Lessons Learned from Team Decision-Making in a Production Game


Added on  2019-09-30

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How your group performed relative to the other Groups in the GameBefore the production day, we tried our best to ensure that we were fully prepared. Weparticipated together in developing a strategy that was satisfied for all of us and we made asimulation production that helped to modify our strategy and increase our tasks familiarity.When the day of the competition arrived, we were very enthusiastic and we thought we wouldprobably be the best company. Although we didn’t breakeven and made any profit in the game,our team made the top 5 out of the 16 competing teams. We made a loss of -288, but we were thebest team performed in the MSc Management program. Table 1 compares our performance withthe average of the other teams.(Table 1)We did well in producing high quality cards and we were highly productive, but what wentwrong is that we lost one of highest orders we picked (£ 900). If we didn’t lose this order and bewiser in selecting profitable orders, we might have won the game and achieve our target. Overall,we are still proud of our team.Average All CompaniesOur TeamGood Cards per head9.19.3Reject Rate(%)24.6%9.1%Value per order£ 335.80£ 387Profit/Loss£ -1,241.40£-288
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Group dynamics and processesOnce we have been allocated randomly to a group of 9 members, we have been transformedfrom a regular aggregate who only share a common program, into a group or a team. A clearstructure was formed and gave us a distinct identity as a group. Besides, a common goal wasshared by us and we were all accountable and committed to achieve it. We also were dependingon each other to arrive to the same objective and we complement each other by the differentskills we have. These characteristics presented to classify us as a group or team.After several interactions between our team members, a group structure has been formed todisclose the pattern of our relationships. We were a big group and we had one month to preparefor the production day, this may cause stress if there were no group structure, therefore, thestructure was likely to arise from the psychological reason explained by Robert Bales (1950),who mentioned that the need of stability, order, and predictability is what caused the formationof a group structure. From my view point, this explanation is applicable in our case. Our need ofclarity in our relationships encouraged the existence of our group structure. Some of thedimensions of that structure are analyzed bellow:Roles: Tasks divided among us based on the different functions with a coordinator thatfacilitated the communication among us. Rules to maintain the group relationships alsoexisted, e.g. encourager and harmonizer. Power: There were slight power differences among our group and I think we attachedmore power for the two males in our group because they demonstrated a good ability tocontrol.Norms: Attendance of our group meetings and participation of all the members were twomain norms implicitly established.Leadership: We assigned our coordinator this task because we believed in his leadershipability but we didn’t explicitly announce that.Communication: Our communication was based on face-to-face meetings and somesocial media platforms to share information.
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Alongside the group structure, there were different elements that shaped our effectiveness as ateam. Those elements are analyzed in three divisions: input, process, team effectiveness:Before the game (Input): Group composition: We were nine members with diverse nationalities and backgrounds.However, we didn’t face any issue with our diversity and it was a source of strength because wewere complementing each other and the members were highly reliable.Task characteristics: we divided our rules based on the different functions for card production.The functional division of our tasks increased our interdependency, for example: I can’t stenciluntil the folders pass the card to me. It worth mentioning that the absence of any one of us coulddisrupt the team performance because each of us has its valuable rule. Context: The resources were valuable to all of us, that’s why we emphasized in efficiency in ourshared goal. Even time has been treated as a scare resource that should be conserved byassigning a time keeper. Our team climate was internally focused, we emphasized on ourcommunication and cohesiveness without caring about other competitor teams. We alsopreferred to approach our tasks in a flexible manner without assigning a leader to guide us. During the game (Processes):Each member performed his/her specialized task during the game, and was responsible about thefinal decision related to his task with consulting the team. One member coordinated our effortsand ensured communication. Because of the high emphasize in trust and respect, no conflict raiseduring the game. The reason of not facing conflicts may also be because of the shared mentalmodel that developed by us.Effectiveness (Performance): Impeding factors:Rejection of the first order which was with high value.Varying standards of quality among judges.Unexpected overwhelming presence of white orders.Facilitating factors:Positive attitude and good communication during the game.relaxed atmosphereSupport among the group: No blames for mistakes and willingness to help.Good control for Inventory and resource.
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