As a group we chose ´Australian Survivor´ for this group assignment. Our Dutch teammates, had the idea of choosing ´Australian Survivor´ because the show was claimed to be popular in the Netherlands as `Expeditie Robinson´. They suggested the idea and as a team we agreed to watch the first episode of the reality show. We chose to watch the first episode because all show participants are introduced during the first episode where they are also divided into teams, thus both teams are introduced. We could get precise vision of the show’s entire concept since the rules of the challenges were clearly-defined in the beginning as well as we had an opportunity to observe goals of the teams. Moreover we also had a chance to observe individual’s goals.
In the reality show `Australian Survivor´ there are 16 people. They are divided into two tribes made up of eight people. One of the tribes is called Tipara and the other one is Kadina. The Tipara tribe has its campsite on the coast (near to food supply) and the Kadina tribe has its campsite near water supply. One day the tribe has to search for food and the other day it needs to search for water. Both tribes have to compete with each other in challenges so as not to have to go through the process of elimination where one of the members is kicked-off by means of voting. They pursue the common goal but only the one can win $500.000. The environment in which ‘Australian Survivor’ takes place is deserted, deadly and dangerous since the participants need to survive in the Australian wilds.
As a group we decided to observe the Kadina tribe. We chose them because the tribe has lost the challenge in the first episode. Hence, they had to go through the elimination process and discuss who will be sent home. That let us to observe the relationships within the group more thoroughly and the way the group works together as a team.
In this episode of ‘Australian Survivor’ we have observed the characteristics of a group. A group is defined as two or more individuals, interacting and interdependent, who have come together to achieve particular objectives. The tribe we have observed consists of eight people, who work hand to hand to achieve the common goal of winning $500,000.
They are as following:
Craig, age 27
David , age 34
Lucinda, age 43
Deborah, age 26
Tim, age 51
Sylvan, age 25
Caren, age 28
Naomi, age 22
As it was previously mentioned the goal of the Kadina tribe is to win the challenges against the other tribe,Tipara, so that they do not have to go through the elimination round, where they would have to eliminate one of their team members. In the last episode of the reality show the remaining team member of the winning team wins $500,000. (this is the underlying goal of winning the challenges). Winning this amount of money is what they are trying to accomplish. It was quite obvious for all of us that the individual motivation has mostly taken place in the show. Though, they have to work together in order to win together, because every elimination round weakens the competing team. Finally everyone will have to struggle against his teammates in order to get the price which implies that individual and team values contradict each other.
Robbins, S.P., Judge, T.A., & Campbell (2010). Organizational behavior. 1st Edition, New Jersey: Pearson/Prentice Hall (ISBN: 978-0-273-71939-7) p.230
Our impressions about the management of the tribe
When we discussed our individual questions during our group meeting, we came to the conclusion that all our impressions were quite the same. There was no clear evidence that the group had leader. Everyone was kind and supportive to one’s teammates . We think that the first episode is a good representation of the relationships within the tribe, since the group members have just met each other and in the beginning everyone tries to create a good image. Moreover, there are no prejudices since people are just getting to know to each other. All members of the tribe will try to do their best to make friends and establish a proper relationship with their teammates. The tribe was formed randomly, so the group really has to put some efforts in forming a team. It is a hard task to win a challenge without having ‘teamspirit’ because there might be lack of cooperation. In the beginning they are all in the same boat. It’s new experience, no one knows each other, they are in the Australian wilds and they are at the same level and all fights for a common goal. Later on, each member will start to discover someone’s strengths and weaknesses as well as the group ones. Therefore the relationships within the group will change and there will start growing a certain management of the group (mostly someone will gain dominance and will lead the group, making decisions on his/her own).
Every person has different background which affects his/her habits and approach to the work done. Someone may be more individualistic others can be good team players. In this episode we saw only a few people trying to take responsibility. That was observed when the group was making a tent. Everyone had his own opinion of how to make that but the most obvious solution was to find the most skillful person and assign him to lead the process. Due to the forming stage no one had clear role perception. We witnessed slight differences in the behavior of group members: someone seems to be a follower someone tries to take a lead (even though they still didn’t have one), but so far the team works really well together and discusses everything, so there are no major differences to notice.
We think that the behavior of the group during the first episode is quite typical. Participants got in new environment and they are trying to split up the tasks according to the skills everyone has. Later on they will cooperate in a more efficient way since all the skills and talents will be unveiled.
Basically we came to agreement on having used the same evidence to observe team members’ behaviors such as gestures, the body language since sometimes people are not that sincere pursuing their individual goals but the gestures best show how the person feels about a situation. The body language is the ultimate tool to see that.
There was no real evidence of people using stereotypes or discrimination because were still at forming stage, so there was no outcast yet. The forming stage is defined as the first stage in group development characterized by much uncertainty. Everyone can still get along with each other and people are trying to incorporate themselves into a team to share its values.
Robbins, S.P., Judge, T.A., & Campbell (2010). Organizational behavior. 1st Edition, New Jersey: Pearson/Prentice Hall (ISBN: 978-0-273-71939-7) p.325
Robbins, S.P., Judge, T.A., & Campbell (2010). Organizational behavior. 1st Edition, New Jersey: Pearson/Prentice Hall (ISBN: 978-0-273-71939-7) (p.321)
Biggest Strength & Weakness
The biggest strength of the team is that the team members can get along with each other well and that they discuss everything within the group. This increases the team spirit and increases their teamwork. All of the team members have their own motivation and individual goals and all of them, though, know and realize that they have to work together as a team to reach their own goals. When the team was participating in the challenge, they were working together very well, but after losing the challenge every member of the team only thinks about his/her own survival and the individual goals start dominating team values. During the second challenge, which Kadina lost, one member was chosen by the other tribe to answer the final question. After losing the challenge Lucinda (the woman who had answered the final question wrong) blamed herself on the defeat and pushed her candidacy to be eliminated. She admitted that she was physically the weakest from the tribe and that she was not able to help the team as good as the others had done. Eventually Lucinda scored most votes against her and was sent home after the elimination round.
The second strength but also a weakness was David’s case. David got sick in the first episode which meant a big disadvantage for the group as a whole (the weakness of missing one person during the challenge). The tribe was taking care of him by giving a head massage. So the actual strength here is that they care about their team members even though someone can’t participate during the challenge which is a good step to team formation.
The biggest weakness of the tribe is that the Kadinans do not share common norms and values due to different backgrounds and because of pursing individual goals. The team was randomly assigned so the team frame is slightly superficial and vague.What could they do to improve their group?
To improve the team it is important that they get acquainted to each other. Moreover, they need to start building up a group identity and to sharing the same values. Secondly they need to start finding implementation to group members’ abilities and talents in a better way also known as task differentiation.
The team members are doing their best so as to create a better image within the team and since they are constantly being recorded and broadcasted on TV.
Moreover they have to develop more of a team. They are working together but so far everybody has their own goals, investing in team building would increase everybody’s chances to successfully end the show. To get rid of possible stereotypes and prejudices it is important to create interdependence among the members of the team. Although they have to work together as a team they need to trust each other and overcome possible stereotypes.