After reading this care, I think the primary reason why this learning team is falling apart is because each member in the learning team has significant behavioral patterns. These behavioral patterns have negative effects on the team. They are the reason why the members cannot cooperate effectively as a team.
Timothy Jones is a 28-year-old Texan who works in the energy sector. From the way he talks to Hee Soep Choi, we can tell that he is discriminated against international student. The horrible terrorist attack of September 11 triggered the development of negative attitude toward Hee Soep Choi. He is always picking on Hee Soep because he “felt that international students did not fully appreciate the value of the American education, and that they used that education to return to their home countries and stir up anti-American sentiment.” (Pohl & Sinnarajah, 1)
Hee Soep Choi’s quietness and timid concession makes him the introvert in the team. Due to the language and cultural difficulty, he doesn’t talk much during the learning team meetings. As a result, the other team members cannot get to know him better. There is only one person in the team who understands Hee Soep’s frustration, and that is Joseph Saunders.
Joseph Saunders is married and had a child. However, His lovely family becomes a burden for him. Saunders would leave in the middle of the discussion because he wants to spend some time with his son before he goes to bed. Another issue with Saunders is he thinks his job search is more important than the case discussion. When the group decided to divide case work among its members, Saunders didn’t do his assigned cases and came to discussion without preparation. He believes job search is his number one priority.
Thomas Fitzgerald III is the youngest person in the group. He had been working in top investment banks in New York City and attended a top-level East Coast university. This makes him the most arrogant person in the learning team. “He felt that most people south of Staten Island were incompetent, foolhardy, and a complete waste of his time. As the top finance person in his learning team, he didn’t believe that he needed anyone.” (Pohl & Sinnarajah, 2) Thomas would leave the group discussion every night by 10 p.m. even if the case discussion is not finished.
The 28-year-old Matthew Baker is a bright and hard working member in the team. He always complete the assigned cases and had a GMAT score of 780. Because of the way he dresses, the other team members think he is a sloppy person and often overlook his quality work. As a result, his brilliant work didn’t get to be discussed and the team members thought he is not participate in the team meetings.
Julia Smith is the only female in this learning team. Because of the misperception about Hee Soep, she thinks his behavior is being demeaning to females. For example, “her frustration with him increased whenever she spoke to the group, and Hee Seop Choi ignored her comments. He never looked her in the eye and did not seem to acknowledge her presence.” In my opinion, I don’t think Hee Soep is ignoring her. He probably doesn’t understand the language or the comments she made. Also, Hee soep is described as a shy person, maybe can explain why he never looked her in the eye.
The members in the learning team are highly diverse. They all came from a different background and they all have different perceptions, personalities and different way of doing things. In this case, Timothy Jones makes stereotypes of international students. “A stereotype is a generalization about a group of people. Sometimes, stereotypes are inaccurate. They harm individuals when inaccurate impression of them are inferred and are never tested or changed.” (Nelson; Quick, 92) Jones’ perception about international student is that they all are terrorists.
Especially after what happened on September 11, Jones is having this thoughts that all foreign students are unfriendly, and one day they will stir up anti-American sentiment. Also, Jones had never been outside of his home state of Texas. Maybe there aren’t many foreign students in Texas, therefore, it limits the opportunities for him to interact with students from other countries. Furthermore, the third component of an attitude, cognition, can be used to explain Jones’ behavior. This explains why Jones has such negative attitude about Hee Soep.
Hee Soep Choi is the only international student in this learning group. He keeps quiet throughout the team meetings because he is afraid that his broken English will slow down the discussion. “Even at times when he clearly understood, and disagreed with conclusions, Hee Seop Choi seemed reluctant to challenge or directly refuse.” (Pohl & Sinnarajah, 2) This indicates His behavior is influenced by his language barrier. He doesn’t want to speak up because he thinks people might not be able to understand him. “Although English is the international language of aviation, it is not the international language of business.” (Nelson; Quick, 250) I believe Hee Soep can work better as a team if the team members understand Korean. That way, he can express his ideas or opinions to the group and give feedbacks to the members.
The models of decision making tells us why Saunders decided to blow off his assigned cased. In rational model, “rationality refers to a logical, step by step approach to decision making, with a thorough analysis of alternatives and their consequences.” (Nelson; Quick, 307) Saunders decided to work on his job search so he had been looking at a few investments in Silicon Valley. He realized that if he were to spend time on the assignment, he wouldn’t have had sufficient time on the job search. As a result, he decided to blow off the cases and work harder at recruiting than anyone else.
I agree with Baker that Fitzgerald has the typical type-A personality. Type-A behavior pattern is “a complex of personality and behavioral characteristics, including competitiveness, time urgency, social statues insecurity, aggression, hostility, and a quest for achievements.” (Nelson& Quick, 219) From the case we can tell that Fitzgerald is always in a urgent. Throughout the meeting, he would tell the group to “hurry things up.” and “It’s time to move on.” Also, he is hostile to the others. He thinks that they “were incompetent, foolhardy, and a complete waste of his time.” (Pohl & Sinnarajah, 2) Moreover, there were many conflicts between him and Baker. He considered Baker as a “beach bum” who doesn’t know anything about business.
The theory of self-esteem can be used to explain Smith’s reaction toward Hee Soep. “Individuals with low self-esteem are more strongly affected by what other people think of them, and they compliment individuals who give them positive feedback while cutting down people who give them negative feedback.” (Nelson& Quick, 79) In this case, she took it as an offense that he ignored her comments. Also, she viewed Hee Soep as a sexist because Hee Soep didn’t seem to acknowledge her presence.
The General Mental Ability theory is the best predictor of work performance. It was introduced by Spearman in 1904. The theory is to test people on their verbal, mechanical, numerical, social, and spatial ability. “The overall score is considered the most important factor, explaining more variation in individual performance than specific abilities.” (Nelson& Quick, 75)
Finally, in order for the team to perform effectively, the conflicts among the team members needs to be solved. For example, we need to change Jones’ perceptions about foreign students. It is important to educate Jones on not all international students are terrorists. Also, we need to encourage Hee Soep to speak up during the discussions because his ideas and opinions are beneficial to the team. Telling stories of his country will help him to build relationship with the team, so everyone can get to know him better. Meanwhile, we should tell Saunders that his job search is not going to be the primarily off-grounds.
It is important for him to know his role in the team. For Fitzgerald, I will suggest him to slow down and learn from his fellow team members. Fitzgerald is always in a hurry and he thinks all the others are incompetent. If he slow down a bit, he will learn each team members are unique and they all have their own strength. Moreover, Baker is the smartest one in the group, however, his brilliant work didn’t get to be discussed because the group doesn’t think he is a smart person. I think he should let the group know well he did on his exam and the score he got on GMAT test. SO the team won’t skip his answers next time. For Smith, I think she needs to communicate with Hee Soep. By understanding his frustrations will definitely help her to change her thoughts on Hee Soep. If the conflicts among the team members can be solved, I’m sure they will perform much better than they currently are.