Our first exercise in the EMOB, experiences in management and organizational behavior, was the Group Ranking Task: Alaskan Adventure. The purpose of this exercise is to develop an understanding of group problem solving, and to compare individual versus group decision-making.
We had six people in our group, and the exercise took much longer than expected to get through the initial ranking phase because of language issues. All of the other groups finished before we had completed our group ranking. Once it became clear that our group was far behind, we stopped debating the finer points and just expediently moved through the exercise. Shelton brought up the point that if your persuasive person, you need to ensure that you’re guiding the group in the right direction because some people will use their power of persuasion even when they are completely wrong about their answer.
Typically, the group answers turn out to be better than those of the individuals, although with our group that wasn’t the case. The advantages of group problem solving include the ability to tap into more knowledge and experience, a higher understanding of the finished product, acceptance as a result of it being the group’s product, and the ability to have those members of the group served as ambassadors to the organization.
Disadvantages of group problem solving include premature closure, where the group moves too quickly to a solution; and overall time consuming effort to reach consensus; groupthink and conforming, diffused responsibility and riskier decisions.
Our next exercise in the EMOB was the Roles Nomination Form. This exercise is designed to point out the different roles that people play in a group. These roles break down to group task roles, group maintenance roles, and dysfunctional/self oriented roles as well as overall leadership roles.
The next EMOB exercise, What Do We Value in Work, was to determine how men at Webster University and women at Webster University would prioritize certain aspects of work.
As part of the men’s group, we determined that the number one valued item was the ability to earn a high income, followed by respect from other people, and a job that rewards good performance with recognition. We surmised that the number one issue for the women would be a position that provides job security, followed by respect, comfortable working conditions and (again) rewards good performance with recognition.