1) Our group observed an episode from the American reality show “Survivor”. The exact episode was number 2 from season 21. In this season they split up the candidates in two teams; a younger, against an older one. We decided focusing on the younger group. The members are Shannon, Brenda, Na’Onka, Chase, Alina, Ben, Fabio, Kelly B., Kelly S., and, Mathew. Their goal is to survive the longest in the wilderness of Nicaragua, and to remain as the last survivor of the show.
a) We all had very similar impressions of the team. We believed that there was a lot of hostility within the group which is splitting the team up in smaller groups.
b) Our impressions on the team members were very similar. We all agreed on a couple of members, who didn’t have an team-leading, or influential role in the episode.. These were: Alina, Ben, Fabio, Kelly B., Kelly S., and Matthew.
People that were starting to lead actions within the group were:
- Shannon: He tried to take the lead right away, but he didn’t use the proper methods which ended up in him getting eliminated.
- Brenda: She was very misconceived by some of the group members, and even though she didn’t want to, the team ended up in being a “Shannon-group” against a “Brenda-group”. She was put in the situation to be an opponent of Shannon.
- Na’Onka: She is extremely suspicious of people. When she doesn’t like someone, she is blaming them for mistakes they might not even have done..
- Chase: A nice guy who follows his emotions, but got stuck in between Brenda and Shannon.
c) We also agreed on the goals of the team. We all said that their main goals were to survive in the wilderness, and to win the challenges against the other team. However, their individual goal is also to become the final survivor of the show.
d) We agreed that within the group, winning the show wasn’t the only motivation, as they are also fighting for the whole group to win competitions against the older tribe.
e) The main similarities of the people, that actually make them a group, are their age, common goals, and that they are all attractive people (in great physical condition). Differences in the group are backgrounds, morals and believes, and their personal characters.
f) Their commonalities and differences are influencing the atmosphere in the team. As some people have more commonalities than others, they are splitting further into smaller groups within the team, which is automatically creating an environment of rivalry within the tribe.
g) The team is having a lot of arguments, which are caused by the lack of trust within the group. A good example of how they interact and deal with situations is when Na’Onka took Fabio’s socks after hers were misplaced or taken. She got extremely mad at him, and blamed him for taking her socks, even though she had no evidence for that. In general, they don’t talk open and honest about problems coming up, but jut take actions on their own to handle things, which however a lot of times end up in misunderstandings, wrong actions and even more mistrust and arguments.
h) One of the team’s strengths is that even though they don’t have a strong bonding within the group, for every competition they are all fighting together to win, which is due to their common goal and motivation to win the challenges against the other tribe. As they still want to defend the team they are in to be the better one, they have to work together and help each other in order to win. This in return also strengthens the bonding within the groups for a better life together in the tribe..Weaknesses are that they don’t have a lot of trust in each other yet, as they just spend little time with each other. That leads to a lot or arguments and misunderstandings.
3) We based our initial impressions on how the team interacted with each other, their characters and behaviour. Our first impression had a strong influence as well on how we thought of the group.
4) There was a high level of prejudice within the group. Good examples are how some of the group members didn’t believe that Kelly B. could be a strong member of the tribe because of her physical disadvantage, as she only has one leg. However, she was able to prove them wrong during the challenges. Within the group there was a lot of stereotyping and prejudice due to looks and behaviour.
5) One of the strengths the younger group has over the older group is their physical advantage. They are still young and are physically a lot stronger. Further, their common goal of winning the show still gives them enough will to work all together as a group to defeat the other tribe. Weaknesses are that there is not a lot of trust, and they are splitting up in various smaller groups within the tribe. This creates a distant feeling among the members.
a) The biggest weakness is that they are having troubles communicating and solving their differences, and disagreements in a proper way.
The groups of this show could be categorized as a cross-functional team, which means that there is not a clear high hierarchy, but they are working together on a similar goal. Advantages of this strategy are that it allows people from different backgrounds to come together and exchange information, develop new ideas, solve problems, and coordinate complex problems. Weaknesses within the team are that they don’t know each other in the beginning and it’s hard to put aside the pre-judgments that are made when they meet.
Therefore, their difficulties and arguments they are having at the beginning are quite usual for a cross-functional team, as everybody has different backgrounds with different experiences and perspectives. A good example is the situation when a member was accusing another team-member without evidence of stealing. Her assumption was just made just on per-judgments and the personal likings of that team-mate
b) To create a strong team, there are four key components that are important to ensure effectiveness within the group. These are:
- Work Design
If you can successfully integrate these four key components the team will be able to work in the most effective way.
c) The Context, which includes a strong and determent leadership, is very important to give the team a clear structure they can follow. A person they can trust and that they can follow will minimize arguments and disagreements, as the
The Composition factor is important to work with the strengths of each individual, which can be used as a good for the whole group. Making a team work is to split up tasks for every person, considering their strengths, and talents. That way, each person feels needed and to be an important part of the group. It also helps tolerating others, as everyone is accepting each other with their own strengths. Every single one is needed to make the team, as a whole work.
The third important factor of team-effectiveness is the Work design. The team needs to work together and take collective responsibility for completing significant tasks. It includes variables such as freedom and autonomy, the opportunity to use different skills and talents, the ability to complete a whole and identifiable task. These characters enhance member motivation because they increase members’ sense of responsibility and ownership of the work.
Therefore, bringing up an atmosphere and the feeling that everyone is working together, using each individual’s strengths to reach a goal, would help the tribe to become even stronger and to make life with each other easier and more enjoyable.
The last factor is the Process. This includes member commitment to a common purpose, establishment of specific team goals, team efficiency, a managed level of conflict, and minimization of social loafing. This way, teams can even create outputs greater than the sum of their individual inputs. All in all, it has to be said that survivor season 21, was one of the most informative series we have seen.