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The Virtual Environment Work Team Essay

T.A Stearns was a national fax accounting firm whose main business was its popular tax preparation service for individuals. The work as carried out in a virtual environment by four programmers in the greater Boston area. Tom Andrews is a tax lawyer, a graduate of the University of Maine and a former hockey player there. At 35, Tom has worked on the programs for six years and is the longest-standing member of the team. Along with his design responsibilities, Tom is the primary liaison with Stearns. He is also responsible for training new team members. Cy Crane, a tax accountant and computer science graduate of the University of Massachusetts, is 32 years old, married, with two children ages four and six. Marge Dector, a tax lawyer, graduated from Penn State University, is 38 years old, married, with two children ages eight and ten. Megan Harris, tax accountant and graduate of Indiana University, is 26 years old and single. When Cy developed a program using his superior programming skills to reduce his man- hours and increase productivity, he told about it only to his colleagues so that they benefit from it and enjoy some leisure time.

He didn’t tell about it to Dave because he feared that since his program helps in doing the work of four people by only three people, one of them might lose their job because of him. Another reason contributing to his secrecy was that their team would get only 5% of the profit generated by the aid of their innovation only for three months which was very less in comparison to the leisure time they had. The group even increased the quality of their work so as to not arouse any suspicion. But Cy made the terrible mistake of telling about his program to a member from another group which aroused Dave’s suspicions. Dave was wondering for a few weeks after the implementation of the program as to why the production time had decreased and the quality of work had shot up. He got his first inkling form an e-mail he intercepted from Marge to Cy thanking him for his brilliant thinking.

Dave tried to confront Tom trying not to create an embarrassing situation but got no further leads. He did not even tell his boss about his suspicions since quality and productivity were up. But one day Dave learned that Cy had boasted about his trick program to a person from another team in the company. Dave decided that the matter had gone out of hands and pulled the reins by inviting Cy to lunch and asking him to explain what was happening. This method was wise and effective as it gave a sense of security to the offender who pleaded guilty immediately but insisted that the reasons were justified so as to protect himself. This manner of interrogation and his good use of intellect to cover an embarrassing situation shows that he is an effective team leader. Also he respects the sentiments and feelings of others which makes him a considerate man leading to his effective team leadership.

Case 1 (Answers)

1. Why is this group a team?

This group is a team because they had shared leadership roles, the team has individual and mutual accountability, the team has a specific purpose which is to prepare a highly technical both in terms of the tax laws they cover and the code in which they are written, the team also has a collective work products like they solve big problems through programming such as creativity the macros and last the team discusses, decides and does real work.

2. What characteristics of the team predispose it to making ineffective decisions?

One of the basis of ineffective decision is their communication because they only discusses their work through email rather than meeting each other every day. Second is their time because they are all focused on finishing their job as early as they can so they can do more activities that’s why they creates a macro. Third is the leadership, single leader had dominated between them they had established norms for the group and leads from own value system.

3. What are the characteristics of groupthink are manifested in the work team?

Illusion of invulnerability . There is excessive optimism and risk taking. As we can see here there is excessive optimism and risk taking behavior shown by the team as they kept the innovation to themselves having optimism regarding that the management won’t easily find out about it. Also the risk taking behavior can be seen when they ignore the company policy for their own benefits. rationalizations by the members of the group to discount warnings. This can be seen when the members ignore the threat of being caught and when Dave hinted Tom he rationalized thinking if everything’s all right why does Dave has to worry. An unquestioned belief in the group’s Inherent Morality . The group ignores questionable ethical or moral issues or stances. Here the group ignores the moral issues and stances by keeping the innovation to themselves knowing about the company policy of suggested rewards. Working for Stearns for a long time they should have been more loyal. Self-censorship of any deviation from the apparent group consensus. This can be easily seen in this case as no one person came out with the truth unless it was finally out Illusion of unanimity – silence is interpreted as consent.

Here Cy and Tom swore the other members to the oath of secrecy thinking what they thought was everybody’s thinking but this actually might not have been the case. Self -appointed mind guards who protect the group from adverse information. In this case study Tom was the self-appointed mind guard who kept the information of Dave hinting to him about the innovation to himself thinking that there would be nothing done as long as the work was done well and company was in profit.

4. Has Dave been an effective group leader? What should Dave do now? Yes, Dave is an effective team leader because he knows how to converse with employees in different situations without offending them in any way. In this case when Cy developed a program using his superior programming skills to reduce his man- hours and increase productivity, he told about it only to his colleagues so that they benefit from it and enjoy some leisure time. He didn’t tell about it to Dave because he feared that since his program helps in doing the work of four people by only three people, one of them might lose their job because of him. Another reason contributing to his secrecy was that their team would get only 5% of the profit generated by the aid of their innovation only for three months which was very less in comparison to the leisure time they had. The group even increased the quality of their work so as to not arouse any suspicion.

But Cy made the terrible mistake of telling about his program to a member from another group which aroused Dave’s suspicions. Dave was wondering for a few weeks after the implementation of the program as to why the production time had decreased and the quality of work had shot up. He got his first inkling form an e-mail he intercepted from Marge to Cy thanking him for his brilliant thinking. Dave tried to confront Tom trying not to create an embarrassing situation but got no further leads. He did not even tell his boss about his suspicions since quality and productivity were up. But one day Dave learned that Cy had boasted about his trick program to a person from another team in the company.

Dave decided that the matter had gone out of hands and pulled the reins by inviting Cy to lunch and asking him to explain what was happening. This method was wise and effective as it gave a sense of security to the offender who pleaded guilty immediately but insisted that the reasons were justified so as to protect himself. This manner of interrogation and his good use of intellect to cover an embarrassing situation shows that he is an effective team leader. Also he respects the sentiments and feelings of others which makes him a considerate man leading to his effective team leadership.


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