1) Identify the name of the show you chose, the episode name/number, and if multiple groups are featured, which group you observed. Briefly describe the “objective” features of the situation you observed: the team, its members, what they are trying to accomplish, and the environment they are operating in.
The name of the show we chose to watch was “Hell’s Kitchen”, the episode we watched as a group was Season One Episode Three. There were two different teams to choose from and decided to analyze the blue team. The team is self-aware that they need a great deal of teamwork in order to excel above the other team and yet find difficulties on the way. The members represent a large array of personalities displaying characteristics ranging from shyness and creativity to experienced and hard-working. These will be reviewed later.
The blue team usually has two tasks to complete per episode and work in a series of different environments such as professional kitchens, supermarkets and even the street for example. The blue team has recently won the majority of the challenges they have been presented with throughout the life of the show and thus exude a great amount of confidence stemming from their previous victories. Initially, the blue team seems very efficient and teamwork-orientated. Towards the beginning of the episode, the blue team was racing down the hallways of the supermarket getting the job done quickly and efficiently through the medium of teamwork. They helped each other constantly and even one of the members of the blue team (Ralph) described the team attitude at the time as “synergy”
2) Provide a comparison of your team’s answers to the individual observation questions above. How were your impressions similar? Where did your impressions differ?
We had the same opinion about Ralph since we all thought he was overpowering and bossy. We also agreed that Mary Ellen was shy and quiet. Wed didn’t on the other hand agree about Jessica. Some of us thought she was thankful for feedback, where others thought she got too emotional and distracted by it. Our opinions about the team itself were very different, since some of us thought it was well structured and organized while others thought it was chaotic and messy. After discussing and hearing each other’s views of the team, our views got quite similar.
3) What evidence did your teammates use to form their initial impressions of the group, its members, and the dynamics?
It is widely believed that the opening credits of the show itself captured the real personalities of the members of the blue team. It briefly displayed the things they said and the actions they took while acting under pressure and thus their true personalities emerged.
The first thing that automatically stands out boldly is Ralph. As one of the members of the blue team leaves for the other team, Ralph immediately identifies that everyone in the team will have to make up for the production lost due to the departure of a member. Following this, Ralph takes the initiative to portray the role as the leader and starts working. When the time came to brainstorm on certain recipes, Ralph was consistently there both giving ideas and willing to build on others, though at times Ralph seemed to sink in too deeply into his role - even another member (Andrew) described Ralph as being “overpowering”.
Both Jessica and Mary Allen seem very submissive considering Ralph assumed the leadership position and started delegating tasks. They did not stand up and question his unwritten role. Perhaps one of their biggest attributes was the willingness to both listen and ask for help when the time came.
Wendy’s character was a little bit more difficult to analyze. Wendy was also submissive and willing to learn but Wendy had one huge drawback – Wendy was either incredibly shy or just simply individualistic. When Wendy was struggling with her task she failed to ask for help, and when Ralph assigned Wendy to her task Wendy failed to communicate that she was inexperienced in that role – this would later hurt the team as a whole.
Lastly, Andrew had an attitude which did not complement the rest of the team. Throughout the episode, Andrew consistently seemed “resistive” and at times sometimes very stubborn. Andrew never favored Ralph’s initiative to become leader and even later called him “overpowering” Andrew did not seem fond of Ralph’s role but he never showed any signs of wanting to be in that role. Ralph’s stubbornness comes from the lack of asking other people in his team for help when it would have benefited him. This can be later portrayed when one of his dishes was a disaster.
4) Was there evidence of prejudice, discrimination, or the use of stereotypes in the show – either between group members, between groups depicted, or from other people on the show? Describe your observation.
Throughout the length of the episode one of the members of the blue team (Ralph) decides to take initiative and take the role of a leader. We believe that Ralph becoming a leader encompasses the meaning behind a stereotype simply because it is widely believed that an older man is wiser and thus Ralph seems socially pressured into taking the initiative to embrace the leadership role. Also, besides the fact that women outnumber men on the blue team, the majority of the “power” still lies with the men in Ralph.
5) As a team, outline the strengths and weaknesses of the group you observed. (Note: the group’s strengths and weaknesses are not the individual members). Provide evidence from your team’s observations to support these claims.
The team’s biggest strength by far stems from individual attitude and characteristics. The strength that the blue team holds is that there is a well established leader in Ralph and other teammates such as Jessica and Mary Allen listen to Ralph and ask other teammates for help when they need help. With this, all three of these individuals completed their assigned tasks. Ralph stepped up as leader and assumed the role that a leader would usually follow. Ralph delegated tasks, helped when his teammates asked for it, and took responsibility when the team was lagging behind schedule. Another attribute that the blue team has it that they understand the concept of teamwork and adopts the practice very well; the blue team also seems motivated on the task at hand most of the time
The blue team’s greatest weakness can also be attributed to individual attitudes and personalities. Communication within the team seemed very superficial and not meaningful throughout the episode. Individual characteristics such as Wendy’s shyness hurt the team in the long run. Wendy was delegated to work with meat, what Wendy did not communicate with the rest of the team was that Wendy is a vegetarian and thus has minimal experience when it comes to cooking with meat. Another problem that holds the blue team back from success is the fact that some of the team members get over-emotional. When this occurs, the whole team is distracted and loses focus on the task at hand.
6) Based on what the members of your team have learned from the course so far, and your team’s observations from question 5:
a) What would you argue was the observed group’s biggest weakness or problem? Please describe this problem and provide evidence from your observations. (Remember: do not identify particular members – identify team level problems)
The blue team’s poor communication channels and their lack of emotional stability may be designated as the team’s biggest both weakness and problem. Time and time again the blue team has been held back due to poor communication throughout the team. Andrew’s personality continually conflicted against that of Ralph’s, Andrew never embraced Ralph as leader and thus continually stopped working on his tasks to complain about Ralph’s “over-aggressiveness” and so lost a great deal of productivity for the team in the long run. Another example of the blue team’s poor communication is Wendy. Ralph assigned Wendy to work with the meat, to both prepare, and cook the meat. By the end of the task, Wendy cooked a poor dish, what Wendy failed to communicate to the rest of the team was that she was a vegetarian and thus new little about meat let alone cooking it.
b) If your team was called in to improve the performance of the group you observed, what strategies would your team suggest on the basis of your team’s observations? With your team, please brainstorm a list of ideas for solutions for this problem and include the list in your report.
· Have a better plan-of-action
· Facilitate communication channels
· Don’t give in to emotional distress
· Patience is key
· Give complements where they should be addressed
· Both share and embrace other people’s ideas
· Divide tasks according to each other’s strength
c) Which strategy do you think would be the best and why? Please describe this strategy in more detail.*
Communication is praised in any teamwork setting mainly because it has continually proved that communication is key for a team’s harmony, and great team-work ultimately leads to efficiency on the task at hand. The members from the blue team need to learn to listen to each other, to share ideas, to facilitate these communication channels. The members of each team are put together from across the country from a variety of industries, a diverse team needs patience and the willingness to learn and embrace. Another strategy that could greatly improve the blue team’s performance is to speak up when someone is in need of help. Wendy’s fault caused a domino effect in the blue team’s self-destruction. Once these communication channels are cleared and open, and people learn to work together then the blue team could and will excel.