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Group Observation Exercise - Organisational Behaviour

Essay by   •  October 20, 2018  •  Research Paper  •  2,082 Words (9 Pages)  •  172 Views

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GROUP OBSERVATION EXERCISE
Organisational Behaviour

November 2017

Team 144

Diogo Silva, 487062ds

Josefin Rosendahl, 487053sr

Xia Shixin, 486736sx

HGTV – DESIGN STAR

Design Star, the tv show chosen by our group, is an American competition reality show from HGTV. The show requires the participating designers to decorate a place as a group each episode while competing on the individual level. We are going to analyse the episode 2 from season 8, focusing on the team of Abby, Jessie and Boris among all the subgroups.

In the chosen episode, the challenge was about untraditional living places. The contestants had two days to turn an industrial warehouse in downtown Los Angeles into a livable loft with distinct areas for living, eating, sleeping, and working. Also, each designer must purchase a vintage item and re-envision it for their first individual Camera Challenge.

The big group was divided into four teams where each was responsible for taking care of an area. Cris and Tylor were responsible for the living room, while Anne and Tiffany were responsible for the bedroom. The office and den area were under the charge of Jeribai and Brooks. Abby, Jessie and Boris, who are our main observation target, were assigned the kitchen, dining room and the foyer. They only had two days to design, shop and decorate the place for the group task and to finish the individual camera show at the same time.  

During the episode, Abby, Jessie and Boris formed a temporary and informal subgroup. Because the subgroup was only active during the two days they were working in the loft, the team’s development did not not follow the five-stage model of forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. Instead, the subgroup followed the punctuated-equilibrium model. As we can see in the episode, the team started out by deciding the direction of their work and dividing responsibilities. However, the team was not discussing and agreeing upon ideas, but rather just telling each other what they were going to do. The team then followed this course of action until the host, David Bromstad, entered and told them that they had chosen the wrong colour palette. The team then experienced the transition phase (midlife crisis) and reorganised themselves in order to become more effective. When the deadline approached, their level of collaboration increased in order to finish the tasks on time.

In what concerns our group’s opinion on the personalities and motivations of the contestants we generally agreed with each other, on the other hand we disagree on the relationship and function of them.

Abby is considered as a good team player who focused on the team task and did all the hard painting work but little for herself. She was the only one putting the team’s success above her own. However, her weakness in protecting her own boundaries and standing for her opinions is obvious as well as when she followed the instructions of not going to shopping, even if she wanted to. On the contrast, selfish, bossy, focus on her own work and no collaboration with the team are our words to describe Jessie. She sent Abby home to paint and did not help her later though she knew Abby needed help. Her choice was to prioritize her own work. As for Boris, he is actually similar to Jessie in terms of attitudes and even did not see himself as part of the group, pretending to be a guy with team spirit, which made him seem a little bit fake - this was clear when he bought the mat he liked rather than the one that would fit into Abby’s space.

The differences of opinion inside our group, lied in the team collaboration and leadership. Despite the agreement that neither Boris nor Jessie collaborate with Abby, some of us think that there was collaboration between themselves while others argue no collaboration was shown, only the same style of working/acting. Another difference was about whether there was or not a leader inside the team. One of us argued that there was no leader at all because everyone was just doing their own work. While the other two either took Boris or Jessie as the team leader.

The dynamics between Cris and Tylor were a good example of stereotype and prejudice. Because Cris was the youngest participant on the show and she didn’t perform well on the previous challenge (episode 1 of season 8), Tylor directly said he did not want to work with Cris arguing in his interview he did not want to “baby sit”. Obviously, Tylor had strong stereotype on young designers.

The social categorization process can explain how Tylor’s stereotype was formed. Tylor’s mind categorized himself as old designer and those young into another group who are all inexperienced. Being the youngest one on the show, Cris was among the more inexperienced designers, in Tylor’s view. This is how the stereotype towards young designers was set.

After that, according to social identity theory and realistic conflict theory, the stereotype became prejudice. Negative feeling towards young designers, like Cris, made Tylor improve his own self-esteem as a member of the senior designers group. Meanwhile, under the circumstance of competition, the limited chance of winning made Tylor even more likely to think negatively on Cris. As a result, he rejected advices from Cris multiple times. The process was automated because of the intense workload and the limited time to complete the task, which further strengthen Tylor’s prejudice and disarmed his reasonable judgmental brain. During the evaluation process, the judges did not like so much of Tylor’s work, and he got saved thanks to Cris’s excellent performance in the challenge.

In what concerns the strengths of the team analysed, we can say that they recognised the strengths and weaknesses of individual team members, for example when Jessie asked Abby to do the foyer because she was good at creating a welcoming atmosphere in the previous challenge. Other strengths of the team were the equal status between team members, which allowed everyone to express their opinions, and the small size of the team, which allowed the team to make quick decisions and to be productive. Because all team members were American with a designer background, there was low level of diversity and thus no initial conflict within the team, which increased the team’s effectiveness. The intergroup competition limited social loafing within the team. The team also showed some level of reflexivity when adjusting their original plan after receiving feedback from David Bromstad. The team’s biggest strength was however their strong individual motivation to succeed as a team in order to move on as individuals to the next episode.

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