West Coast Transit Case Study Evaluation

Assignment Instructions

Write a paper (1,500-1,750 words) in which you address the following based on the information provided in the “West Coast Transit Case Study” resource.

  1. Define the three criteria for evaluating effective team/group work (as stated in the reading this week) and analyze whether the “team” assembled by Bernie Hollis and Pete Denson is effective or not.
  2. Provide a review of each of Tuckman’s five stages of group formation and identify what stage(s) are evident in the case. Explain your answer.
  3. Define Schein’s three behavioral profile roles during team entry and identify how the profiles are demonstrated in the case. Explain your answer.
  4. Was the communication among the participants in the case effective or not? Justify your answer (this is not just an opinion).
  5. The Organizational Behavior textbook describes two main types of conflict. Define them and then describe the type (s) of conflict that are evident in the case.
  6. Propose how Denson should manage the conflict in this case using one direct conflict management and one indirect conflict management approach? Explain your response.
  7. Identify one specific task leadership activity and one specific maintenance activity that should be encouraged. Identify the most significant disruptive behavior that should be discouraged.
  8. Identify the most obvious individual motivational problems experienced by Jing, Mahonney, and Tanney. How should Denson motivate each person? Be sure to provide a specific motivational suggestion for each person based on that person’s motivational needs. Ensure that at you have at least one suggestions from each of the motivational theories/techniques (content theories, process theories, and reinforcement strategies).

West Coast Transit Case Study Evaluation Sample Paper

Define the three criteria for evaluating effective team/group work (as stated in the reading this week) and analyze whether the “team” assembled by Bernie Hollis and Pete Denson is effective or not.

Team work is a complex process that requires a special set of skills to realize success. The first criterion involves the products that are under assembly by the said group. In this respect, the output provided has to meet or surpass the standards set earlier by the firm’s stakeholders. Secondly, the services provided are assessed and need to be evaluated to ascertain all processes that have been put to use and whether the members can effectively work together. This criterion is fundamental since it acts as a baseline when deciding whether the current project is progressing smoothly without any hiccups or whether those present in the group can work together in future. The third criterion involves the decisions made with the whole team having enough experience of what is required of them.  The team assembled by Bernie Hollis and Pete Denson is not effective since the members were put together haphazardly without ascertaining whether they could actually work well together. Moreover, it is evident that the team faces a constraint of the time available since they have to deliver their products in a record six weeks.

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Provide a review of each of Tuckman’s four stages of group formation and identify what stage(s) are evident in the case. Explain your answer. 

Tuckman is popular in management circles for his Group theory first presented in early 1965. It was from this starting point that he went on to develop what would later be the cornerstone of effective leadership. It is fundamental to note that he was fully aware of the fact that the groups were not fully formed or even functional but would subsequently have to evolve together to be effective (DuBrin, 2009, p. 67). The following are the proposed stages:

  • Formation: During this stage, the team meets for the first time to discuss the task at hand and challenges that would have to be surmounted if any of the goals are to be achieved. It is also at this stage that the objectives are clearly spelt out to ensure that all those present have full comprehension of what will be required of them. The team leader also provides members with a model of appropriate behavior while orienting them to the assignment.
  • Storming: This stage involves interaction of group members and where they learn to gain each other’s trust. Every single individual is encouraged to voice their opinion on the task at hand, which is important since a stance is often taken. Conflict between members may arise at this stage since each individual may have a unique working technique or approach. It is also noteworthy to acknowledge that any disagreements that arise need to be resolved at this stage to avoid future fiascos.
  • Norming: It is at this stage that the members realize that the conflict that wrought the group was also responsible for creating tighter bonds. They are now better placed to cooperate as all disagreements were resolved providing an enabling environment for all those taking part. Additionally, those involved come to terms with their aim and steadily work towards ensuring that their competitors do not get ahead of them. Team members now understand each other and conflict rarely arises.
  • Performing: With the modus operandi having been established, the team now focuses on achieving the goals that had been set. Being fully aware of what is expected of them, the group members are thus motivated to achieve the set objectives while also being able to work autonomously without any type of supervision.

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The West Coast Transit case study only presents two stages; formation and storming. It is during the formation stage that Pete Denson assembles the team, informing them of their objective. Conflict emerges in the storming stage where some members voice their discontent of the regimen that they are to adhere to for them to fulfill their mandate.

Define Schein’s three behavioral profile roles during team entry and identify how the profiles are demonstrated in the case. Explain your answer.

Edgar Schein was particularly keen on organizational culture and the behaviors that were to be adopted as novel values. The first behavioral profiles are role focused on the artifacts in the entry stage which are visible to all those accustomed to the organization’s practices. Language, technology used and leadership are just but a few practices that are in essence the artifacts in a behavioral profile. They are displayed in the team’s willingness to listen to their leader’s perspective and what they should adhere to. Values are at the center of second behavioral profile role in the team entry stage since they accord group members with a higher level of consciousness (Schein, 2010, p. 45).

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Opinions that are shared are systematically reflected upon to reach an agreement on what the best course of action should be. It is the existence of these values that aid members when deciding which situations are desirable or undesirable.   Basic assumptions also play a pivotal role in the team entry stage since they eventually end up creating a groups culture. This paradigm is presented by the team in laying down their willingness to complete the task at hand.

Was the communication among the participants in the case effective or not? Justify your answer (this is not just an opinion).

From the case study, it is evident that the communication among those involved was not effective. Part of the reason why this was the case has to do with fact that rarely did the participants take turns; listening before speaking. Mahonney and Tanney make various interjections during the conversation, an indication of poor listening skills. Effective communication begins first with one party listening to the other which allows them to fully process what is being communicated before asking any questions. Denson also lacks clarity, a crucial element of effective communication. He simply states that the team needs to complete the project within the shortest time possible without going deep into the operational intricacies that the team would have to maneuver. It is this lack of clarity that leads Tanney to misunderstand the sentiments that were communicated which she views as being condescending. Additionally, communication was not effective since Denson was not charismatic enough and failed to be open to the group member’s feedback. From the case study, it is apparent that Tanney has personal difficulties that have seen her enlist the help of a counselor. Instead of dismissing her, Denson should have spoken to her at an emotional level to understand what she was going through in addition to articulating the group’s objective.  

The Organizational Behavior textbook describes two main types of conflict. Define them and then describe the type (s) of conflict that are evident in the case.

Conflict is common in the formation of groups in organization and has proven an inescapable reality. There are two main types of conflict; functional and dysfunctional. Functional conflict has often been referred to as a healthy type of conflict since members of a particular group with conflicting opinions are able to disagree on a particular policy and discuss it thoroughly. As a result creative thinking is promoted since ideas are shared amongst those present and key in improving the decision is making process (Rahim, 2011). Dysfunctional conflicts go beyond the difference in opinion among group members and may even hinder the organization’s performance. In this particular scenario hard and soft costs become realities in the organization’s operational function while impacting its bottom line negatively. Functional conflict is present in the case study since members of the group are grappling with the best initiative to be implemented to make it a success. Even though there seems to be personal differences between some of the members, they conflict revolves around the best technique to be implemented to achieve the objective within the shortest period possible.

Propose how Denson should manage the conflict in this case using one direct conflict management and one indirect conflict management approach? Explain your response.

Conflict has always been a part of organizations with leaders often being urged to find the best resolution approach that would eventually grow the institution. This is because conflict is often centered on preference for one idea and proposals to abandon others.  Management of conflict is therefore vital to ensure that group members do not lose track of the ultimate goal that is to be reached. There is no doubt that Denson faces an instance of conflict in the group which is why the application of direct and indirect management approaches would come in handy. When using the direct approach to manage conflict, Denson may use compromise to solve the conflict raging in the group. Concessions are vital in appeasing aggrieved parties. Avoidance is also a viable option when applying an indirect approach when dealing with conflict. This may be done through minimizing introduction of behavioral annoyances.

Identify one specific task leadership activity and one specific maintenance activity that should be encouraged. Identify the most significant disruptive behavior that should be discouraged.

Leaders are positioned at the specific areas in an organization to ensure that they act as facilitators in providing interventions that would ultimately lead to success. They are therefore obligated to make use of all tools in their disposal that would make the diagnosis and solving of any issue an easy task.  It is for this reason that activities have become a primary focal point for all those who aim to avoid discord while espousing proper coordination amongst all said persons. Task leadership activities are meant to aid the facilitator and group members gain a deeper comprehension of their purpose and what they seek to achieve as a unit. Task as activities seek to ensure that group members make proper use of their time and skills to complete work promptly. Clarification, for instance, is a popular task leadership activity which makes certain that all those taking part in a particular project have a complete understanding of what is required of them. During this activity a group’s leader can also take it upon themselves to pick individual contributions that had been made and subsequently illuminate it to other members struggling to grasp the concept. On the other hand, maintenance activities are practiced as a measure that would ensure that a group is cohesive. It involves regular evaluation of all members and the whole unit as a whole that would allow the leaders to take note of any fault lines worth their attention. Gate-keeping serves as an example of a maintenance activity that attempts to urge group members to communicate more openly with their compatriots. Ideas are therefore shared within members, encouraging fruitful discussions courtesy of good relations therein. Micromanaging is a disruptive behavior that should be avoided at all costs. Ideal leadership in a group setting is that which accords members some level of autonomy whipping up a sense of trust.

Identify the most obvious individual motivational problems experienced by Jing, Mahonney, and Tanney. How should Denson motivate each person? Be sure to provide a specific motivational suggestion for each person based on that person’s motivational needs. Ensure that at you have at least one suggestion from each of the motivational theories/techniques (content theories, process theories, and reinforcement strategies).

Jing, Mahoney and Tanney lack singleness of purpose in pursuing West Coast Transit’s objective of having a marketing plan ready before launching their Boeing-747. It is quite evident that they constantly harbor doubts about the whole project and often express this in their pessimistic statements. This blight in character is a detrimental to progress, serving as an existential individual motivational problem that always hovers over the subjects whenever the prospect of a new project arises. There is no doubt that they are acutely aware of the sheer importance of this marketing campaign to their nascent establishment but are soon overcome by negative thoughts. Jing can be motivated best using Hertzberg’s two-factor theory of motivation since she has already expressed enthusiasm in the task and all it entails (McGrath & Bates, 2017).

This can be done by forming a supportive relationship with her in addition to placing her in positions of great responsibility. On the other hand, the Expectancy theory and its application would suit Mahoney’s. To avoid his individual motivational problem, setting an achievable goal and subsequently providing rewards would come in hand. This may be in the form of payment for work completed, especially past office hours. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is ideal for motivating Tanney. Evidently, she has personal issues that seem to be the bane of her life but it is also important to remind her that she is a rare asset to the company. She, therefore, has to surmount her difficulties since the company also depends on her expertise.  

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