We are going to discuss the second episode of the reality show ‘ Survivor’, season 20. In this episode there are two teams, the ‘Heroes’ and the ‘Villains’, we have observed the ‘Heroes’ group. This group consisted of Amanda, Candice, Cirie, Colby, James, JT, Rupert, Stephenie and Tom. The members were all included in several previous seasons and they were put together as a group this season because they have played this game in an honest way, no back-stabbing or mean tricks. They played with honor and integrity.
The goal of each member is to win the show, and therefore they have to win challenges with the group they are in. Because when their group wins the challenge, they cannot be eliminated. What makes this show unique is that it is situated on a tropical, deserted island. So the contesters do not only face the challenges that they have to participate in, but they also need to be able to adjust to the situation on the island. With no everyday resources present, they have to build their shelters with what they can find in the jungle and they need to catch their own food. This adds a different dimension to this game show.
Comparison of individual observations
When we were discussing the motivation and goals of the group, our impressions were similar. We all had the same impression of the team as a whole.
When we were talking about the individual members, how they interact and what the team’s strengths and weaknesses were, we mostly agreed with each other in the end but we differed in our initial impressions. And this was mostly because we all valued some situations in a different way, whether we based it on something a member said, or how they behaved. Some of us were more likely to judge based on actions, and others on what they said. But while discussing this, we could understand what we were coming from, and that there were different sides to a particular situation.
Evidence used to form impressions
We basically used three different ways of assessing the group, the first one was what they said in the ‘confession booth’, this was an excluded shelter where the contesters could speak their minds in private, just to the camera. Only we, as viewers, could see this. Secondly, the way they interacted with each other, how they presented themselves within the group. And thirdly, we looked at their actions. And more specifically, how their actions coincided with what they said in the confession booth.
Prejudice, discrimination or stereotyping in the show
In the reality show the participants were assigned into two teams or ‘’Tribes’’ according to their behavior in previous reality shows. The participants who had exhibited kind and caring relationship were put into the ‘Heroes’ tribe, but the ones who were dishonest and egoistic were assigned to the ‘Villains’ tribe. Therefore the participants were expected to behave either on a heroic or a villainous way. However, some participants of the ‘Heroes’ tribe were not at all behaving heroic. J.T., for example, was forming two contradictory alliances within the ‘Heroes’ tribe, which proves his lack of loyalty and disregard for the team. This proves that there were false assumptions made about the teams.
Many conflicts arose between team members because of false judgment, internal prejudice and confirmation bias. After the team lost the challenge James was constantly belittling Stephanie and blaming her for her loss. However, his argument for her fault included only the fact that in her previous show all her teammates were eliminated which would indicate that she is not a team-player. But James did not base his arguments on her behavior during the immunity challenge, therefore the accusations were irrelevant. Nevertheless most of the other team members became convinced by the accusations of James and were therefore prejudiced during the elimination where Stephanie was voted out of the challenge.
Another conflict arising from the behavior of James was his exchange of verbal insults with Tom. Tom and James have very different backgrounds and possibly this is an additional reason for their dispute. Tom is an educated, well-spoken and elderly man, whereas James is talking in slang, young and aggressive. Tom cannot stand his false accusations and therefore defends Stephanie. He was very calm when pointing out their differences to James, but James was in contrast very aggressive and yelling out insults. Their conflict was enforced by their possible dislike of each other because they come from different social groups.
Strengths and Weaknesses of the group
The ‘Heroes’ team had strong motivation for seeking mistakes that led to their failure, and trying to find solutions to their problems that would enable improvement in their performance in the future. The team critically assessed their performance and compared it to the other team. They exhibited hindsight bias when they said that they knew what the problem was all along.
The morale of the whole team is easily influenced by their performance in the immunity challenges, therefore after losing a challenge a lot of conflicts arise and impose a threat to the success of the team. This instability was evident from the behavior of the team after immunity challenges. When they won, the team were working together to build a shelter and there were no conflicts, but when they lost, verbal accusations and forming of alliances occurred instantly.
Another weakness is the egoism and individual aspirations for success that the team members have and which results in inability to cooperate as a team. Everyone wants to prove his worth and skill, but no one wants to admit the good qualities of others. Evidence of this is the behavior of the team during the mental assignment in the immunity challenge. Everyone was speaking at the same time which resulted in inability to assemble the puzzle pieces.
The biggest weakness, and thus the biggest problem of the group is that the members are very individualistic. They all think they have the best solution to each problem, and they do not listen to other people’s ideas. For example during the challenges, they all speak their own minds and ideas of how the task should be completed, but they do not decide for one solution.
This is mainly because they do not know each other’s strengths and weaknesses; therefore they do not know who to listen to besides themselves.
We have come up with the following strategies to improve the performance of the group:
1. Define the strengths and weakness of every member of the group. During this session everyone has to be honest about what he or she is good at and what not. At every challenge a different leader, or leaders, will be chosen based on their strengths.
2. The problem is mostly based on the fact that every member does not tolerate, accept and trust the other group members. They should look back at the lost challenges and discuss what went wrong. This will make them realize they need to put their ego’s aside and they are stronger as a team, they need each other in order to win the challenge. When they have accomplished this, they do not need a leader and they can make decisions as a group.
3. Because everyone wants to be the leader, no one accepts the other to be in charge during for example a challenge. So they should pick one leader and accept his or her authority. They should all vote for the person they think will be the best leader, and the one with the most votes will be the head of the group.
We believe the first solution is the best because it solves the problem from the roots. First, they need to tell everybody what they feel are their own weaknesses and strengths. Secondly, each group member will write down what they think are the strengths and weaknesses of each member of the group and read them out. This will make them be honest with each other about their strengths and weaknesses and this will also clear the air and take away hidden tensions.
They have to decide what each member is good at and at every challenge, they determine what quality is needed and they elect one or more members of the team as the leader. For example the challenge they face in the episode we have watched, they should have picked TJ as the leader and listened to what he has to say, because he was already familiar with the challenge.
Because they chose a different leader at every challenge, everybody has a chance to lead the group and put his or her strength to a good use. This will help them to accept it when somebody else is in charge and tells them what to do.
This solution will hopefully help the team to not only win more challenges but also feel more comfortable as a group.