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Free riders are those who take the same credit of you without exerting efforts. They are present in many groups, but it depends whether they are known early or not. Also many guys tolerate with free riders if they were their friends, but work and friendship are separated things. Every group should have a communication way, where all the group members agree on. And no one says that I did not know or I did not get the message. And this is something we suffered from. And because there are many members in the group and everyone has his own business, everyone should be on time for the meeting. When any group want to choose their topic, they should choose it wisely because wrong choosing will cost them time and effort. Working like a team is better than working like a group, but team work requires discipline, which we lacked. The abilities within the group differ, but you should try to get the maximum from everyone. Interpersonal relationship is the social connection between the group members which grow with time. Positive interpersonal relationship between group members leads the organization forward and to employees’ satisfaction. Organizations know interpersonal relationship effects, so they try to provide the appropriate working climate for it. The managers have influence on employees’ interpersonal relationship and he tries to make it positive of the benefits he can get from it. Group members working together at all times and seeking a common goal is working like a team. To have an effective team you need to work hard and combine the right people together. Team effectiveness is measured by the final outcome and employees’ satisfaction.
Group assignments provide postgraduate students with opportunities to improve their capabilities and demonstrate a professional behaviour. Personally, the group assignment is considered to be a valuable experiment that led me to write this reflective essay. The group assignment had a great impact on my skills as it had lot of benefits. I learned lot required behaviours from working with a diverse group. Group work differs from working individually as it involves an interaction with others that might result in conflict occurrence, misunderstanding and so on. There may be difficult times during group work, but a group member should be wise and help the group to pass those difficult times. I have relied on my diary notes captured after group meetings to write this essay to reflect reality. Although there is a distinction between friendship and work, I prefer to work with friends rather than people that I do not know. Effective cooperation among group members would be required at all times, so they can complete assigned work and deliver it in the best way with highest level of satisfaction.
Free Riding is the absence of contribution and getting the benefit of that good. This view has been supported in the work of Marwell, Ames (1981). Before the module starts we knew that we had a group assignment and it must contain 4-6 individuals, so we were four friends knowing that we can make a group of friends only, but we have been thinking that if we entered two more participants it will be easier for us as everyone will write less and concentrate more on his points, and that will help us to concentrate on our other assignments also, but what we have been afraid of is that we may have two free riders who will make the work harder. From the first day that we have decided to meet at, we found that 3 of the group members were not there, so we were thinking about free riders and will we accept those free riders in our group because of the friendship we have. I and the present group members decided that this is work and we do not like to work hard and the free riders get the same credit. A personal experiment of being in a group with free riders made us insist of our situation that we do not want free riders in our group, as before the submission date they came with no work in their hand saying that we did not know what to do, so we have decided to work together all the time and to divide the work and everyone do his part, but we have a weekly meeting to ensure that there will be no one free riders. Discovering free riding before the grading is important, but detecting the free riding early is much better for the group to take the corrective action and to work all together and get those free riders involve in the work again (Free riding in group work – Mechanisms and countermeasures, n.d.). Therefore, we decided to meet often so we can ensure that we are all walking on the right side. And we have asked the professor about the grading system and she said if you were the manager and you have free riders in your group, what you would do? And I was thinking of leaving them behind as they will delay our work and make it harder, but if I must have them in my group I will give them specified tasks and ask them often about their progress with an evidence to ensure that they are really working and contributing with the group.
Misunderstanding within the group:
There was a misunderstanding regarding the time at the first meeting, as we have decided to meet at 11 am and then some of the group members changed the meeting time till 3 pm and they have said that we have sent a message on Facebook, but not all of the group members actually got the message, so we ended up blaming each other. I think that happened because we did not have that person who could take the responsibility to tell everyone about the exact time and if the time changed or there was any kind of change in plan, he would tell all the group members. Also, I think the existence of that kind of person in every group is important and will lead to a better performance and satisfaction from all the group members. Because of the misunderstanding, we have delayed our work for one more day as the members who came early had other plans to do at the time of the new group meeting appointment. Consequently, we have decided to have one communication channel for the group and it is doing a group chat on Facebook and everyone contributing in deciding the meeting time, so no one can have any kind of excuse of not attending the meeting.
When we wanted to choose our meetings time, we were asking all the group members if that time was appropriate for them, because we wanted our meetings to be on time. The thing that happened was that I am there on time, but I had to wait at least an hour and half for the group meeting to start, because the members were always late. I waited and we did our meeting, but I was frustrated because of the late start. I have told them many times to choose the right time that they will be there and they have apologized for their lateness and promised to be on time for the next time. The same lateness behaviour had reoccurred as usual in which late members were acting normal, but the other group members were frustrated and complaining. The other group members had cool nerves and sometimes they have just waited others for an hour and a half to let us complete the work. I think this has affected our group performance, as if we were committed to the meeting time we would have done better in the group assignment.
Improper Subject Selection:
At the first we have choose Bloomberg as our subject because there was a Bloomberg guy who came and talked well about Bloomberg and we all found that the subject is very interesting, so we have decided to write about it. Therefore, we have decided on the points that we are going to talk about and that everyone would come back after 3 days with the information about Bloomberg. Apparently, no one has written a thing when the meeting day came and we were all complaining that there was not much available information. Therefore, our improper selection of the subject has led us to a waste some time.
Team or Group?:
I knew the difference between the team and the group from prof. Sally Sambrook, as she told us that working as group is discussing the points together, distributing the tasks and then everyone do the work individually. In the other hand, working as a team is doing everything together from discussing the points till the end of work. We tried to work as a team because it is more effective and creative than working individually, but the continuous absenteeism and lack of commitment of members in the meetings made it difficult, so we decided to work as a group. In addition, we decided to distribute the tasks in a way that please and satisfy everyone, so we wrote down the tasks and every one chose his favourite task that he would be interested to write about.
There were individual differences in the abilities of the group members, as when we met to see and assess everyoneâ€™s work we found that some members of the group have covered their tasks perfectly while other group members made it difficult because we had to modify their work. My point of view is that I do not consider them free riders because they have tried and I could feel that they made an effort on their tasks, but the abilities within the group are different. Moreover, I suppose that their aim is just to pass while other group members who wanted to have a good grade in the assignment. We found the module is interesting and easy, so there is nothing to prevent us from having A* while others saw it impossible, so there were different aims within the group. Members with high ambitions did not get disappointed from others and have worked very hard. These members with all honesty have gained my respect and gave me a lesson for life that I can do everything even if the group members are reflecting discouragement and laziness. If you want anything and you work for it very hard, you will achieve it.
Interpersonal relationship and team effectiveness:
What is an interpersonal relationship?
Interpersonal relationship is a strong social connection between two or more people. There are many types of interpersonal relationships, but what we care about is the organizational interpersonal relationship which is the relationship between individuals working together in the work place. They spend a lot of time in the work and for sure they want to talk and discuss their issues with others rather than working alone all the time and that is a natural part of the working environment. Also, there may be a previous relationship between the individuals before working together and this helps the relationship to expand. We as students knew each other before the group assignment, but within the group work we came closer and worked together for longer hours. I think that I have a stronger relationship with them now, after the group work. I would prefer working with them again rather than working with a new group members that I do not have any kind of relationship with them (Management study guide, [online], n.d.).
Do interpersonal relationships affect the performance of the individuals?
There are many beneficial outcomes for individuals and organizations because of the positive interpersonal relationship at work. Employees can feel job satisfaction and commit to their work because of their positive interpersonal relationship within their workplace. In the other hand, a negative interpersonal relationship could affect the employees and make them upset, and that will lead to lack of commitment towards their work. Obviously, it depends on the individual himself whether he was a social person and like to communicate and interact with the others or he likes to work individually and isolated from the others. A positive interpersonal relationship within the organization will build a supportive and innovative working climate for the employees, which will lead to an increase in the organizational productivity and institutional participation, and that will lead to employees’ satisfaction (Dachner, 2011, Abstract). In our group work there was a positive interpersonal relationship which have made the work easier and more interesting. Furthermore, we were friends and knew each other before the group work, so it helped us a lot. It is interesting to have friends working together and it would form a comfortable working climate which can help to improve the performance and encourage the members to work hard. In the other hand, friendship in the group can make the members lazy; as they know that if they do not do their work; their friends will not leave them behind and will do their work. Our group had agreed from the beginning to isolate friendship from group work because we did not want the group members to keep depending on the others to do their own work. In my opinion, working with group members that I have a positive interpersonal relationship with them is much easier than working with new groups. Also, from my previous experiment of working with members that I do not know, I can say that there is a risk of being in a group with members who do not care about the grades they get, so you find yourself obligated to do their work.
How could the organization build a positive interpersonal relationship?
The variety of the advantages of the positive interpersonal relationship within the organization has encouraged organizations to build, support, and try to form a strong positive interpersonal relationship. The organization attempts to make the coworkers to become friends, because coworkers with friendship help each other more than normal coworkers. Besides, the organization helps the workers to communicate and work together in groups or teams to build a positive interpersonal relationship in order to provide the appropriate working climate for the workers to communicate and interact with each other. Moreover, the theories propose that demographic characteristics affect social relationship between individuals (Dachner, 2011, Antecedents of Interpersonal Relationships at Work). Consequently, organization could form group works with individuals who share the same demographic characteristics. Our assignment group consists of people from India, China, and I am from Kuwait, but it was easy to work with them because we all shared the same goal and were working for the same purpose. I think that it depends on the person himself if he wants to make friends with his group and try to help them with their work or he just want to do his part and leave.
How the management could affect the interpersonal relationship?
Managers want the employees to be friends, help each other, and work together so they can get the most of their performance. Managers could give them the opportunity to socialize and encourage them to be friendly with each other and become friends. There are two influences that managers could have on employees’ interpersonal relationship. The first is direct and it is forming groups and giving them the chance to work together and compete with other groups which can provide a healthy competition for the organization. The second is indirect and it is giving them appropriate working condition, and not to give them a lot of work that they do not have the time to interact with others (Department of Public Health Sciences, 2010) 2.1 interpersonal relationship at work.
A Team in an organizational point of view:
A team in an organizational setting is a group of individuals whose tasks are done by working together, who share outcomes’ responsibility, who consider themselves and are considered by others as a unit inside the organization, who work together at all the times, help each other, and correct each other’s mistakes to increase the efficiency and improve the quality of the teams’ outcome, because they are all sharing the responsibility of the final outcome (Cohen, Bailey, 1997).
As individuals who worked together for the assignment, although we shared the responsibility for the final outcome, we were not working together at all the time. If we worked as a team, it would have been better than working as a group but the conditions hindered us from working together as a team.
Teams with high performance need to be developed and nurtured, as they do not just appear without working hard on them. The development of these teams cannot be guaranteed even with visionary leaders. Because if you want to have a high performance team, you should combine visionary leaders and motivated team members. There are many characteristics that help to build a high performance team such as, having a clear plan and a common goal, utilizing teams’ resources, valuing the differences in the team and trying to get the best from each member, the willingness of the members to give their best for their teams, managing the meetings in the perfect way, and exerting the efforts to achieve the goals. Also there are other things that affect the high performance teams and it is the teams’ size, the abilities and the skills within the team, the way of communication, and the conflict resolution (Cliffs Notes, n.d.). I agree that high performance teams needs co-operative and hardworking members. Also it requires the commitment from the team members, especially in the meetings time, because we suffered a lot from the members who were always late on our meetings.
Measuring the team’s effectiveness:
As the team members work together all the time with shared responsibility of the final outcome, it is hard to evaluate each member’s contribution to the work. The manager wants and sees the final outcome only regardless whoever contributed more to the work. The effectiveness of the team is measured by performance and personal outcomes. Measuring the final product, customer satisfaction, items sold, etc. are all kind of performance outcome measurement. While measuring team members’ commitment and satisfaction and their desire to work with the same team members again is kind of personal outcome measurement. Hence, the grade that we will get in the group essay is the performance outcome, while if I wish to work with the guys that I have worked with again is the personal outcome. In my opinion, our group works both the performance outcome and the personal outcome was excellent.
In conclusion working in a group assignment has many advantages and make you learn a lot of things, but everyone should try to get the maximum benefits that he could get. I can say that the group work made me better prepared for the real practical world. Although I had many hard times during the group work, it was interesting and earned me some good friends for lifetime. It was exciting to work with my friends in a group assignment and to help each other trying to get the maximum grade. After reading a lot about the interpersonal relationship and team effectiveness, I realized its importance in the work place and it really affects any organisation, and that is why every organisation is keen on it. Working in a group is totally different from working individually, as working in a group imposes you to respect the group members and their opinions even if these opinions conflict your own opinions, but if you are working alone you are the decision maker. That is the difference that I knew from working in the group assignment and the individual assignment. Finally, working in a group has many benefits that contribute in refining the personality of the participants and often better than the individual work and this is what I had concluded from my personal experiment in the group work.
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