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.
We watched the show ´Hell´s Kitchen´, episode 3 from season 7. There were two teams in this episode. We observed the red team. These teams had to compete in two cooking challenges. The first one was preparing a lunch with a very simple menu, and the second one was preparing dinner. With both challenges, the teams had to work with time constraints.
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 all agreed that in both challenges they helped each other out when needed. Nevertheless, in the first challenge, the women managed that even though they were helping each other, they did not mess up their own task. In the second challenge, some did mess up their own task, due to helping others.
We all thought that all the team members were very motivated to win the challenge. However, some were more motivated for themselves, while others had more the collective approach.
We also agreed on the interaction part, that the team members were shouting a lot to each other, but mostly in a positive way to motivate each other.
Because this episode was pretty clear about the team interaction and behavior, we couldn´t find any differences between our opinions of the show.
3) What evidence did your teammates use to form their initial impressions of the group, its members, and the dynamics?
We used quotations and examples from the episode in order to support our findings.
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.
Thanks to the way the teams are build up, with only men and only women, this stimulates and highlights the differences and prejudices the different teams have about each other. The blue team consists of men and the red team consists of women.
We also thought that there was some kind of discrimination in the show about the oldest woman. In the end of the episode, Gordon Ramsey tells her that he isn´t sure whether he can ´teach an old dog new tricks´.
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.
One of the teams weaknesses it definitely that no one admits when she is in need of help. They are too proud to admit struggling with their task. This is due to the fact that they want to impress Gordon Ramsey and in the end win the show as the best chef. It produces a selfishness that has a deep impact on the group-performance and communication. Furthermore the lacking communication leads to disorganized work-flows and ineffective distribution of work.
Even though they do not ask for help they constantly helped each other. Meanwhile they are not able to finish their own task satisfying.
The strength of the red team was their team spirit. Compared to the blue team they acted as a real team without hierarchy fights and everyone claiming to be the leader.
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)
Problem: The biggest problem of the team is the selfishness of its members. No one is really willing to give up her pride to admit that she is in the need of help. They are all thinking that admitting a mistake or admitting not to be capable to finish their task in the demanded quality will make them look bad in front of Gordon Ramsey. This results in delivering bad food quality and this for several times.
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.
Option 1: If the team would select a leader within the team, who would coordinate the interactions such as communication, helping each other and cooking-activities they would be better off. Until now they are disorganized and the dynamics are not running smoothly. When they select a commonly agreed leader they will come out with a better result. Considering that everyone wants to win and be the leader they should apply a rotation-system that changes the leader every challenge. Thanks to this system they all know what the difficulties are as being a leader and this would result in a better understanding within the team. Further it gives the possibility to lay out who is capable of being a real leader and is capable of running a restaurant as a chef. Because this is what they will be in the end after winning the show.
Option 2: The real problem in this situation cannot be solved with just applying a new strategy. Diving deeper in the goals that motivate every team member one will recognize that they are all striving for individual excellence. In the end only one person will win this competition. Considering this fact the team consists of rivals who work together on a basis that hardly can be called common. Transferring this composition of a team into a real company and compare it with the applying theories several things have to be changed. The main goal has to be changed to an overall team-rewarding goal. Until now the main motivating-picture in everyone’s head is to be the chef of the “Savone”. To reach the highest possible result with this team the goal has to be changed to reward everyone equal, not just in the short term but also in the end. Obviously this would result in the opposite of the shows intention.
c) Which strategy do you think would be the best and why? Please describe this strategy in more detail.
We chose Option 2 because it is more likely to be successful. Nevertheless it will be only successful or at least wanted to be applied in a real company. In this show it would result in a boring, perfectly cooked and timed meal. This is not what the viewers want to see. They want to see tension, arguments and a lot of things going wrong. Coming back to the company situation one has to mention that sharing a common long-term goal builds the best basis for a good result. It would also make it easier to elect the best and most capable leader. Which would, once more result in improved organization and communication between the members.