/her responsibility provides direction in which they should work and also helps in meeting individual goals. This will in turn help them to achieve project goals.
2. Control:- Team manager should have a control over the team members to make team strong. Manager should evaluate each member of the team, understand their working style and behavior. According to that manager has to assign responsibilities and authorities to go with it. Having too much of control over the team members makes them less creative and innovative and this will in turn affect the productivity. Therefore assigning them right amount of work and authority makes them stronger, responsible and helps to yield good results.
3. Commitment:- Commitment to the intent and ethics of a company provides a clear sense of focus. Once team members understand how their work fits into the company objectives and that their goals are achievable, individuals are ready to put aside personal needs for the benefit of the team, department or company. Once a shared purpose is agreed upon, each team can develop goal posts and focus on continually improving. Time spent getting all team members on the same page will reduce the chances of disasters at a later stage.
4. Communication:- Communicating effectively is very important as lack of communication always leads to misunderstanding and this ultimately results in poor performance and bad results. Communication plays a large role in enabling a work group to reach its full capacity. It is also important to make sure that the team performance is not affected because of lack of communication. Open communication should be encouraged and everyone in the team should be given chance to express their views, ask for help and share new ideas. This adds a lot of strength to the team performance and leads to better results. This can only happen in an environment where team members trust one another and focus on solutions, not problems. To be able to assess the work performance of a team, members must provide honest feedback, be able to accept practical criticism and sort out any issues without complaint. Direct and honest communication is a major player in these instances.
5. Cooperation:- Finally cooperation and coordination between the team members is also very important in building a strong team. Team members should coordinate among themselves and understand each other’s work style. This will make them comfortable to work with each other and will create good bonding between them. Most tasks in the workplace require much more than one person doing it all. Success in a company depends upon a degree of inter-dependence within the team. Team leaders can encourage co-operation by stressing the influence of individual members on team productivity. It becomes easy for the team to face challenges.
Q6. Sara works in a team that work together over time and distance via electronic media to combine effort and achieve common goals. Identify the type of team that Sara works with and its five pros and five cons.
A virtual team (also known as a geographically dispersed team, distributed team, or remote team) usually refers to a group of individuals who work together from different geographic locations and rely on communication technology such as email, instant messaging, and video or voice conferencing services in order to collaborate. Since communication is not in-person, trust and good communication are crucial to the success of a virtual team.
Example of a Virtual Team-
Company A, a plane manufacturer, is facing heavy pressure from competitors. To address the issue, Company A connects experts from the United States, Canada, Asia, and Europe to collaborate and create a new innovative plane design.
# Pros of Virtual team:-
1. Cost savings – The biggest advantage of virtual team enjoyed by an organization is the associated cost savings. The organization can do away with huge expenses on real estate, office spaces, utilities bills such as gas, electricity, water etc. and executives’ travel. Many organizations outsource their operations to the low-cost regions. Thus production cost also decreases with the reduced raw material cost, operational costs and lower wages of the employees in these geographic locations.
2. Leverage Global Talent – Virtual Teams allows organizations to look for talent beyond their country of origin. This brings together the experts and specialists from across the globe to work together on the project. Increased knowledge sharing and greater innovation happens as organization’s human capital share their understanding of global and local markets as well as best business practices.
3. Increased Productivity & Higher Profits – Members of virtual teams tend to have higher focus on the task at hand. As a practice virtual team supports flatter organization structure. The members do not have to deal with unnecessary bureaucracy which slows down the decision making. This enhances the productivity which shows as higher profits.
4. More satisfied employees- Talented employees now more than ever are looking for jobs where they can work from home due to the need or desire for flexible hours. This gives you more opportunities to hire talented team members who might not otherwise be able or willing to work for you.
5. Higher scalability- With a real office, increasing your staff often requires moving into a larger office space. However, with a virtual team, you can scale up your business without worrying about how much more square footage you need. There’s no need to worry about increased power, heating, and air conditioning costs.
6. Reduced Time to Market – Since the members span the time zones, there could be different team working on the same project 24*7, so when one member sleeps there will be another one somewhere else who would start work where the former had left. This shortens the product development time as well as faster response time to demands in both global and local markets.
7. Newer Opportunities – If we see at larger societal level, virtual teams have created newer opportunities for people who are less mobile and hesitant to relocate due to either family requirement or physical challenge. Now any task that does not require the physical presence of a person and which can be supported by communication technology throws an opportunity for many deserving candidates.
8. Staff Loyalty- Many members of virtual teams are also said to have higher levels of loyalty, due to being able to work flexibly. Remote workers are also less likely to have sick days or to leave a company.
9. Cater to more clients- If you have employees working from all over the country or all over the world, that means you can expand your business hours and expand your reach when it comes to the clients you serve. When you have employees working in a variety of time zones, you can also cater to clients in those time zones. This helps you to grow your business faster, provide a higher level of customer service, and improve your bottom line.
Expanding your team and catering to a larger clientele is great for your current employees, too. If there are more people on the team, it’s easier to divide the workload evenly among them. This saves one employee from having to take on too much, and it further improves your team’s work-life balance.
10. Avoid unnecessary meetings- Last, but not least, virtual teams and team leaders can avoid a lot of unnecessary meetings.
When you run a team of remote workers, it can be harder to get everyone together in one (virtual) place for a meeting. As a result, you’ll likely lean more heavily on emails and online chat options. You’ll save the video meetings and conference calls for things that truly matter. By eliminating unnecessary meetings, you can increase your team’s productivity and minimize distractions. This helps everyone to get their work done faster and helps the business to keep growing and thriving.
Your team will surely appreciate the reduction in unnecessary meetings when you switch to remote work, too. You’ll also learn which subjects truly require everyone to gather together and which ones can be typed up in a group email or group message (this saves you from having to plan for so many meetings, too).
# Cons of Virtual team:-
Understanding the disadvantages that are inherent in virtual teams can enable the combined team (i.e., your staff and the virtual team) to become more successful and efficient, particularly by avoiding the many mistakes that can lead to failure. These challenges can lie in the areas of:
1. Communication- Not working in the same physical location can present communication challenges—leverage technology to reduce this problem (e.g., video conferencing, project management software, phone discussions, detailed email updates).
2. Poor leadership or management- It is essential that the leader of a virtual team have the ability to manage many initiatives and virtual employees while providing a clear vision for the team.
3. Incompetent team members- One weak team member can adversely affect the virtual team concept. Recruiting the right team members plays a critical role in the success of the virtual team.
4. Cost of Technology – The successful working of virtual team is supported by the efficient use of multiple communication technologies such as instant messaging, emails and video-conferencing, among others. No one tool can provide the complete support. The cost associated with these installation and maintenance tools is little on the higher side.
5. Conflicts, Lack of Trust & Collaboration – The cultural differences between the members of virtual teams gives rise to number of conflicts. For example, while an American would write a straightforward email describing a bad situation, this would be perceived as impolite by a South Asian (say Japanese) member of the team. This would lead to conflicts, mistrust and difficulties in fruitful collaboration which is so vital for the success of virtual team functioning. These challenges are also precipitated by the absence of non-verbal cues so intrinsic to face-to-face interactions.
6. Social Isolation – Many members of virtual teams are adversely affected by the lack of physical interactions. Most of the communications in virtual environment is task-oriented. In today’s society where job is an important social force for most of us because many of our workplace colleagues also constitute our close friends, this gives a not-so-good feeling of social isolation. This in turn counter-effects productivity as well as leads to stress. Social isolation when working remotely can reduce social interaction across team members associated with a physical office setting. This can affect productivity, as well as contributing to higher stress levels. At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, most companies had limited flexible work solutions to implement in the long term. As a result, employee well-being was challenged by the sheer novelty of virtual teams. Managers working virtually need to be alert in order to create the right conditions for employee engagement.
7. Less cohesiveness. When you allow a virtual team to mostly choose their own work hours, your organization can be more fragmented. For example, if there’s an emergency, such as a major equipment failure or serious IT issues, you can’t easily call a meeting of your entire organization to deal with these crises.
8. Lack of camaraderie. Social interaction does help encourage more effective teamwork. In a virtual environment, however, there isn’t much of an opportunity for employees to gather for impromptu conversations that can often enhance collaboration.
9. Risk to reputation. If potential customers find out that you run a virtual office with remote employees, they may not think of your firm as a “real” company.
10. Security and compliance issues. In some industries, it’s extremely risky to have confidential information stored remotely. For example, the accidental loss or release of data in specific industries, such as financial services and healthcare, can carry serious repercussions.
Q7. Sara, Abdulla and Maryam are copywriters who create printing advertisements for a retail company. Their manager, Hamda, noticed that the advertisement created by this team are similar and not very creative. She called you OB specialist, to deliver a training on Groupthink. Explain to the team, the meaning of groupthink and help them determine the groupthink symptoms.
Groupthink is a process through which the desire for consensus in groups can lead to poor decisions. Rather than object to them and risk losing a sense of group solidarity, members may remain silent and lend their support.
Groupthink is a phenomenon that occurs when a group of individuals reaches a consensus without critical reasoning or evaluation of the consequences or alternatives. Groupthink is based on a common desire not to upset the balance of a group of people. This desire creates a dynamic within a group whereby creativity and individuality tend to be stifled in order to avoid conflict.
To get an idea of how groupthink might work in practice, imagine you’re part of a company that is trying to develop a new advertising campaign for a consumer product. The rest of your team seems excited about the campaign but you have some concerns. However, you’re reluctant to speak up because you like your coworkers and don’t want to publicly embarrass them by questioning their idea. You also don’t know what to suggest that your team do instead, because most of the meetings have involved talking about why this campaign is good, instead of considering other possible advertising campaigns. Briefly, you talk to your immediate supervisor and mention to her your concerns about the campaign. However, she tells you not to derail a project that everyone is so excited about and fails to relay your concerns to the team leader. At that point, you may decide that going along with the group is the strategy that makes the most sense—you don’t want to stand out for going against a popular strategy.
After all, you tell yourself, if it’s such a popular idea among your coworkers—whom you like and respect—can it really be such a bad idea?
Situations such as this one show that groupthink can happen relatively easily. When there are strong pressures to conform to the group, we may not voice our true thoughts. In cases like this, we can even experience the illusion of unanimity: while many people may privately disagree, we go along with the group’s decision—which can lead the group to make a bad decision.
# Symptoms of Groupthink:-
1. Rationalization- This is when team members convince themselves that despite evidence to the contrary, the decision or alternative being presented is the best one.
“Those other people don’t agree with us because they haven’t researched the problem as extensively as we have.”
2. Peer Pressure- When a team member expresses an opposing opinion or questions the rationale behind a decision, the rest of the team members work together to pressure or penalize that person into compliance.
“Well if you really feel that we’re making a mistake you can always leave the team.”
3. Complacency- After a few successes, the group begins to feel like any decision they make is the right one because there is no disagreement from any source.
“Our track record speaks for itself. We are unstoppable!”
4. Moral High Ground- Each member of the group views him or herself as moral. The combination of moral minds is therefore thought not to be likely to make a poor or immoral decision. When morality is used as a basis for decision-making, the pressure to conform is even greater because no individual wants to be perceived as immoral.
“We all know what is right and wrong, and this is definitely right.”
5. Stereotyping- As the group becomes more uniform in their views, they begin to see outsiders as possessing a different and inferior set of morals and characteristics from themselves. These perceived negative characteristics are then used to discredit the opposition.
“Lawyers will find any excuse to argue, even when the facts are clearly against them.”
6. Censorship- Members censor their opinions in order to conform.
“If everyone else agrees then my thoughts to the contrary must be wrong.”
Information that is gathered is censored so that it also conforms to, or supports the chosen decision or alternative.
“Don’t listen to that nonsense, they don’t have a clue about what is really going on.”
7. Illusion of Unanimity- Because no one speaks out, everyone in the group feels the group’s decision is unanimous. This is what feeds the Groupthink and causes it to spiral out of control.
“I see we all agree so it’s decided then.”
# How to Avoid Groupthink:-
The challenge for any team or group leader is to create a working environment in which Groupthink is unlikely to happen. It is important also to understand the risks of Groupthink – if the stakes are high, you need to make a real effort to ensure that you’re making good decisions.
To avoid Groupthink, it is important to have a process in place for checking the fundamental assumptions behind important decisions, for validating the decision-making process, and for evaluating the risks involved. For significant decisions, make sure your team does the following in their decision-making process:
- Explores objectives.
- Explores alternatives.
- Encourages ideas to be challenged without reprisal.
- Examines the risks if the preferred choice is chosen.
- Tests assumptions.
- If necessary, goes back and re-examines initial alternatives that were rejected.
- Gathers relevant information from outside sources.
- Processes this information objectively.
- Has at least one contingency plan
Now here are some ways to avoid getting too caught up in the herd:
- Be aware of the consequences if/when the group is wrong.
- Seek out alternative viewpoints that disagree with your own and keep an open mind.
- Try to poke holes in your own argument. In the words of Charlie Munger – invert, always invert. Look at your ideas from the other side to better understand your own incentives.
- Understand the concept of mean reversion and the fact that investments can’t grow forever.
- Prepare to make mistakes.
- Write down your reasons for making the investment decision in the first place and review periodically to see if things have changed.
- Talk your ideas through with a trusted outside source that will give you honest feedback.
Q8. Sara, Abdulla and Maryam are working on a project and struggling with the problem of procuring resources within the budget. Explain to them these practical problem- solving techniques in your own words- Brainstorming; Delphi technique; and Brainwriting.
Brainstorming is a creative process that is used as an early step in generating possible solutions to a problem and generating new ideas alone or by holding intensive group discussions between team members in a team. Here, every team member is allowed to share their thoughts or ideas, however brilliant or outlandish it may be. Judgment is withheld to create a long list of ideas, including ones more creative or daring than those initially considered.
In brainstorming sessions, bigger the team, the better it is. After all, the main purpose of conducting such thought-provoking discussions is to gather as many ideas as possible. As it is said, brainstorming is the nexus of new ideas. So, even an accidental suggestion can be a great addition that can take the idea to a whole new level.
Brainstorming refers to the practice of generating ideas and putting them down in concrete form, such as on a piece of paper or in a computer program. You can use brainstorming to force your brain to come up with new solutions to problems or ideas about a product. Traditionally, brainstorming is a group activity. The energy of the group helps each person feed off everyone else. In addition to generating ideas, brainstorming can help you weave connected ideas together to form a cohesive whole.
Use brainstorming to help gather points and issues and to explore innovations and ideas. Fishbone diagrams are also useful for brainstorming and identifying causal factors which might otherwise be forgotten. For complex proposals, or when you lack experience of the issues, involve others in the brainstorming process. Thereafter, it’s a question of putting the issues in the right order and establishing relationships and links between each issue.
Unlike most project management skills and methods, the first stages of the brainstorming process is ideally a free-thinking and random technique. Consequently, it can be overlooked or under-utilised because it not a natural approach for many people whose mains strengths are in systems and processes. This stage of the planning process can benefit from being facilitated by a team member able to lead such a session, specifically to help very organised people to think randomly and creatively.
However, there is no one correct way to brainstorm. Some people like to storm on their own, a pad of paper and a pen in hand, a cup of coffee close by. They like to get their ideas on paper before they consider discussing them with others. Following are the different types of brainstorming:-
1. Associative Brainstorming-
This exercise can be done solo or by a number of people where they sit down at a quiet place with a pen and a paper. Now, you just need an idea, probably a single word that summarizes the idea in a nutshell. Start writing other words that come up in your mind associated with that idea or a word. It works best when you let your mind run free and make an effort to come up with as many words as possible. With this technique, you tend to trigger your mind with other related words that further triggers new words. This allows your brain to connect the dots and conceive a number of new ideas. You can easily choose the duration of exercise anything from 10 minutes to an hour.2.
Freestorming is usually thinking and writing about anything and everything that comes to your mind whenever you think of an idea. You just need to find a quiet place and allow yourself to completely immerse in freestorming. Just note down all the things – relevant or irrelevant, good or bad in your notebook or a computer. This is a powerful brainstorming technique that lets you put down all the ‘real and raw’ ideas and then take a deep dive into an ocean of possibilities where many hidden ideas are waiting to be discovered.
3. Virtual Brainstorming-
Virtual brainstorming is often referred as online brainstorming and knows as best brainstorming techniques. Today, when most of the teams are geographically scattered, more and more people are opting for this contemporary way of brainstorming. All you need is an internet connection and you are all set to brainstorm!
With the help of online collaboration tools, all the team members are virtually present at one centralized platform where they can initiate discussions. This advancement in technology has helped us to overcome the constraints of time and space. ProofHub – an online collaboration tool helps you get everyone associated with a project under one virtual roof. It helps you seamlessly communicate and collaborate with all the team members. You can start important brainstorming sessions in discussions and can jot down the important pointers in the notes section.
This probably is one of the most fun and engaging way of brainstorming developed recently. Here, you don’t think like yourself rather you try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Interestingly, it allows you to think that how you would think if you were somebody else. Your boss? Or maybe your mentor?
5. Round Robin Brainstorming-
Teams form a circle to kick off this method. Once the topic is shared, go around the circle one-by-one and have each person offer an idea until everyone has had a turn.
Simultaneously, a facilitator records all ideas so they can be discussed once the sharing is over. It’s very important to not evaluate any ideas until everyone has the opportunity to share. This technique is good when some of your team members have a tendency to stay quiet throughout meetings.
When leading a session, the round robin method of brainstorming allows everyone to pitch in and contribute. Just make sure to treat each idea with equal weight. And try to discourage people from saying “X already mentioned my idea.” If this does happen, say you’ll return to them at the end so they have time to think of something new.
This form of brainstorming focuses on forming questions rather than answers. Starbursting challenges the team to come up with as many questions as they can about your topic.
An easy way to begin a session like this would be to start listing questions that deal with the who, what, where, when, and why. This style assures that all aspects of the project are addressed before any work goes into executing it. It’s a good technique for teams who tend to overlook certain aspects of a project and end up rushing to get things done last minute.
Thinking up some good brainstorming questions has the added benefit of giving you an instant backlog of ideas for web content: In case you need a FAQ section for your website or product, simply answer the generated questions.
7. Reverse Brainstorming-
A creative problem-solving technique in which the problem is turned around and considered from a different point of view to spur new and different solutions.
8. Stop-and-Go Brainstorming-
A problem-solving technique in which a group alternately engages in brainstorming solutions without evaluation for ten minutes then engages in a short period of evaluation. The group continues alternating between brainstorming and evaluation.
9. Phillips 66 Brainstorming-
A problem-solving technique in which a group of six people brainstorms for six minutes and then a spokesman for each group presents either the best ideas or all ideas to the larger group.
A problem-solving technique in which participants individually brainstorm ideas and document them, then share them with a group to further push their thinking.
# Delphi technique-
The Delphi Technique refers to the systematic forecasting method used to gather opinions of the panel of experts on the problem being encountered, through the questionnaires, often sent through mail. In other words, a set of opinions pertaining to a specific problem, obtained in writing usually through questionnaires from several experts in the specific field is called as a Delphi technique.
In a Delphi technique, the group facilitator or the change agent aggregates all the anonymous opinions received through the questionnaires, sent two or three times to the same set of experts. The experts are required to give justification for the answers given in the first questionnaire and on the basis of it, the revised questionnaire is prepared and is again sent to the same group of experts.
The experts can modify their answers in accordance with the replies given by other panel members. The objective of a Delphi technique is to reach to the most accurate answer by decreasing the number of solutions each time the questionnaire is sent to the group of experts. The experts are required to give their opinion every time the questionnaire is received, and this process continues until the issues are narrowed, responses are focused, and the consensus is reached.
In a Delphi technique, the identity of the group members is not revealed, and they are not even required to gather for a physical meeting. Each member is free to give his opinion with respect to the problem, thereby avoiding the influential effect that a powerful or authoritative member can have on the other group members.
This technique is quite advantageous as diverse opinions can be gathered from the large pool of experts who might be geographically separated. Also, the quality of decision gets improved as the expertise of each group member is capitalized to reach to a final solution.
This is a group exercise where a number of team members sit down to work on an idea. This is polymorphic in nature i.e the idea can take different forms as it progresses. In this activity, a team leader shares the topic and the team members are required to write three ideas on a piece of paper and pass it to the other member. Now, likewise, he will jot down three ideas in coherence with the previous ideas and pass it on. Similarly, this will be repeated till the last person is not done with his inputs.
After the activity is performed, sit down and go through all the ideas. You may need to scrap some of them as well. Some might trigger better ideas as well. With little more brainstorming, you can transform the average ideas to incredible one