Introduction: Group dynamics in academic environment cannot often simulate actual team works in real world. For example, teams in academic environment do not often have any outside influence over decision making. So, group members cannot experience how to live or handle with such influence to make critical decisions. But still these group works are a great source of learning because we are forced to delegate responsibilities, set and meet time requirement, manage individual differences, collaborate, lead people with strong sense of self actualization and awareness, support each other, influence, or provide feedback.
As a means to understanding group formation, learning experience and effectiveness of our study group- this report tries to high light on the key aspects of our group dynamics: group composition, group dynamics, communication, coordination, member contributions, feedback, decision making, and team-learning.
Group composition/atmosphere/norms: Groups here in INSEAD typically have 1 or 2 consultants, 1 Indian, 0 or 2 woman and rest are Europeans. Ours is also typical one. Professional backgrounds are diverse though academic backgrounds are similar. In terms of personality we may be lacking variety and balance. Four of the members have an inclination to see the big picture or see connections whereas miss the necessary details required for doing the things right at ground level. Adel is the only person with strong inclination for results and practicality. This is a potential weakness for the group as it has proved to be in a few occasions.
Our group atmosphere is generally friendly and congenial. We are yet to experience any conflict or unpleasant feelings because we all value humility and we live the INSEAD spirit of collaboration rather than cut throat competition. It is not that we are trying to be nice as we need to be. I would argue that it is an important social norm of our group. But it is true that there has been no real test to this norm as we are yet to get any project that stretches us to the limits. Moreover, our discussions are limited to the academic projects/assignments. This could be another reason that our group is yet to feel any high octane debate. If we had discussion on sensitive topics such as racism, we might have experienced some heated discussion. Moreover, informality and candor are yet to come in our group settings where members know each other so well that they can dare to talk about any topics. Hence, we are missing the essence of conflict management at this stage of our group works.
I am eagerly waiting for pressure and conflicts in the coming days. C) Key Features of Operating Mechanism in our Group: Quality of any team work depends to a larger extent on what is the team goal and whether team has a meaningful purpose. While we do have strong goal, I must say that meaningful purpose is yet to blossom fully for our group. We do agree that learning is the prime driving force for each individual, but so far this has not become evident in our actions. We are concerned mostly about delivering the projects on time. We are highly committed for delivering our goal- high quality team assignment on time.
We have a high preference for flawless report full of analysis and nice graphics. But we miss key instruction such as limitations on number of pages. It is because of the fact that majority of the team members like to see big pictures and don't care about necessary details. So, far it has happened for one FMV assignment. But good point is that we took it as learning. In our group discussion it is generally Mateo who serves as gate openers. Mateo with innate ability for teaching starts to explain scenario of the case/assignment to others. Vincent is the person who of often plays the role of opposer, as he challenges the popular views in the group.
Adel is essentially the mover, who brings everyone together when we are in impasse. Javier and I often play the role of supporters as we agree with the mover or opposer. I also play the role of bystanders as I critically witness the action of others and provide valuable reflection. Decision making in the team tends to be democratic. Everybody's view is sought for agreement. But I must say that we are far from becoming a team which can move into coordinated patterns of action, without the artificial tedious process of taking each one's view for decision making. The first strong test for our decision making process was during the LPG mock exam. In this exam we could not come to coherent decisions as everybody was having different view points.