Essay: Group formation and team leadership in relation to organisational behaviour

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1. Executive Summary

The purpose of this essay is to reflect on and evaluate two aspects of my experience which are conflict in group formation and team leadership and relate that to organisational behaviour. The major aspects I have chosen to discuss on are conflict during the group formation, and team leadership. This document has been divided into two sections:

In the first section of the essay, I start by briefly presenting the organisation (Media intelligence) I worked for as a Data Analyst and further continue describing my experience and duties. Moreover, I describe how Media Intelligence assigned a team under my responsibilities to enable our department meet her monthly objectives. The major aspects discussed in this section are the confrontation I faced with one of my (team member) colleague during our grouping activities and illustrate on the strategy I used to end the conflict. By assessing my overall performance positively and negatively, I would be able to learn from my mistakes from the knowledge I grasped from Organizational behaviour, its theories and apply them in future where relevant.

In the second section, I shall briefly discuss the training I received at media Intelligence and access my leadership in my team.

2. Introduction

2.1. Brief presentation MEDIA INTELLIGENCE

Media Intelligence is a business consulting agency created in 2002 by Rostand Tane located in Cameroon-Yaoundé: Rue Elig-Essono beside OAP and is specialised in providing strategic data to companies for better strategic planning and decision making. The major core activities or services at Media Intelligence are media research, market studies, competitive intelligence, Media research and insights (measurement, monitoring, and performances). Each service has a department Unit as elaborated in the diagram below and every Mondays each Head of Unit or Unit Executive had to present depending on the number of clients each department had for that period or month. The presentations where generally structured as; giving a detailed briefing on the customers actual and desired needs, demonstrating how the work would be scheduled and planned, and lastly providing solutions (recommendations if applicable) made from current observations.

2.2. My Role and Core function

At Media Intelligence, I worked as a Data Analyst and was fortunate to be the Head of the Monitoring Unit. Heading the Monitoring unit implied having some managerial and organisational skills or capacities because I was required to train, develop, and manage a team of 5 media researchers. Our core functions and activities in the Monitoring unit were as follows: tracking advertising Ads of each of our Clients in the various Mass Medias: TV, Radio, Newspapers, Social Media, Outdoor (Ooh) which was the first step. The second step was to provide a detailed analysis on the weekly, monthly expenditures of our clients Ads expenditures, their competitors and BTL advertising campaigns. The third step was to measure the monthly mass media expenditures of all advertisers and classify them by sector of activity as follows: cars, Foods industries, Beverage, Telecommunication, Air, Road Transportation, Forestry, Educational/Institutional, Financial(Banks, Insurance, credit Unions,) Health care and social, , Entertainment(Gambling, Lottery)….etc. My role and functions implied organizing, planning, briefing, orientating, setting weekly objectives and check-ups, reporting the group advancement to the general manager. According to Stephens (2000) [1] a team refers to ‘’two or more interacting and interdependent individuals who come together, sharing responsibilities and using complementary skills to achieve specific goals’’. There are different types of groups categorized under formal (designed by the organisation to achieve specific tasks or achieve goals) and informal groups (which are generally are social groups)

Formal groups

The command groups are composed of cross functional teams (dysfunctional) which are individuals composed from the organisation’s chart and the individuals in that group report directly to the manager. Whereas the task group on the other hand are independent and take their own responsibilities working together to complete a task. [1] We had a contract with a telecommunication advertiser known as MTN who had signed a 5years renewable contract with the agency and at hand, we had other clients like Uniliever, Guinness, and Afrikland First bank requesting the same service. The major problem most of this advertisers faced where with the media diffusers, who in some cases did not respect their programing failing to insert advertisers Ads at required times as planned by the media plan. Consequently this had a great impact on advertisers overall operations starting from their marketing to their creation strategies resulting to a drop in sales and profits margins to a certain extend.

Having many clients on hand, I was assigned to manage the monitoring unit which was composed of 3 girls and 2 boys. We operated as a cross functional team because the groups had been composed by the Media intelligence. Media intelligence had created a switching system where each month, the account executives (Team members) switched from one department to another. This implied that each month, I worked with account executives from different departments. The main goal of this system was enable the account executives familiarize with the different services the agency offered.

2.3. Group Formation

There are a certain number of related theories and approaches associated to group formation such as the balance, Homan’s, propinquity and exchange theory.[4],[2] The balance theory which illustrates the attraction between individuals sharing the same values, and attitudes whereas the exchange theory on the other hand portrays the benefits or rewards an individual gets in joining a group. Homan’s theory is applicable to our group formation because despite the difficulties and controversies, we survived as a group completing tuckman’s (1997) stages of group development. Contrary to the balance theory, we had nothing in common given that my team members had different educational backgrounds from the science and insurance domain to be precise and some even had a higher professional qualification and experience than me.

Homan’s theory suggests that the more and more individuals get involve in group activities, the stronger their interactions and attachment evolve. Our interactions evolved gradually with time as we all understood what we were trying to achieving given the limited time we had. As discussed above, the teams were task groups which had already being assigned by the organization and had been implemented in the Media intelligence’s organizational chart. Tuckman (1997) suggested a 4 stage model which he later changed to a 5 model on the stages used in developing a group which are illustrated in the diagram below in figure 1. In the paragraphs below, I shall provide a detail analysis of Tuckman’s group development stages related to my experience at the Media Intelligence on how I was able to manage a team which had been formed by the organisation and unknown to me.

a. Forming

At the level of forming, the organization had already appointed and assigned team members to each unit. During our first meeting that held at my office, I tried to create a friendly environment whereby each individual was free to express himself or herself contributing and sharing his idea, point of views, experiences on how we could tackle the work so as to meet the company’s monthly objective. The monitoring unit’s goal was to submit 5 compliance reports monthly covering the different mass Medias our clients required us to monitor their ads, their competitors strategies and product placements. I opened the meeting by introducing myself, presenting my educational background (highlights on last degree), provided some briefing on the nature of work carried out by the organisation, and suggested each member to present himself briefly. We later on proceeded in establishing our group rules like our meeting days, our communications systems, the importance of solidarity and the available resources put at our disposal.

Overall, the forming was very smooth as the group members where open minded, motivated, focused and energetic. Even though they were freshly recruited, I enjoyed their enthusiasm, willingness, open questions, and jokes which demonstrated their desire in fulfilling the task. We completed the first stage which is generally characterised by uncertainty and anxiety as suggested by Fred Luthans (1997). [4] The major outcomes of the forming stage which implies understanding the group’s purpose, determining how the teams would be organized, and understanding their major roles or what is being required from them.

b. Storming

At the level of storming, I suggested to create a schedule or timetable we had to follow which could enable us tackle the work easily and ensure we were improving at the right pace. So I recommended each team member to set his or her own daily and weekly objectives in terms of data analysis, reviews, and work done so as to know if he or she was improving given the voluminous amount of work we had. I provided a set of procedures, which I believed were the fattest ways of attaining our group goals.

I was immediately challenged by a lady who objected, suggesting it was better to work flexibly because pressure in meeting her weekly goals could affect her performance (leading to mistakes and stress). Her suggestions were quite interesting but created a little silence for a while, and I had to ask the other members about their thoughts and point of views given that we had 4 TV and 5 Radio channels to process, organize the collection of indoor and outdoor data. More to that, we also had daily press reviews and social media monitoring analysis which had to be done. 4 members agreed suggesting the idea was good and would love to give that a try but the lady was still redundant. Not knowing what to do at this stage, I asked each member which media they would like to work on and with their responds, I scheduled a program with daily objectives to attain for a start which I emailed the next day. According to researchers like Fisher, Rayner, & Belgard,(1995) and Capozzoli, (1995) confrontations and conflicts in groups are unavoidable but in some cases are beneficial resulting to group understanding, facilitates the level of decision-making, personality growth, leads to cohesiveness, competition striving to increase performance, problem solving, empathy, creativity and involvement.[5] Capozzoli(1995) further suggest 7 causes of conflicts which arises because of the following reasons which are: cultural, and personality differences, issues related to behaviour, low communication, different needs and expectations, issues related to resources(mismanagement and limited), low involvement and contribution, low performance.

Fred Luthans (1997) on the hand describes the storming stage to be characterized by confrontation, conflicting ideas and disagreement among the members on their roles and duties.[4] The major outcome from the storming stage is to establish clarification on leadership, rules, structure and the work approach.

There is larger pool of research which has been conducted suggesting close to 180 `definitions of conflict but researchers like Corwin (1969) ‘’conceptualize conflict as some form of interpersonal or intergroup strain, or as actions (e.g., disputes and information distortions) which violates the norms of cooperation within the organization’. There are different forms and approaches to team and organisational conflict. The conflict I faced was an interpersonal conflict with a colleague who disliked my approach. The strategy or approach I

Robbins and Judge (2009) suggest 5 stages that helps avoid disagreements, confrontation within an organisation and this is illustrated in the diagram below.

The first stage illustrates the opportunities and circumstances that arose or lead to the conflict or opposition based on 3 variables communication, personality (emotions, values,) and structural. The second stage arises when negativity affects a perception and recognition of conflict between those involved. The third stage suggest the 5 dimensions in handling intentions which are the emotions and perceptions over behaviour. Following competing, the lady was trying to satisfy and impose her own interest regardless of the impact to the member. In collaborating which shall has be discussed below, the lady realized that her working pace was very slow compared to the other team members and this lead to next stage of avoiding. Filled with some level of shame, she came to me apologizing which lead to a comprise.

c. Norming

We arrived the norming the stage and where acting as a cohesive unit.[2] During our General meeting, I had to report our activities to the general manager on how the work was shared and structured among the group members. The email I sent to each member provided a detailed guideline on the goals each member had to achieve in the following weeks. I also created a hangout group through which we could chat and it enabled us address minor problems each member faced on the work structure.

d. Performing

The performing stage is fully a functional stage suggesting team member are able to handle their complex task and deal with their disagreements in different ways.[6] In our situation, the lady who showed opposition found out that she was wrong and slow in terms of process compared to the other team members. She went to each individual apologizing and promised to make effort to reach the goals which had been set. At this level, I was looking for creative means or methods I could use to motivate our team members so that they could do the work with love and joy. I had also developed a 2 days check-up routine where I walked round to meet up each team member individually, to find out if they faced any difficulties on the advancement of their work. There are a certain number of motivational theories which are applicable in this situation which I could have used to motivate my team members (like the goal-setting theory and Hawthorne effect). The well-known motivation theories are Fredrick Hertzberg two factor(1950), Maslow Hierarchy of needs(1994), the goal-setting theory, the equity theory, three dimensional theory of attribution, the Hawthorne effect theory and a couple of others. According to the Hawthorne’s effect suggested by Henry A. Lands Berger (1950), people had tendency of working much harder whenever they were being observed or when much attention was being paid to them. A way of implementing the Hawthorne effect to our group was by providing individual feedback during the check-up routines, encouraging and praising the team members on the amount of work they achieved so far.[6]

A group of scholars schermerhon, Osborn, Uhl-Bien, Hunt(2012) suggest a set of criteria of groups who have achieved a high level total integration which they refer to as team maturity. In other words, a team is set to be mature after it has completed the 10 stages which are listed in the table below. [6]

Immature team Mature team Our Team

1. Feedback mechanism Poor Excellent -Hangout

-Check-ups routines

-Individual support

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