The Colony“, the reality show we observed, takes place after a natural disaster in the USA.The post-apocaliptic scene was inspired by hurricane Katrina (2005). The main purpose of the team in this reality show is to survive and cope with unexpected, complicated circumstances such as living in an old warehouse in bad hygenic conditions.The group seeks for opportunities to make their current living conditions more acceptable and at the same time and at the same time generating ideas of how to get away from their old habitat and get in touch with what is left of the world.
The members of the team have different backgrounds. Fortunately though, every single person has been selected because whey are experts on their field of work (nurse, computer engineer, handyman, biologist, martial arts instructor etc). Everybody complements each other this way.
In this specific episode, „Loss and Communication“, the team members have to deal with losing a teammate (Loss) and setting up a communication system (Communication).
While we watched the episode, we all made our own individual observations. When we had finished the episode, we discussed our answers. We seemed to have a lot in common; the impressions of the team and teammembers were the same. The goal was obvious, and so was the motivation. We didn’t have a lot to discuss. Everything seemed really clear
We find the show a great example of cooperation between different people in a catastrope situation; it leaves an impression that differences in age, race and gender are surmountable. The difficult and sometimes dangerous situations make prejudice and discrimination fade away. This special situation lessens time to think about stereotypes, discriminate others on the basis of their biological or mental features.
As all of the members were masters in their field of life, everybody was able to provide the team with knowledge about, for example medicine and engineering. Allison, a nurse, checked her team-members´ health on regular basis; John C, a computer engineer, built a device for communication. Therefore they were all important for the existence of the team. When something worked out, everybody was happy, and complimented each other. This could also motivate people to do their best.
As a weakness, the most noticeable factor is that if one person gets depressed, then it is only a matter of time untill all of the team members show traces of severe depresson as they have to be together 24 hours a day. So, basically the mood of one person indicates in what mood the others will soon be. In this episode the loss of a teammember effected everybody. At first in a negative, depressing way. However, after a day or so different team members decided to take action and build a communication system.
The biggest problem is the absence of a leader. In our oppinion, a leader could effect the teams mood, give instructions, show initiative and make decisions. The group splits up in two, one stays put in the warehouse and the other one goes to an abandoned hospital to look for resources. Looking for resources is dangerous, and the group arms itselve with weapons. While looking for resources, one teammember gets separated. When the others realise this, they search the entire hospital for hours, but he is nowhere to be seen. They give up their own safety to look for the lost teammember.
Then, after the group realises that he is not there anymore, they go back to the warehouse, undecisively . When the entire group hears the bad news, another party is made and the search is resumed. The and undecisiveness of the group endangers everybody this way. A leader could have told this to the group and made everybody realise that it is not worth looking any longer.
We would choose a leader as it might give the members of the team more confidence, because some people can work better under a specified instructions and guidance, than thinking out on his/her own, what to do next.
We would argue that the biggest weakness or the problem of the group we observed was that the team did not have proper organization. The group was missing a leader which would probably instruct their group members what to do basically. This would basically make the group more efficient in decision making since there would be less confusion. However we should bare in mind that the leader should not act like a person who has control of everything.
The best strategy would be talking, it is easily achievable, because it does not require any special devices etc., it also might increase the level of trust between people.
Team-members should sit together on regular basis(once a day) and talk what was the hardest/easiest part of the day: it might justify and make others understand their possible moodswings and the way of acting.