Over the past 5 weeks since my first reflection paper, something strange had been happening to my group. Seemingly innocuously, yet swiftly and silently, it had pervasively taken over our whole group’s dynamics. Our group seemed to be drifting apart. What had gone wrong? This 2nd reflection paper will go through the events which lead up to the present stage, and suggest recommendations on how to improve the situation. Hopefully all will be well soon! Event 1: Paper tower exercise
During class 5, our group was supposed to build a paper tower, with the aim of building one taller than the professor. Although the professor gave us some rules and guidelines, for example how we had to fully discuss our thoughts and plans, our group jumped straight into the project, and started to attempt to build the tower on our own, to see which model and design would work. When we realised that we were engaging in self limiting behaviour, I tried to get everybody to contribute ideas which I recorded on the back of my lecture notes. Unfortunately, we engaged in more self-limiting behaviour by immediately discrediting designs which appeared to be flawed in our eyes, which lead to self-censorship by some of our group members on their ideas. After a few minutes, we gave up discussing, and continued to work on our individual ideas. Usually BK or I would play the devil’s advocate or the facilitator, however this time round, he was the observer and had to keep quiet, while I was too busy advocating my own idea, to be my own devil’s advocate! In the end, we did not decide via consensus, rather, by who was the loudest and quickest at assembling a working model (Mine and Noriko’s). If only we had not discredited Alarice’s idea, and used a better decision making process, we might have arrived at the optimal solution! I learnt much from this exercise. Firstly, I learnt that by actually showing people a working model can result in the presentation of a compelling idea, which can make team members involuntarily give up. However, this method will result in a sub-optimal solution. I also realised the importance of following the group decision making process properly in order to arrive at an optimal solution! If we had listed all ideas with an open mind, and not discredited anybody’s idea no matter how important it is, we might have arrived at a different answer. I felt genuinely apologetic towards Alarice for my bad behaviour! Another improvement we could have made was that we should have at least 2 “facilitators” and “devils advocates” assigned, to enhance discussion and facilitate our decision making processes. Additionally, we should have set a positive tone at the start of our exercise by working on the task as a team, instead of breaking into individual groups. Finally, we could have post meeting feedback/evaluation, to praise or encourage group members to understand group member’s behaviour, and to raise everyone’s awareness of their behaviours and the consequences such that we can work better as a team in the future. Key Event 2: Vocational Exercise
For this exercise, our team was highly unproductive and did not did not arrive at any solution, agreement or compromise by the end of the exercise. We were relieved when the exercise ended abruptly, as we did not have to argue much longer about who should get the “rights” to the holiday. This outcome, lead me to realise that our group was a bit too cohesive, and beginning to display some signs of group think and conflict avoidance. We were too busy enjoying being a cohesive group, to the extent that we did not dare to go against each other’s decisions, especially in a scenario whereby we all had conflicting objectives and agenda. Our negotiation was low on assertiveness, as we giggled and laughed and was generally unserious throughout the discussion. At the same time, we were low on cooperativeness, as none of us were willing to give/take during the role-play, and we hoped that the...
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