Arctic Survival

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While our team was composed of completely different preference types (as classified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), we believe that such varying opinions led to our group’s success in the Subarctic Survival Simulation. In fact, our group boasted the highest team percentage change in the activity—43 percent. The team percentage change represents the improvements made in the ranking of survival tools through our team’s discussion from our individual assessments. The change shows how the group’s gain score (24.4) relates to the average individual score (56.4). Additionally, our gain score was the highest in the class, further showing the strengths of our teamwork during the survival simulation. When assessing the overall effectiveness of our discussion, our team score of 32 must also be considered—it was tied with Team 5 for the lowest in the class, while our average individual score of 56.4 was second in the class ranking. When we compare our team’s average individual score to the best individual score on our team (30), we see that there is a significant difference. Clearly there was one team member who was more in-line with the expert rankings of the survival tools than the rest of the team. This difference of 26.4 points was by far the greatest spread in the class. When looking at this spread along with our team’s percentage change, we may also conclude that this person made a positive impact on our discussions by helping to improve the team’s overall score. Although we had such a knowledgeable team member, that person did not dominate our group’s conversation. Every team member was able to speak freely and to voice his or her ideas and concerns. During the meeting, we discussed which strategy we wanted to follow (whether to stay at the crash site or to attempt to make the trek to Schefferville). This lively debate led to a C-type conflict. In “Conflict: An Important Dimension in Successful Management Teams,” Allen Amason et al., state that, “while disagreements among team members are bound to occur, so long as they focus on substantive, issue-related differences of opinion, they tend to improve team effectiveness” (Amason et al. 20). As Amason et al. note, our disagreement was a very productive conflict where two contradicting options were broadly discussed and different viewpoints were articulated. During this discussion, every member of the group was involved and attempted to explain the logic behind his or her choice. We believe that this conflict enhanced our simulation outcome by allowing us to come to a decision that was supported by all members—regardless of where he or she stood at the beginning of the discussion. The open communication of our team allowed us to utilize each other’s knowledge to the greatest extent. One member was very mechanical and was able to identify the different shelters that could be built from the canvas and rope, while another member was cognizant of hypothermia, and stressed the importance of moving around to keep warm. We realized the value in each team member’s opinion, and in turn, the importance of every member’s input to effectively reach the end result. This approach helped us to keep our power structure balanced, an idea supported by Kathleen Eisenhardt et al. in their article, “How Management Teams Can Have A Good Fight” (Eisenhardt et al. 7). The last factor that enhanced our team’s effectiveness was the use of humor. Eisenhardt et al. also emphasize the importance of humor in management teams. They note that, “humor works as a defense mechanism to protect people from the stressful and threatening situations that commonly arise in the course of making strategic decisions” (Eisenhardt et al. 6). We used humor throughout our discussion to take the focus off potentially awkward situations, and to return to the task at hand. For example, one team member stressed the importance of the alarm clock to keep the participants awake in order to reduce the...
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