We went in assuming we would be rather homogenous and then found that the dynamic of the group could have broken down as a virtue of differences. Once those differences were noted by myself, the group leader the task became essentially easier, as more time working in the collective was sought by the group and as an individualist, I simply had to adapt to this idea and allow for this time.
Within the works of Charles Handy there is also a message that influenced my thinking on this project and its dynamic and communication strategies. Handy stresses that the application of political ideas to company management is inevitable and in particular he stresses that federalism is the concept most likely to be utilized to demonstrate company structure and change. Not only did I find this to be true regarding the materials gathered in the project context, HP, but also in the collective dynamic of the group communication associated with the work.
THE PROSPECT of applying political principles to management issues makes a great deal of sense, given that organizations today are more and more seen as minisocieties rather than as impersonal systems. But the concept of federalism is particularly appropriate since it offers a well-recognized way to deal with paradoxes of power and control: the need to make things big by keeping them small; to encourage autonomy but within bounds; to combine variety and shared purpose, individuality and partnership, local and global, tribal region and nation state, or nation state and regional bloc. Change a few of the terms and these political issues can be found on the agendas of senior managers in most of the world's large companies. (Handy, 1993 p. 159)
If one looks at the group as a mini-society then one must create a sense of how that society works together in the small and large context. To do this we as a group had to demonstrate and understanding first of our cultural leanings as members of certain cultures and then we had to look at how we as a group collectively worked together as a mini-society, to get the project completed in the most efficient and productive way possible.
In short I believe I will be less disappointed by the process in the future as I have learned from this process, as well as from reflecting on the process the need to be more rapidly responsive to differentiation in style and desire, based not only on culture but on individualism of participants. If I had recognized the dynamic of the group or the implications of being appointed the group leader prior to the completion of this project I would not have had the experience of adapting to unexpected circumstances and may not have had the opportunity for this insight. Wishing not to assume my skills will be best developed in learning theory concepts of small and large group work, in non-homogenous work groups by learning to recognize potential weaknesses from theory and adapting to them as quickly as possible. One way I could do this in the future would be to ask the group at the onset a couple of simple questions about how they foresee the project coming together, with regard to both the outcome and the process. With this information, I might be more able to reflect theses desires and work styles in the planning and development stage of project management. Had I simply asked my group mates, "how many times would you like to meet to work on this project?" And then expressed my desire to communicate via email and on the phone we may have come to an understanding that could have allowed for the avoidance of conflict and lost time. We could have made an early agreement about these factors and also allowed for flexibility if concerns were raised about the desires of the other students to meet more frequently once they began to better understand the research content of the work.
Bing, J.W. (2004) Hofstede's Consequences: The Impact of His Work on Consulting and Business Practices. Academy of Management Executive, (18), 1, 80-87.
Handy, C. (1993). Balancing Corporate Power: A New Federalist Paper. The McKinsey Quarterly, (3), 159.
ITIM International Website "Geert Hofstede" Accessed January 7, 2008 at http://www.geert-hofstede.com/
Ledwith, S. & Seymour, D. (December 2001) Home and Away: Preparing Students for Multicultural Management. International Journal of Human resource Management, (12) 8, 1292-1312.
Tomlinson F. & Egan, S. (2002) Organizational Sensemaking in a Culturally Diverse Setting: Limits to the…