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Reflective Report on Mega Simulation Game

Disclaimer: This work has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional academic writers. You can view samples of our professional work here.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Essays.

Published: Wed, 13 Sep 2017

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The report is about a 12-week critical evaluation about my experience of the Mega Simulation Game that I was to execute with other four group members. The exercise requires identifying the primary reflective theories that will be used for reflective learning. In my case, I used Lawrence-Wilkes ‘REFLECT’ and Gibb’s Reflective Model. I used these two models to enumerate on two incidences in the group work experience, which were related to interpersonal dynamics, and personal performance in-group work. The interpersonal dynamics such as personality clashes, different cultural values, and personal interests acted as a hindrance to communication and collaboration. However, the commitment of the team was very high and this kept the team going. The second incidence was on personal performance where the group leveraged on individual strengths and delegated tasks. The delegation of tasks was fruitful but the end product was not due to personal interests overriding the group interests. I learnt the need for effective communication, the power of leadership and the need to accommodate varied opinions.

Introduction

Reflection has numerous meaning that includes self-review, self-awareness, self-criticism, self-appraisal, self-assessment, personal cognizance and other terms that are related to these terms. Boyd and Fales (1983) defined reflection learning as “the process of externally examining and exploring an issue of concern, triggered by an experience, which creates and clarifies meaning in terms of self and which results in a changed conceptual perceptive.” The definition brings out key important issues in reflective learning: there needs to be an issue that is examined, meaning of the issue must be derived and lastly the meaning should improve the perspective of the individual in a similar situation in the future.

In this reflection paper, I will pursue two types of reflection: interpersonal dynamics and performance of the members of the groups. Teamwork is used everywhere from class settings to organizations and even communities to accomplish tasks that require collaboration, brainstorming and synergy. The primary objective of a team is delegation of responsibility and development of a proper plan for the completion of a goal (Hughes and Jones, 2011). The interpersonal dynamics is about how people use nonverbal cues such as facial expressions and body language to complement verbal communication in on-on-one interactions. The reason I decided to discuss interpersonal dynamics is because I saw the group as a cross-functional one rather than a functional one. The reasons I think the group was cross-functional was that all the members in the group were specializing on different careers and also we had never worked together as a team. The simulation game was a onetime project where the group would be dissolved after its completion. Parker (2015) noted that cross functional teams were more susceptible to interpersonal barriers such as cultural biases, work styles, turf wars, conflicts, lack of trust, and differing priorities. Some of these things played out during our game simulation task.

The second area that I am going to explore is performance of members in the group. I felt this is an area worthy of exploitation as the different members had a different level of performance towards contributing to the success of the group. It is impossible to separate team performance from individual performance because the former depends on the latter. Individual standards comprise of the performance expectations that each team member expresses as personal pressure to achieve (Larson and LaFasto, 1999). I specifically noted that I put a lot of effort together with another member in the teamwork, which stimulated others to perform better, but sometimes it was not sufficient enough to reach our desired goals.

I will employ the Gibbs Reflective Cycle (1988) and Lawrence-Wilkes ‘REFLECT’ model (2014) to critically reflect on the two MSG experiences. I used Gibb’s reflective model because it is a simple model to use and provides questions that I have to answer in a particular order. Just like the Gibbs model, Lawrence-Wilkes ‘REFLECT’ model uses a simple concept of reflection making it easy for the user to apply it. The model uses a bacronym (an acronym devised in reverse to fit a word) on the word REFLECT. I will not be using the Honey and Munford’s learning style as it is too simplistic in its steps to allow me to critically reflect on my experiences.

Gibb’s reflective model is a useful tool in reflection as it provides critical phases of an experience from what one experienced to how they would make changes and respond better in subsequent events. The different phases include description, feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion, and action plan. Below is the Gibb’s reflective cycle with the relevant questions that need to be answered for each phase

Figure 1 (Gibbs, 1988)

C:UsersUSERDesktopgibbs.gif

Gibb’s reflective model directly fits to the happenings of the group.

In my reflection, I was first wondering why there was no sense of cohesion in the group when we started. The opinions were so diverse and the commitments were so dissimilar. I was feeling that personal priorities and interest were coming in the way of cooperative approach. Most of the group members, including I felt distraught and disillusioned by the progress of the group in the initial weeks due to the lack of organization and poor ranking. We did not have a leader who would inspire us through the disillusionment. In the Tuckman’s stages, the group dwelled so much in the forming stage where the group members were getting to know each other and there was general socializing (Martin, 2006).

Lawrence-Wilkes -‘REFLECT’ model (2014) comprises of steps that are almost similar to that of Gibb’s reflective cycle but it goes to a deeper level to analyze elements such as strengths and weaknesses, reference to external checks, looking at the responsibilities and asking the ‘what if’ question. The model examines more details that not only assist in reviewing past experiences but also learning from them and integrating new ideas to enable change. The model requires reviewing of experiences from both objective and subjective angles. Below is the REFLECT barconym used in the model.

Table 1 (Lawrence-Wilkes and Ashmore, 2014)   

Lawrence-Wilkes ‘REFLECT’ model of Reflective Practice

R

1. Reflect

Look back, review and ensure intense experiences are reviewed ‘cold’ (subjective and objective).

E

2. Evaluate

What happened? What was important? (Subjective and objective)

F

3. Focus

Who, what, where, etc. Roles, responsibilities, etc. (Mostly objective)

L

4. Learn

Question: why, reasons, perspectives, feelings? Refer to external checks. (Subjective and objective)

E

5. Evaluate

Causes, outcomes, strengths, weaknesses, feelings – use metacognition. (Subjective and objective)

C

6. Consider

Assess options, need/possibilities for change? Development needs? ‘What if?’ scenarios? Refer to external checks. (Mostly objective)

T

7. Trial

Integrate new ideas, experiment, take action, and make change. (Repeat cycle: Recall…)

Incident 1:

My group was comprised of five members that are evidently from different cultural backgrounds and also hold diverse views and values. I noticed due to the diversity in the group, there was no effective communication and there were issues when it came to sense of responsibility.  The first incident was our group’s inability to operate cohesively due to differences in personality and cultural values. My previous encounter with the topic of diversity is that it (diversity) can lead to team effectiveness and innovation (West, 2012). But on the contrary, the initial weeks of our groups was faced with communication challenges as we worked together.

Initially, I thought that the reason for the incongruity was that the exercise was new to everyone and no one had substantive information on how to go about the exercise. Everyone in the group was in constant search of what is expected of the exercise. The disappointment was evident in week 3 due to the poor ranking, which left everyone demotivated. Waller, Gupta and Giambatista (2004) noted that lack of effective communication leads to deviation from attaining team goals. We got confused on what were our desired goals. Despite the miscommunication, the group was able to function as there were elements that were consistent with structuration theory on how groups use rules and resources to form its structure (Frey, Gouran and Poole, 1999).

Our group was held together by the weekly meeting that were mandatory and I believe were it not for the rules, the team functioning would have been impaired.

I must applaud my group because irrespective of the communication barriers, the group was able to hold on and try to overcome these barriers. The attendance of the meetings was satisfactory as there was minimal absenteeism, which was accompanied by apologies and genuine reasons such as illness or class time. In my assessment, the general theme of the group according to Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was feelers instead if thinkers. Feelers judge situations based on feelings or emotions while thinkers judge situations based on logical analysis (Quenk, 2013). Most of the choices that were made such as marketing for image cars were based on personal emotions, which lead to disregard of facts and information.

I must admit despite the personality clash in the group; all the group members were committed to accomplishing the task successfully. The commitment even inspired us on meeting twice a week to try and better our ranking and get a better grip of the whole game simulation concept. Personally, I was not thinking about how to bridge the miscommunication gap or clashing personalities but on the task at hand and this was also the general trend in the group. Even up to the end of the exercise in the 12th week, we communicated but we never did so effectively. The ranking of the group improved over time even though it did not reach the desired goal. Upon critical review at the end of the exercise, I could only make sense of the group performance through the self-organization theory. The theory postulates that order can arise from a disordered system due to interactions of distinct parts of the system.

The incidence on interpersonal dynamics, especially the personality clashes and miscommunication between the group members, helped me to develop transferable skills to do with closing ranks when it comes to personality and cultural differences. The group would have attained a better rank if we resolved the disillusionment in the early stages of teaming as this would have gone a long way in working harmoniously (Searle and Swartz, 2015).

I also saw the fruits of commitment as the members were able to perform regardless of the cohesion problems.

Incident 2

The second incident was related to the individual performances and their contribution to the overall group performance. Personally, I believe am a natural leader who takes the mantle of leadership in any situation. I believe that one does not need to be appointed formally to take the leadership role but can take the steering wheel from any position. I subscribe to the relationship-oriented leadership model where the leader is more focused on the human resources than the task at hand. I would motivate the members of the group by telling them how the assignment was important and how we should all be committed towards improving our ranking. The group needed a small dose of external motivation to keep them going and energized (Beagle, 2012). When I was motivating and inspiring the team, I found the motivator in me, which was essential in keeping myself going and also the group.

I noticed that a team produced synergy and a better output than an individual but it is the latter that contributes to the results of the former. Despite the shaky start, we realized that we need to use our individual strengths for team success (Graham et al., 2012). At different points of the assignment, we had to assign and delegate duties and cover ground on the different actions that needed to be taken. We tried to leverage on the strengths of the individual members as much as possible. The use of individual strengths to delegate tasks did not work effectively as I expected as the third phase of Fisher’s Theory of Decision Emergence was not adhered to. The third phase is the emergence phase where an individual needs to soften on their stance and let the interest of the team prevail over personal interests (Littlejohn, Foss and Oetzel, 2016). In some situations, we had to go with individual opinions instead of consensus, which did not work well for the team.

In the future, I would advocate for more compromise and consensus instead of personal opinions as the latter risks being biased and non-inclusive. I learnt that anyone can be a situational leader if they wanted to make a difference amidst uncertainty and anyone can lead from any position (Alizor, 2013).  I saw the importance of delegating duties as it covered more ground but it needs better coordination to achieve a common goal.

I believe my strength and individual contribution was leadership and motivation.

Conclusion

I appreciate the experience as it was an eye-opener especially on different aspects of group tasks. I understood how group dynamics can work against the success of a team and they need to be identified and dealt with at the early stages of an assignment.  For instance, team members need to understand each other’s values and culture, and accommodate them. Understanding each other is the first step of breaking the communication barrier. I appreciated the importance of effective communication, which our group lacked, eventually leading to poor coordination and cooperation. I must admit that the strength of our group lied in commitment more than anything else. After communication, personal interest was the other weakness. I learnt the need to let other team members speak their mind, brainstorming and softening individual stance for the good of the team. I was a culprit myself of holding strong stances, sometimes unconsciously, on some of the issues. Looking back at the exercise, I acknowledge that for better interpersonal reactions, the parties need self-awareness. Lastly, I appreciated the power of leadership in motivating and inspiring team members towards tasks accomplishment.

References     

Alizor, J. (2013). Leadership: Understanding Theory, Style, & Practice: Things You Need to Know about Leading an Organization. 1st ed. Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press.

Beagle, M. (2012). The Rock: Motivational Leadership: A Leader’s Perspective On Inspiring Others While Finding the Motivator in You. 1st ed. Bloomington: iUniverse, Inc.

Boyd, E. and Fales, A. (1983). Reflective Learning: Key to Learning from Experience. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 23(2), pp.99-117.

Frey, L., Gouran, D. and Poole, M. (1999). The handbook of group communication theory and research. 1st ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Gibbs, G. (1988). Learning by doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods. 1st ed. [London]: FEU.

Graham, S., Emery, S., Hall, R., Blanchard, K., Huntsman, J., Lennick, D., Kiel, F. and Jordan, K. (2012). Leading Teams with Integrity: Advice from Leadership Experts. 1st ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT Press.

Hughes, R. and Jones, S. (2011). Developing and assessing college student teamwork skills. New Directions for Institutional Research, 2011(149), pp.53-64.

Larson, C. and LaFasto, F. (1999). Teamwork. 1st ed. Newbury Park (Calif.): Sage Publ.

Lawrence-Wilkes, L. and Ashmore, L. (2014). The reflective practitioner in professional education. 1st ed. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Littlejohn, S., Foss, K. and Oetzel, J. (2016). Theories of Human Communication. 11th ed. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc.

Martin, B. (2006). Outdoor leadership: Theory and Practice. 1st ed. Windsor, ON: Human Kinetics.

Parker, G. (2015). Cross- Functional Teams: Working with Allies, Enemies, and Other Strangers. 1st ed. San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass.

Quenk, N. (2013). Essentials of myers-briggs type indicator assessment. 1st ed. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Searle, M. and Swartz, M. (2015). Teacher Teamwork: How do we make it work?. 1st ed. New York: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.

Waller, M., Gupta, N. and Giambatista, R. (2004). Effects of Adaptive Behaviors and Shared Mental Models on Control Crew Performance. Management Science, 50(11), pp.1534-1544.

West, M. (2012). Effective Teamwork: Practical Lessons from Organizational Research. 1st ed. Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley and Sons.

Theories Used

1. Gibb’s Reflective Model (1988)

2. Lawrence Wilkes – ‘REFLECTION’ (2014)

3. Tuckman Stages of Group Development (1965)

4. Structuration Theory

5. Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) (1956)

6. Self-Organization Theory

7. Relationship-Oriented Leadership Model

8. Situational Leadership Model

9. Fisher’s Theory of Decision Emergence

Appendices

Logbook

Week No./date of meeting(s)

Action point(s)

Team member/time of arrival/leave

Potentially areas that every member worked on

State of team / work in progress

Week 2 (3th October 2016)

Get all members of group together and sign learning contract

Structuring what must be done for next meeting

a)George Iashvili -11am

b)Claudia Borges-11am

c)Carlos Chalhoub-11am

d)Cagri Ozecoglu-11am

e) Ilya Ignatov-11am

(All left same time as class was finished)

There was no game simulation this week so no work to be done as a group yet

Learning Contract signed and we got all group members now.

Week 3-First Meeting on Gaming Simulation (14 October 2016)

1.Speak about steps we needed to take for the game and whether we all watched the video and read the game manual.

2.Start to look at game excel sheet.

3.Making sure all members had put their name in the game simulation.

a)George Iashvili-1pm

b)Claudia Borges-1pm

c)Carlos Chalhoub-1pm

d)Cagri Ozecoglu-1pm

e) Ilya Ignatov-1pm

-All members that attended looked at each section of the decision sheet together and made decisions as a group.

Task completed-all the members looked at the decision document and discussed on WhatsApp what steps to take as well as what we needed to do in the next meeting, which was to figure out a more accurate strategy and approach.

At this point we still didn’t know how to play the game properly. Some group members still not giving suggestions on the decisions. Some members still not contributing.

Week 3-Second Meeting on Gaming Simulation (17 October 2016)

1.Make sure we all knew how to fill in the decision document.

2. Conclude on what car we wanted.

2.Fill in decision document.

3.Submit the decision  document.

a)George Iashvili -Didn’t Attend, sick on day of meeting.

b) Claudia Borges-Didn’t Attend, informed group could attend due to having lesson

c)Carlos Chalhoub-12:30

d)Cagri Ozecoglu-12:30

e) Ilya Ignatov-did not attend, could not attend due to having lesson too.

-Claudia filled in some of the document and sent an email to the rest of the group. The members who attended all worked through the rest of the decision document together.

-The group had little to no strategy in mind as we did not know the specifics on how to play the game properly yet. The group tried using common sense and logic as we hadn’t known that the information was available on the mega learning website.

Feeling disappointed with the result that we got for last week.However,we tried our best for the next decision to be better. Some group members go demotivated.

Week 4(20/10/2016)

1.To look over everything and looked at the results of the last simulation game and analyse it.

2.We had the game reset this week

3.Try to make changes to the game in order to get better results.

4.To ensure the use of the information available on the mega learning website and blackboard on the consumer sensitivity and market growth, in order to configure a clear strategy.

a)George Iashvili -13:00

b)Claudia Borges-13:00

c)Carlos Chalhoub-13:00

d)Cagri Ozecoglu-13:00

e) Ilya Ignatov-did not attend,but informed the group ahead of non-attendance.

-We all looked through the decision document and made decisions on each section together as a group after thoroughly discussing everything. Also, we made sure we used the information available to us on consumer sensitivity, market growth and each decision’s effect on budget.

-We had a much better idea on how the game simulation works this week and used all the information given to us which made our decisions improve greatly. Also, almost the whole group was at the meeting which was very beneficial for the decision analysis and strategy direction that the group wanted to take.

There was a clash in personalities which was affecting some decisions.There was a lot of miscommunication between the group.

Week 5(27/10/2016)

1. We planned to keep to our strategy that we used in week 4 as it seemed to work.

a)George Iashvili -11am

b)Claudia Borges- did not attend

c)Carlos Chalhoub-11am

d)Cagri Ozecoglu-11am

e) Ilya Ignatov-11am

-All who attended analysed the decisions together as a group and made more aggressive decisions on many of the consumer behaviour sensitivity and prices of the sectors, which changed our strategy direction.

-We couldn’t keep to our strategy that we had in the previous week and the decisions made were too aggressive which gave us a low rank on the mega learning simulation.

Some results and decisions that we made the week before worked and gave the game a good result so we kept them the same.

Week 6 (3/11/2016)

1.Region 2 started this week

So, we had to make sure to look at each section of the simulation game and try to increase our capacity of how many cars we can sell on region 1 and get much capacity for region

2.-Try to look at Eco-friendly cars and lower product appeal from the previous week because it was too high.

3.Look at marketing appeal for image cars higher and try focus on low cost and eco-friendly cars because the market growth is increasing in both these two sectors.

a)George Iashvili -12:30am

b)Claudia Borges-12:30am

c)Carlos Chalhoub-12:30am

d)Cagri Ozecoglu-12:30am

e) Ilya Ignatov-12:30am

-Claudia looked at filling how many models in range for each category, how many new parts needed and looking at price for the cars.

-the rest of the group tried to focus on the action points so making sure that look at product appeal and which areas need the most product appeal, like eco-friendly was too high the previous week so to decrease that and

-Focus on trying to get the EBIT down and capacity up and at the same time to make the best decisions for the simulations game based on last week’s results.

-We now had a better understanding of how the game was worked and we starting to get better rankings now. Now we had a better understanding we  could do better for region 2.

Week 7(8/11/2016)

1.Try to meet more as a group, have at least two meetings a week.

2.Try make sure we discuss the previous week’s results

3.Try to focus on eco-friendly and image sectors due to this these two sectors being the ones we are doing weak at the moment.

4.Try to look get product appeal up and again look at capacity for eco-friendly and image sector. Also, look at image cars due to sales revenue being so low in that sector and see what is happening and what is affecting for cars not to be selling.

5.Decrease low cost unit cost and family unit cost too.

-Focus on region 1 as region 2 sales are good, however the sales for region 1 have gone down from last week.

a)George Iashvili -14pm

b)Claudia Borges-14pm

c)Carlos Chalhoub-14pm

d)Cagri Ozecoglu-14pm

e) Ilya Ignatov-14pm

– As a group, we tried to resolve our action points such as meeting more often, so timetables were sent of each of the member’s timetable so we could see which day

would be the best to meet.

Secondly, we looked at resolving our problem with image cars and why we were not selling as much cars as we could and found out this was due to capacity was low and tried to increase this for the next week’s decision.

Thirdly, try to decrease the unit cost for low cost due to being too high and also for family the unit cost was too high as well so we decreased this too.

Look over previous weeks’ results and compare to current week to see what is happening and what is going wrong in the eco-friendly and image sectors and why our capacity is not increasing.

Achieved a good ranking for region 1, however region 2 ranking went down.

Week 8(17/11/2016)

1.Focus on family cars sector because our sales have gone down a lot from previous weeks

2.Focus on image sector too because our capacity for region 1 is still low and for region 2 is too low and we need to try and increase this.

3.Discuss our results from previous week and what decisions need to be changed based on teacher’s feedback and our online results.

a)George Iashvili -14pm

b)Claudia Borges-14pm

c)Carlos Chalhoub-14pm

d)Cagri Ozecoglu-14pm

e) Ilya Ignatov-14pm

-As a group we focused on looking at the capacity for the eco-friendly and image cars because it was really low and also tried to increase low cost cars capacity due to selling a lot of low cost cars each week, however not using all capacity.

-Making sure that we kept some decisions the same such as low cost and family car unit prices.

Week 9(24/11/2016)

1.Looking at previous weeks’ decisions as it was good result and there was a lot of increase for capacity for all regions 1 and 2 and sales revenue increased. So look at what decisions were made that got as to have such a good result.

a)George Iashvili -14pm

b)Claudia Borges-14pm

c)Carlos Chalhoub-14pm

d)Cagri Ozecoglu-14pm

e) Ilya Ignatov-14pm

-As a team we made sure we went through each region 1 and 2 and made sure we looked at the engineering, how much we were investing in capacity and also HR and also looking at unit prices for each sector such as low cost and family prices.

These two sector prices were too high and causing us to lose customers.

Capacity was also a problem for our region 2 because we had less capacity for low cost cars and family and we tried our best to increase this and tried to keep our costs down.

However, at the same time trying to fix our problem with eco-friendly and image cars due to the fact that no cars were being sold in that sector.

-Making sure that we make investments into region 2

-Try to look at unit prices whether too high or low.

Week 10(1/12/2016)

1.Make investments in region 2

2. Look at facilities for each car section and for each region 1 and 2

3.Look at prices for each section

4.Again try to increase capacity in each section.

a)George Iashvili -Could not attend

b)Claudia Borges-Could not attend

c)Carlos Chalhoub-1pm

d)Cagri Ozecoglu-Could not attend

e) Ilya Ignatov- Could not attend

-Carlos looked at each section and saw what we could do to firstly increase the capacity. The sectors we tried to increase our capacity were low costs cars and family cars in region 1 and 2, and eco-friendly cars and image cars in region 2 due to the fact that the capacity was 0. Then Carlos sent a copy of the file by e-mail to everyone in the group to have a look at before we submitted.

-We also made some investments in HR and capacity for region 2

-Increase Capacity

-Look at eco-friendly and image cars sectors for regions two

Week 11(8/12/2016)

1.Look at region 2 image cars and eco-friendly and see why no sales being made.

2.Again increase capacity for region 1 low cost and family cars and try to use all capacity available.

a)George Iashvili -1pm

b)Claudia Borges-1pm

c)Carlos Chalhoub-1pm

d)Cagri Ozecoglu-1pm

e) Ilya Ignatov-1pm

-As a group we discussed why we were having the problem in region 2 in the eco-friendly and image car sector. Due to the fact that for the last few weeks of decisions we have put invested in the HR department and also made others investments but despite this these two sectors did not make any sales.

-We made a decision to sell off eco-friendly and image cars in region 2 and use the money to invest in region

-Decision to sell off region 2 eco-friendly


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