Everest simulation is a group task program created by Harvard this program allows teams to gain new experiences in relation to group tasks. The Everest teams were given two opportunities to complete the simulation, during the two simulations team members learnt how to problem solve and make strong decisions to ensure the group and individual goals were met. This exercise is a valuable tool to learn as it places students in teamwork situation within professional organisations. The following report will examine both simulations outcome of results and the significant events which took place. Focusing on the group and individual’s experience based on the theory concepts attitudes, leadership and groups and teams.
As the results were at a distance the report will look at the type of strategy’s adapted between both attempts. As we did not have a clear leadership style and no clear communication within the first simulation this affected the overall confidence and support in achieving a higher group and individual score this report will discuss what type of leadership theory was approached during both simulations and the change of structure through the group experience.
Preparation of Everest Simulation
As the Everest simulation is a group based task we were formed into our numbered groups. Group 35 decided during the tutorial to take part in the first simulation through face to face contact, in this meeting were technical issues within the Wi-Fi system and we could not continue with the Everest climb. Some members suggested we continue at a later time through the Skype program. During this conclusion we had a few encounters as a few of the team members including myself were not familiar within the Skype program ,including the time chosen for first climb would not be suitable for group members external conditions. It had seemed we were facing a dilemma, we found ourselves problem solving even before the first Everest climb.
As a group we problem solved to ensure we could support all members individual commitments with minimal conflict. It is imperative when forming a group task to ensure all group members are satisfied with the final decision according to (Lakein’s, 1973 cited in Macan, 1994) there were forms of time management descriptions were individuals confirm the importance of their personal needs and facing the task of prioritising these activities to ensure the goals are met and accomplished. This evidence suggests that most individuals preparing for a group task will prioritise and be committed to complete the Everest simulation1.
Critical Analysis of Attitudes / groups and teams within
Everest simulation 1and 2
Group experience and result:
This first group reflection is based on the first Everest simulation which subsequently took place via a virtual mode of Skype, This virtual interaction gave the group a total group result/of 67 The attitudes of the team were very positive in building strong relationships with one another, this first simulation was at a forming stage and we moved into the storming stage of adapting to each other’s behaviours and personality’s. Time management had become an issue as we were trying to contact a few Everest tem members who did not respond to the initial set time for virtual meeting after 45minutes after the initial start time. As there was a cultural diverse group of personality we found ourselves developing strategies within a social interaction, gaining respect for each individual member and personal commitments.
As prior to commencement there were difficulties with computer problems during face to face meeting within the library. It is imperative as a group that consistency is vital to gain a more efficient and effective result in productiveness. Motivation and emotional factors of not knowing each other on a closer bases and the link of a virtual experience was a concern ( Baltes, 2002, cited in , Bordia, 1997) Demonstrates that studies have shown computer based teams are less satisfied and positive of those who meet in a face to face environment. As we all had no prior recognition of familiarisation w it one another this became a little difficult to conduct a virtual group task, As our score was a little low this may have been due to the unclear communication of a virtual experience at times as a group it was unclear to know if we would proceed due to messaging being transmitted and encoded with no clear construction.
As stated by (Bos 2002 and Jensen, 2000 cited in Hertel, 2012) “Differences between computer-me diated and face-to-face teams for negotiation tasks have seldom been explored. It is usually recommended that negotiation and conflict management should rather be realized face-to-face than at a distance because they involve complex interaction and the need to build trust” As a group within the first simulation we had no clear discussion on the Everest group goals and what we initially would like from this experience prior to climb. Due to the external noises and distractions during the virtual simulation through Skype at times it seemed there was low level of satisfaction in completing the tasks in front, once the simulation was completed their was job satisfaction in completing a score of 67%.
Everest Simulation 2 was completed as another form of meeting this time we wanted to build a better performance rate in the second simulation, we decided it may be more productive to meet in house face to face, this was probably the most suitable decision. At this stage were forming close relationships and building trust as a group, getting to know the behaviours of one another. Our second team score was 96% this was a significant rise in results, the probability of a higher score may have come from the confidence we all gained in communicating as a team and not as individuals. There was a sense of inclusion and respect for all suggestions on how we would help all team members meet the goals of the summit climb more effectively and efficiently. This was not evident within the virtual simulation as we had no group structure or clear goals.
Individual Experience and result:
My individual experience and result of the first simulation within the Attitudes and group and team theory, I originally was very hesitant as I knew it was imperative to form a strong team ethic to ensure we succeeded in the tasks set out by the Everest simulation. Originally I have only ever been in face to face situations with group tasks; I was excited about a new challenge of virtual learning but at the same time not sure about how I could build trust through the comfort of technology. As an individual researched the job description of my position as the marathoner, this preparation was to ensure I could support my team members in the higher success of reaching the summit and meeting the group goals and individual goals set. During and before the climb we had no briefing regarding the Everest team goals and we just commenced the climb as a member of a team I know this is an important part of team building of relationships and discuss within your team.
This can also affect the trust of a group and team and we are already reluctant to gain relationships with team members, I wondered whether this may have been due to the virtual experience I had been a part of as discussed by (Li 2004 cited in Brahm and Kunze, 2012) moderating the role of trust is more difficult in the virtual team thus can create trust attitudes and the relationship of team trust and team cohesiveness. My total result for the first Everest simulation was at 67% I feel this may have been due to the confusion on whether to speak up or just sit back and not interact with the group due to the lack of clear communication. The Everest simulation 2 was a much more positive and enjoyable task as an individual I was more confident with a face to face meeting, at one stage I was a natural leader by gaining the confidence in expressing my interest and advice in having the next simulation meeting together. I suggested this may create a higher score for us as a team.
As an individual I could relate to the flexibility of a virtual meeting but was hesitant in the process and the clear low result we may achieve. Speaking up and having voice was the start of feeling comfortable within my team environment, there may have been other team members who felt the same decision was necessary as stated by (Argyris, 1991 cited in Morrison, Wheeler-Smith, Kamdar 2011, pg. 183) “Group and team members often do not share their opinions, ideas, and concerns, and such an absence of voice can have serious negative implications for group performance”. As an individual going into a group task I feel it is important to have your say to benefit your team in success. My individual score of the second simulation was a result of 100% this high score I feel was from the result of strong decision making and problem solving within the group. We also had sufficient time between climbs to take our time and work through questioning every step we took as a group; I feel my extroverted approach to this questioning assisted in the high individual score. In the end it is vital to have clear goals and achieve success through positive and effective construction within a team environment.
Group Experience within Leadership
Everest simulation one and the leadership dynamic through the virtual experience of Skype may have affected the initial role of the team leader and the response of no clear structure or coordination within the group. As our group existed to remain new to the first simulation we were still adapting to each other’s behaviours. As a leader it is imperative to gain confidence in building the relationships within your group, the team leader assigned seemed quite held back and not confident in becoming assertive within the decision making process, whether this was due to a virtual leadership role and difficulties familiarisation of a new group of people.. We as a group required a strong leader who could guide us all in our role for a successful climb. Our leader was more of a Laissez-faire style who generally was happy for all team members to come together and have freedom in the decision making process.
At the beginning of the confusion in the virtual Everest climb our leader was introverted but was a supportive leader and happy for us to move when required. The group still had respect for the authority of the leader as this member was still in form of legitimate power due to the job description and role within the Everest simulation. We all know the role we were required to play. Our group had quite a few natural leaders who were supportive with the knowledge of what was the next option. Put a quote in about importance of a strong clear confident leader; also talk about difficulties faced by leaders in virtual roles During the first climb there were a few scenarios were as a group we would problem solve wether to move on and leave the critically ill, I found myself waiting on the other end of disruptions from a clear answer from our team leader. In the end it felt more like a self-reflective answer from all members on their own individual goals.
Individual experience and result:
My individual experience of Everest simulation one was at first curious to see how leadership would be demonstrated through a virtual experience, as managing group or team in a work environment can have its challenges my initial thought was leading a team with no visual contact could affect the process. As we did not have a briefing or discuss the goals of the team I felt it was unorganised through the leadership process. I knew the role of the leader would have some advantage in ensuring we all meet our own individual goals and those of the Everest team as discussed by At times I feel l was a natural leader who assisted my team in achieving maximum success through supportive questions and answers.
At the same time I was aware we were all team members from diverse cultural backgrounds, i respected this and showed respect for all my team members. Leadership was not as strong at the first simulation, but progressed over periods as we started to form a stronger group. As stated in our Team contract we referred to having a specific team leader but collaborated together in a final vote. Virtual teams can have difficulty in leading (Hertal & udo,2005 pg 72) suggest that virtual experiences “by hand are feelings of isolation and decreased interpersonal contact, increased chances of misunderstandings and conflict escalation, and increased opportunities of role ambiguity and goal conflicts due to commitments to different work-units.
Following from this quote it is evident from our second simulation of face to face interaction, we had a change in leadership style our leader demonstrated characteristics in becoming a democratic leader, this assisted me in growing confidence to become more effective and efficient in meeting the individual and team goals and my leader became more engaged in the learning process. This may have also resulted in a final group result of 96% and my individual result of 100%. Due to the change in leadership we become a confidant ad trustworthy group with a sense of social glue. Leadership with social face to face interaction showed more qualities for a successful leader and team.
Based on the analysis of the two attempts of the Everest simulations it is recommended that as a group we remained more productive and efficient in meeting our goals through face to face collaboration. As our results varied remarkably amongst both simulations The Everest simulation is a wonderful learning device to gain improvement in new expertise utilised in the team and group environment of a workplace, ensuring group development throughout the process likewise evident in the significance of integrating the team contract and policies to track when members required assistance.
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