We watched the American version of Hell’s Kitchen season 8, episode 1, which is called ”16 chefs compete”. There are multiple groups featured in this show namely: a male group and a female group. Each of the groups contains eight people. We observed the female group because it was the most interesting group due to two members namely Sabrina and Emily. The competitors are all trying to win the competition, therefore there also exists an intergroup competition. The prices are huge so the competition is fierce. The environment they are operating in is a pretty hostile environment with a lot of pressure and aggressiveness of Gordon Ramsey their leader.
We made a comparison about the “objective” features of the situation observed. We came to the conclusion that we agree on the hostility of the environment with a lot of pressure and the aggressiveness of Gordon Ramsey. Besides we all observed a lack of communication and coordination. Moreover we agree on most of the team strengths and weaknesses. On the other hand we disagreed on the strong motivation as a strength because a competing group of high motivated people can also be a weakness due to fights that can arise.
We based our first impression on several observations. First, the way they reacted to each other when they had to serve their “signature dish”. Second, the way they behaved during the group cooking contest. Those parts of the episode were both important to get to know the way the competitors behave.
During the episode there was some kind of gender discrimination present because the competitors were split up according to their gender. Perhaps this is not real discrimination but it is at least emphasizing differences. Moreover there is evidence of prejudice towards two of the members. First, there were prejudices towards Sabrina because she showed that her feet were hurting because of wearing high heels. Gordon Ramsey became really mad at her and told her that he didn’t like her already. Apparently, the dish she cooked as “signature dish” was very delicious. Gordon Ramsey didn’t expect this at all. Second, there were prejudices towards Emily. She was wearing a very low décolletage. Gordon Ramsey commented on that and gave her a napkin to hide it. Actually her dish was delicious as well.
The group we have observed has several strengths and weaknesses.
• Common Objective
The competitors want to win the competition. Therefore they all have a common objective.
This is a strength because they are all highly motivated to win the group competition from the
male group. This causes better team performance.
• Strong Motivation to win
They all have a strong motivation to win because there are two big prices to gain. Firstly the
winner will get a multi-million dollar restaurant in the LA Market and second of all gets a
salary of a quarter of a million dollars. This is a strength because high motivation can lead to
better group performances.
• Low Morale
Even though they are all highly motivated their expectancy of success is quite low, especially since Gordon Ramsey is screaming at them whenever they do something wrong, without ever
congratulating them when they do something right. This effect the performance of individuals
negatively and therefore has a negative effect on the group performance.
• High Pressure
The pressure is obvious since the members have a lot to lose in case they don’t win, and
Ramsey only makes matters worse instead of trying to lower the pressure that is present.
Again this effect the individual performance in a negative way and therefore has a negative
effect on the group performance.
• Animosity between members
There is only a prize for one of the members of the group so they have to compete against
each other and they also suggest which members to eliminate. Of course those who were
suggested but stay, may have some grudges on the other team members. This can cause
struggles between team members and may influence the group performance in a negative
• Low Coordination
Nobody in the group takes this responsibility in this group so they all just randomly pick tasks
and because of this they never finish at the same time, which is required for a warm dish. The
low coordination thus effects the group performance in a negative way.
• Punishments and Negative Reinforcements are prevailing.
Ramsey only uses these methods to keep the members of the group to do what he wants them
to do, but this contributes to low morale and diminishing motivation which leads to worse
• Low Communication
The team did not communicate well during the group cooking contest. This effected their
performance as a team because the various parts of a dished were completed on different
times. Thus low communication is a weakness.
• Members are Selfish
All the members of the team want to win the competition and are due to this selfish. This
leads to worse team performance and therefore is a weakness.
We suspect that the group’s biggest weakness was the lack of communication. Multiple members have to work on the same dish but because they didn’t communicate their timings were off resulting in some parts of the dish to be cold when they were served or there weren’t any dishes served. Due to this lack of communication and its outcomes, some guests were leaving the restaurant.
If our team was called in to improve the performance of the group you observed, we would suggest several strategies on the basis of our team’s observations.
-Appoint a leader, not Gordon Ramsey, within the group
-Set a clear time table
-Specific job division based on individual strengths.
-After finishing the job each day they should meet and get to know each-other.
-Focus on the job at hand to reduce discrimination and conflicts.
We think the strategy of appointing a leader would be the best because he/she will be able to set specific time tables for the individuals for instance when to start and finish cooking. He or she can also inquire the individual strength of team members and actually test it in the group so that she may appoint the right person for the job. The leader may also think of various ways to improve group communication acting as a mediator until intergroup-bias diminishes. Finally the leader can also set a group meeting each day after the time ends in order to get to know each-other better and understand each-other better.