We choose the American version of the show “The Apprentice”, in which 16 candidates battle each other for a job with a six figure yearly salary, as the head of one of Donald Trump’s Companies. Trump also hosts the show and the candidates need to convince him of their abilities as business men or women. At the start of the season candidates are divided into two teams, one female and one male, consisting of 8 members. For the duration of the season (12 weeks) they will all live together in a suite at Trump Tower in Manhattan. Every episode they are given a task, which they have to accomplish better than the other team to win. Fir every distinct task each team also has to elect one member to become the team leader, who will be in charge of the team during the task. At the end of each episode the leader of the losing team has to pick two team members to join the leader in the board room meeting where one of them will be fired by Trump and has to leave the team and the show.
In our assignment, we are going to concentrate on the female team, but compare it at some places to the men’s team to stress important facts. We’ve chosen the third episode of the first season. In this episode the female team consists of Amy Henry, Katrina Campins, Heidi Bressler, Tammy Lee, Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, Ereka Vetrini, Jesie Conners and Kristi Frank. During this episode the teams are given a task which will test their negotiation skills. They are given a list of items which they have to purchase in New York. The team that purchases all the items at the lowest total price wins the task.
During the discussion we found out that our observations were relatively similar, however there were also a few differences. We would like to stress a few important differences and similarities.
First of all we all made the observations that the female team was very focused on themselves and didn’t work together at all. Nonetheless, as the task progresses they developed into a true team, that divided their tasks and trusted each other, which eventually led them to the win.
An important difference in our observations was that most of us thought that the female team started off with low confidence and their confidence increased as they came closer to the end of the task. One member observed that the confidence level remained at a steady low during the entire show.
Another point where our observations differed was on the impression of one of the members, Katrina. Most of us thought she had a problem solving attitude, whilst one member thought she was being oversensitive.
We also had different opinions of team member Omarosa. Some of us believed that she was a good business women how was determined to win, where as others believed she was manipulative and insensitive.
Evidence used to support the observation of the female team’s development as a team was that they were mainly talking about “I” and “me” at the beginning. Amy, one group member, mentioned the stereotype-like behavior of the women in connection with their many conflicts. After they “developed” their team spirit the word “we” was used much more often. Furthermore they praised their achievement with evidences like for example “We did a great job.” Also they started dividing their teams into smaller groups and trusting each other’s abilities to get the job done.
Evidence used to support our opinions concerning the confidence level of the team, was that at the start they were saying how they had issues with Omarosa whereas the men team didn’t have such issues. Also they pointed out how the men’s team had more skilled negotiators. During the task Omaraso became more accepted and appreciated within the team suggesting that their team’s confidence should increase. Evidence suggesting otherwise was that at the end of the episode one member of the female team suggested that the men were now even more dangerous as they lost one of their biggest weaknesses, because one of the men team’s members, Sam, was fired.
Evidence supporting our observation came primarily from the fight Katherina had with Omarosa in the beginning of the episode. Kathy said that Omarosa is “manipulative” and “backstabs” others. Katherina confronted Omarosa with her opinion, in an attempt to try to solve the problem with Omarosa. Omarosa said that she was not in the show to make friends. She was here to win and that she is willing to go far to achieve her goal because it was part of business and Katherina was just “oversensitive”.
Even though there was someone of a different ethnicity, namely Omarosa, on the female team there were no signs of racism. Furthermore there were also no really clear stereotypes used during this episode on the female team, however there was a moment during negotiations were the females used their female charms to get the price down. By doing so they sort of acted to be a stereotype. Neither was there any evidence of prejudice. Even though the female team had some social issues and certain members had negative opinions of other members, due to the fact that some members couldn’t get along with Omarosa, these opinions were based on experiences from previous tasks and not prejudice, racism or stereotypes. On the other hand on the men’s team there was some usage of stereotypes. One of the members (Sam) who really stands out from the rest and irritates other members with his abstract behaviour, was described as a “Wildman”.
There were a quiet a number of strengths and weaknesses that our group observed.
Their first strength was their ability to divide themselves in cooperative smaller groups within the team.This major decision put back strength into the women’s team again and it really paid off well.
Also, once they were in compatible groups, the team became very focussed on the task at hand. They put all their bickering, quarrels and fights aside and focus on what is at hand. They really show professionalism at work. That is to say, in the working environment, they exhibited group interest over individual interest.
Another strength of theirs was, after having been divided into groups, to generate compatibility and focus into trust, loyalty and a gradual rise of an atmosphere of confidence among the two sub-groups and the entire team as a whole. Team members began to have a different perception about each other, then tending to erase any form of selective perception that might have existed earlier on.
Finally we observed one other significant advantage or edge that this team had over the men’s team and that was their feminine power to bargain for cheaper prices when needed. This might raise arguments to an extent; for example at a certain point, one of the member’s in women’s team didn’t really like the idea. However the arguments may also be that they used it at crucial stages and it work for them; they bought their items at reduced retailed prices, in a whole accounting for their victory on this task
Off course the women’s team also had weaknesses. One of their obvious weaknesses was that there was a lot of bickering and fighting in the team compared to the men’s team.
Moreover, the female team had issues with a shifted focus (divided attention). Due to the lack of harmony in the group at one moment, they were not totally focussed, because they had to spend quiet a considerable amount of time resolving conflicts in the group. Even though, one could argue that when they started the task, there weren’t any signs of this disharmony, yet they could have used the time for conflict resolution which proved unprofitable to build trust among each other and to discuss issues that would have been healthier and a to boost to the team’s morale.
Another weakness of the team was that they did start the task with low confidence because of the disharmonious confrontations that happened earlier on. The morale within their camp was not high as compared to the other Team. Furthermore, interviews before the commencement of the task showed that, they saw the members of the other team as better equipped to tackle the task at hand, than their own team.
Throughout the whole task the women’s team experienced a lot of conflicts. It started in a previous episode with an argument between Omarosa and Erica. The whole team felt a lot of tension going on, where one of the women called a group meeting. The most important problem that the girls have is that everyone is attacking one and other whenever the situation allows it. The whole idea of the first 6 weeks is to survive and don’t loose any team members, because it makes the next tasks more difficult for the team. This strategy seems not considered at all during this task. In other words, internal conflict is the main issue her and this would probably lead to a weakness in the coming tasks where the chances of losing the task will only become bigger. We think that gender, the team being all women, is the cause of this problem. During the task, one of the members said to the audience that all the women hold grudges against each other, whereas the men (in the same situation) would scream and yell to each other and afterwards get it over with. So they may continue to work on the real problem at hand, which is to win the task.
In this situation it is difficult to say what the best possible solution might be. Because of the rules of the game, not much can be changed within the team. As at a given point the teams will be mixed by Trump, a solution to this problem could be to divide the team into sub-groups where the girls that have problems with each other are split into either one of the two sub-teams (in this case, Omarosa would not be in the same sub-group as Erica and Katrina). In this way, almost no collaboration of the two problem makers is possible, so members of both sub-teams will focus on the task rather than to cool down fights. The reason we think this would work out the best at this stage is that the stakes are very high and losing the task is not worth solving the conflicts within the team.