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Business and Culture students were given out a compulsory assignment that consisted of an oral presentation for thirty minutes with a group of five members. The concepts of the assignments were chosen by the tutor and were randomly distributed in the class. The concept our group received was “China: The Case of Apple”, we were given a goal of investigating how international firms and cross-cultural management are affected in two different countries. Our group decided to investigate the obstacles, negatives and disadvantages of an international firm and cross-cultural management. Our group consisted of five members that have not worked together before as a team, we had a variety of members that studied different majors such as international business, finance, communication and psychology. This group work is marked as a group mark therefore; interaction, participation and co operation were key elements to this assignment. This critical analysis will define characteristics of teamwork, motivation and leadership theories by using the empirical group work experience as a case study and will interpret the obstacles and challenges that were faced while working as a team by using theoretical perception and perspectives to support the issue.
Motivation is a force received internally or externally to a person or a group that arouses enthusiasm, persistence and positive energy to achieve a certain action, purpose or goal that one desires (Samson, Catley, Cathro & Daft, 2012). Motivation rewards are intrinsic or extrinsic, intrinsic rewards are emotions and feelings of self efficacy and self satisfaction a person receives during a process of action, whilst extrinsic rewards are given by another person such as the pleasure of helping others resulted in a certificate of good will (Samson et al., 2012). According Porter, Bigley and Steers (2003), social cognitive theory (SCT) plays an important factor for motivation, SCT consists of basic human capabilities (1) symbolizing, (2) forethought, (3) vicarious learning, (4) self regulation and (5) self reflection. These basic human capabilities mobilizes the cognitive process and perceptions of achieving ones desires through self efficacy, dedication, reflection and individual belief are executed which produces enthusiasm, persistence and positive energy which contributions to work motivation (Porter, Bigley & Steers, 2003). For example, when our group received the concept of our assignment, they showed little interest into what importance does the assignment played for the other members in the group or themselves. I felt concern as I major in another study, I have no background knowledge of what business in a specific or general content meant. In addition, our group communication and interaction in general was extremely poor. By applying Porters et al., (2003) SCT, I began to immediate symbolize the importance of this assignment for me as an individual before consulting others opinions of this assignment. After symbolizing the importance of this assignment I began to communicate with my peers as a group, to share the importance of this assignment as an individual to myself and to see the response I receive if they agree. The response from my group was positive, we all agreed on achieving this assignment, though we lacked the motivation to achieve a high grade for this simple assignment. Another member spoke out the importance of this assignment to them as an individual and that she needs to achieve A or A+ grade and wants the group to work as a team effectively and efficiently. Samson et al., (2012) the expression of one’s behavior may influence another’s behavior. This response from our group member made everyone alert, as a group if one member fails to contribute to the team it will negatively affect the groups’ interaction and communication which may arouse conflict, distrust and social exclusion within the group. We slowly discussed with one another by encouraging the members that this assignment is achievable with a grade of A or A+ if we work together as a team effectively, our poor communication and interaction barriers slowly disappeared and the members began to express themselves with concern and nervousness with oral presentations and fears of standing in front of people. Samson et al., (2012) states in order for people to be motivated there are necessary requirements that need to be met which are physiological, safety, belongingness, esteem and self actualization needs. Equal or fair treatment in a group also known as equity focuses on how individuals view themselves being treated compared with others in a group (Barrick & Mount, 2013). Equity plays an important role of performance and self esteem for the members in a group; people evaluate equity by the input of contribution to the assignment, the distribution of task. For example, after discussing our concerns about the oral presentation we began to encourage and motivate one another by ensuring that our group can achieve this goal. We agreed on dividing the task equally and fairly but picking a number out of a box of one to five, everyone was given a chance to choose selectively what and how they wanted to contribute to the group. This raised the group morale as a team to work effectively and efficiently. Our group faced no obstacles in terms of group treatment and equity due to our encouraging members, the members’ perceptions of one another gave themselves more self confidence in contributing and expressing themselves openly, rather than socially excluding themselves in group discussion by remaining silent. Equity can increase or decrease a person work efforts through encouragement and motivation, positive response and positive feedback reduces stress levels and raises self esteem and work effort, equity can also change their perception (Barrick & Mount, 2013). Goal setting encourages people to achieve a single or multiple purposes within their reach through positive and informative feedback, goal settings allows people to set standards from themselves as an individual or as a group to achieve a certain action or to work towards to (Tabassi, Ramli, Hassan & Bakar, 2011). Our group goal was to achieve a A or A+ grade mark as a group together, in order to achieve this we had to communicate and interact with one another to understand their perception and perspectives of this assignment and encourage them to contribute to the group. Our first group goal was speaking in front of a class, in order to achieve this goal, we occasionally had group meet ups and talked aloud in front of one another whilst everyone pays attention to the reader, taking turns the group members whom were nervous about the assignment slowly began to gain confidence and started to contribute more to the group and express themselves. We also divided the task equally and fairly one another, we ensure that everyone had similar to fair amounts of contributions requirement from each other and to help one another if they are in need.
Teams or group work are units of two or more people collaborating together on a common task, goal or purpose that is set to be achieved (Hoegl, 2005). A common identity and goal is formed as the members of the team perceive one another and themselves before constructing social roles within the group (Hoegl, 2005). There are two types of groups, small and large groups. Small groups are more informal and less structured, functions effectively without a designated leader, more cohesive and greater chance of individuals participating in the group work whilst, large groups are formal and rules are adopted to keep order, leader maintains order and performs efficiently, more skills and resources are needed, and more in group or cliques (Sohmen, 2013). My group consist of five people which is considered a small group, it less formal than a team and is less structured, there is a limited amount of resources and skills involved or required in a small group and there is no need for a designated leader. A healthy team consists of the following characteristics such as trust, healthy conflict, commitment, accountability and results orientation (Samson et al., 2012). As stated in the previous paragraph, our group slowly began to express themselves truthfully with each other, we gained each others trust and felt comfortable sharing our concerns, ideas and contributed to the group discussion. We experienced a healthy conflict during the process of organising the presentation in a power-point slide, some of the members power points slides conflicted and overlapped another members, though they were designated to do different task, they collected similar information which overlaps the presentation, therefore they resolved the problem by discussing the importance of the information for their task and removed and replaced any irrelevant similarities in the presentation. A dysfunctional team consists of lack of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and inattention to results (Samson et al., 2012). My team did not face any dysfunctional characteristic throughout the process of making the presentation; however we did face obstacles of expressing and trusting one another in the beginning of the assignment. We did not all have one single goal of achieving and had different perceptions about the assignment which pose could have posed a serious situation if we did not slowly start communicating to one another and motivating each other.
In conclusions, Samson et al., (2012) motivation is an important factor that needs to be considered while working as a group or as a team. Motivation can encourage members of the team to produce productive results with encouraging feedbacks and support and can provide positive energy which raises the morale of the team to work in an efficient and effective manner. A team consists of two or more people with the same goals interacting with one another to achieve the desired outcome as well as accepting and recognizing the other as part of a team. (Sohmen, 2013). According to Sohmen (2013), group and team work characteristics differ from one another which can create difficult situations to adapt especially if the team characteristic is dysfunctional instead of effective. Sohmen (2013), argues that a dysfunctional team can gradually become an effective team through motivation and effective communication and interaction with one another.
For future recommendations, for a productive and efficient group work or team, always remain objective to the purpose of the team or group and interact, communicate with one another effectively to build relationships with one another with trust and commitment to establish equity and self esteem in one another. Encourage one another in difficult situations and be alert of those who socially and individually exclude themselves from the group work, encourage them to participate and show interest and recognize them as a member of a team rather than the social outcast.
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