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Collaborate (a little)

With Abdulallah, Sam and Maureen, we revised most of the original statement of the Small Group Factors list. Abdulallah led by organizing the group on Twitter and creating the shared document we worked from. As a group we decided who addressed which statement from the list. Most of our work was done asynchronously.

group working together
Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash

Original Statements

  1. The most important goal for a group in this class would be to complete the stated task(s).
  2. Groups are most productive when a leader steps forward to run meetings and allocate tasks.
  3. We should have a high degree of tolerance for group members who are late to synchronous meetings or do not attend due to other obligations.
  4. Creating friendships and completing the group task are equally important.
  5. Criticizing other group members should be avoided.
  6. Avoiding smaller conflicts is the best method to reduce conflict escalation.
  7. All group members should have identical goals and reasons for being involved.
  8. Majority rule is the best method of group decision making.
  9. If one group member is not pulling his or her weight, the other group members should confront that person together.
  10. Everyone in the group should receive the same grade for group projects.

Revised Statements

  1. The goal that a group in the class should focus on would be to complete the stated task(s) (by Abdulallah)
  2. Groups accomplish the most when one person steps in to lead meetings and divide tasks (by Abdulallah) ORIGINAL: Groups are most productive when a leader steps forward to run meetings and allocate tasks.
  3. We should allow for sometimes group members being late to synchronous meetings or do not attend due to previously scheduled matters. (by Abdulallah) ORIGINAL: We should have a high degree of tolerance for group members who are late to synchronous meetings or do not attend due to other obligations.
  4. The primary concern of group work should be collectively completing the assignment. Forming professional contacts is a valuable side effect of productive group work.(Sam)
  5. Constructive criticism between group members should be encouraged. Through questioning each others way of thinking we dive deeper into understanding the work and build off of each others strengths. (Sam)
  6. Confronting smaller conflicts as they occur is a good method to reduce conflict escalation. (Deana)
  7. Group members should acknowledge that others may have other goals and reasons for being involved. (Deana)
  8. When time is a factor majority rule might be the best method for decision making, however, a consensus would be appropriate if time is available for a collective agreement. (Maureen)  
  9. If a group member is not pulling his or her weight, speak to them directly and immediately about the task. (Maureen)
  10. Everyone in the group should receive the same grade for group projects. (Maureen)

Justification and Clarification

Most of the revisions, in my opinion, were simply wording changes to make the statement more positive. But the group was challenged by our instructor to justify the revisions or clarify the statements. This is still a work in progress by the group.

For my statements, I offer the following:

#6: Addressing smaller conflicts as they occur is important.  All concerns should at least be acknowledged by the group.  If the concern affects the overall goal of the group, and time allows, the group should try to resolve the concern.  Ignoring what may seem “petty” or insignificant to the group invalidates what may be a sincere concern by another group member.  By ignoring the concern, the aggrieved member may perceive that he/she is not valued and his/her input is not important. Also, unaddressed concerns or growing discontent will build up and eventually implode and cause divisive turmoil within the group, making it less functional and effective.  

#7: Not all group members have the same goals.  Each member brings his/her own particular strength to the whole.  Some members may be content experts while others are the technical gurus.  Some may have genuine altruistic motives to be in the group and others may be more motivated by personal gain or recognition.  While each member may have individual goals or reasons for being in the group, every member should be valued for his/her contributions and willingness to work toward the identified goal and purpose.  

Conclusion

Looking at prior examples of this assignment (something I did not as the group worked together), I wanted to include some kind of artifact of our overall revisions to share. My group-mates are welcome to use, revise and share.

https://www.canva.com/design/DADfNbLq6aw/share/preview?token=XBwkznfalfLPMBmgSY5XlA&role=EDITOR&utm_content=DADfNbLq6aw&utm_campaign=designshare&utm_medium=link&utm_source=sharebutton

2 Comments

  1. Chris Lott Chris Lott July 11, 2019

    This is AWESOME. You did a great job expanding on the statements to address my question/challenge and I (and your collaborators) surely appreciate it.

    I appreciate the idea of transparency and ensuring visibility of individual goals, which not only seems like The Right Thing to Do, but also helps better establish roles and division of labor!

    As far as #6 goes (and #9), who would be confronting and/or speaking?

  2. dmwaters dmwaters July 12, 2019

    In a perfect world, some kind of chain of command should be followed. If a group mate had a issue with me or something I did, I’d like him/her to come to me first, privately, with the concern. If we could not work out a resolution, then the concern should be brought to the designated “leader,” then the group as a whole. Likewise, if I felt a member was not equitably contributing to the group effort, I should speak with the member privately, then to the leader, then to the group. I’ve used group work assignments before and I’ve had to work through these kinds of issues with students. It’s not easy, and it takes tact and diplomacy. Since we don’t live in a perfect world and not everyone group has a chain of command, the next appropriate person to speak out should be the designated “leader” of the group. This would apply to #6 and 9.

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