Organizational Behavior in a team of the Amazing Race

The Amazing Race – Episode 11, Season 16

To find out about behavior in teams we watched episode 11 of the 16th season of The Amazing
Race. This episode is situated in Shanghai and four teams are still in the competition. The
Amazing Race is a show where teams of two have to make their way through a number of
exercises in chronological order by accomplishing one task after the other. After completing a
task successfully they will get their next exercise. First team arriving at the final destination is
the winner.

The objective is to win the race of this episode in order to get into the final in the next episode,
to have the chance to win 1 Million Dollar.
The team of our observation consisted of the couple “dating models” Caite and Brent.
According to our first impression the team seems to be strong, you can observe the will and
determination to win. They are open-minded and ask for help from the local people. Even, if
they do not speak the language, they find a way to communicate. They are relaxed in tough
situations and one can see that they are able to master them well.
Caite is a typical “American girl”, she likes to talk and laugh; she doesn't seem to be very
intelligent, but is very determined to proof that she is. On the other hand she is especially selfconfident.
Brent is a more calm guy, who can be very open, but in general he does not talk much and
observes situations rather than interacting. Nevertheless he is very motivated to win the race of
this episode.

Different Observations

The opinions of our group members coincided in most cases. The team we observed was a
young couple, therefore the main aspects predicted were that they would conflict in certain
situations, as well as understand each other very well and not get lost in the metropolitan. One
could see that some of our team members looked at the negative aspects of the team observed
being a couple and the others looked at the positive aspects, which helped us see both sides.
One aspect we couldn’t agree on was the language barrier. Some of the team members felt that
the couple wasn’t comfortable due to the fact they didn’t speak Mandarin. Whereas the others
felt that was part of the task, as none of the other groups in the show had the language
advantage. The first impressions of the individuals we observed were similar for everyone.
Caite seemed very self-confident, but not very intelligent. It felt like she wasn’t comfortable
being in an entirely different environment, as she stayed in the background and let Brent handle
the initial problems. Brent looked like a very open person who felt comfortable in China, at
first. He didn’t hesitate in asking people for directions or for help in translating documents.
However, as the task continued the roles interchanged and that was a part our team members
agreed upon. Caite wanted to prove that she isn’t irresponsible and took it upon herself to solve
most of the problems that awaited them. Some of our team members felt that Brent saw that as
an opportunity to relax and let Caite toil. Another fact we all agreed on was that Caite was the
more ambitious one of the two. She didn’t want to let anything distract her from her goal of
avoiding elimination. Even when Brent urgently had to use the toilet, Caite would’ve rather
risked disqualification than wasting time in going with him to find a toilet. That was a situation
of conflict where neither of the two listened to each other and was focused on each other’s

Stereotypes and Prejudice

Stereotype of Language:
The background is Shanghai, China. For the majority of Chinese normal citizens, English is
redundant in their daily life; even English is a lingua franca in western world. However, most
groups are not open to eastern society. They still believe the proliferation of English. Especially
for the team which got very agitated with a taxi driver, as he did not understand a few English

Stereotype of “Garden Bridge”:
Garden Bridge of Shanghai, which in Chinese is called “Wai Bai Du” Bridge.
There is no relation among these names. Garden Bridge, as a name, was given by the British in
the last century. At that time, there was a park near the bridge. The park has already been
destroyed by war. Nevertheless, the majority of groups held the stereotype that Garden Bridge
must have a garden. Even some Shanghai local people in the beginning of show directed the
teams to a small bridge situated in a garden. Nobody could have been sure what the Garden
Bridge is, but they all reached a hasty conclusion with a stereotype but not systematic
“I am a detective, I know I can find it”:
There is a group consisting of 2 detectives in this show. They have a strong relationship
between their attitude and behavior. They are detectives; they observe numerous practical
details in their occupational life. They experience it, so they tend to do the same thing in this
race. However, this was not a detective’s game, this was a race in which they needed the help
of local citizens. There was not enough time for the detective-in-them to come out and do
observation work. Nevertheless, they believed they have the inherent advantage of coming to
conclusions from their own observations and used the telescope frequently to survey the area.
The consequence of failing can be attributed to the mechanical copy from the skills needed in
their jobs.

The team´s biggest problem and its solution
The biggest problem of the group we observed was their bad communication. While taking
decisions they were only talking and not listening to each other. We observed a complete lack
of focus on what their discussions were really about. In other words: they did talk a lot but they
were saying nothing. Moreover, because both of them did notice the other person was not
listening each member kept repeating their arguments over and over again. This resulted in
even less listening and more repetition and eventually even aggression; for example in the
situation where Brent really has to go to the bathroom and Caite does not want to leave the task
at hand. This makes the Amazing race one of the most exciting television series.

The best way to solve this problem is to make clear rules for the team to which every member
will obey;
- Only one person is allowed to speak at a time.
- When someone has spoken the other takes a few seconds to really consider what the other
person has said.
- It is not allowed to raise your voice since this is no use in an argument.
- When no clear decision can be taken someone else or faith has to decide. This means that
the decision will be taken by either a 3rd person and when no one is around who can be
asked a coin toss will solve the issues.
- If one of the members does start talking when the other is not yet finished he or she will
instantly lose the discussion.
- In the situation that one of the members becomes aggressive he or she will be forced to take
a 10 minute time-out to consider his or her actions.