Table of Contents
The annual school day is one of the most important days in the school calendar, if not the most important. It is a day slotted for the recognition of exemplary performers in the school not just in academic disciplines, but also in extra curriculum activities such as sports, performing, and non-performing arts. It is a day filled with pomp and glamour, and every stakeholder looks forward to the event anxiously. Every year, the school receives dignitaries from different fields in both the private and public sectors to encourage the students to work hard as they pursue their dreams. This year’s guest of honour was the commander of the royal army of Oman- who was scheduled to deliver a speech to the people in attendance. A lot of work goes into preparing for the event as different groups get various responsibilities to perform during the annual event. Consequently, the members of the respective groups must cooperate with each other and the different groups must coordinate seamlessly to ensure that the ceremony runs smoothly. The key groups in the event include the guests of honour, the organisers, the facilitators, the performers, the persons receiving the awards, and the audience. The master of ceremony works alongside the event manager to ensure that the guests to the event are regularly informed of the development to avoid any mishaps.
As a member and leader of the school catering club, I was responsible for overseeing that all the guests received exemplary service from the members of the catering club who would be actively involved in the event. Having joined the club immediately, I joined the club; I had substantial experience in managing the members of the group effectively to achieve the desired objectives. The objectives for this event were as follows:
- Obtaining special diet needs amongst the guests of honour.
- Ensuring that the sitting arrangement would not interfere with the delivery of service.
- Assigning different members of the team their respective roles. These include food preparation, services, clearance, and cleaning.
The catering club had fifteen members actively involved in this event while five more were designated as reserve personnel to stand by in case they were needed in the course of the event.
The five stages of team development
According to Borman & Motowidlo (2014), any group formed to achieve a given objective must pass through the five stages in the course of its operations. These five stages are listed below as follows:
Since all the current members of the club found it already existing within the institution’s structures, we did not witness the group go through the formation stage. However, Boutros & Purdie (2014) explain that it is at this stage that all the team members meet for the first time and share personal details about their lives. These personal details include their backgrounds, interests, skills, interests, as well as reasons for joining the team (McCalman, 2015). The formation stage involves the determination of the objectives of the group.
The storming stage comes shortly after the formation of the group. Storming is a stage of the conflict, and lobbying as the different members of the team decide on how to achieve the objectives set during the formation stage, as well as the roles played by the different team members (Doh & Quigley, 2014). In productive groups, the storming stage gives rise to roles and systems that govern the operation of the group. It is during this meeting that checks and balances are also established to help govern personalities, egos, and matters such as succession. Once the team has well-established systems, and portfolios with different roles and responsibilities are defined, it is concluded that the storming stage has come to an end (Ehrhart, et al., 2014). The catering club experiences this stage every year when electing new officials into office. Although restrictions exist to help vet various candidates, the elections are intensely contested especially among the freshmen.
Once a new team of officials is in office, the norming stage then sets in. Norming is usually a stage of forming alliances amongst the group for efficiency (Malbašić, et al., 2015). For example, the catering club splinters into several divisions depending on the number of persons recruited and each member is assigned a role in their respective splinter based on interests and skills.
A few weeks after the norming stage, the group begins to exhibit effectiveness in its functionalities as the newly recruited members learn skills from their seniors and the officials in office takes charge of the club’s operations. The performing stage is the most important stage of the group and any group that manages to remain in this stage for as long as possible has a greater chance of achieving its objectives (Foster, 2014). The school’s catering club spends most of its time on this stage since the institution only has one intake all year long. Consequently, large-scale recruitment only takes place once a year. However, the club experiences a suppressed storming stage at the start of the second semester when students are invited to register as club members after resuming from the semester break.
The last stage of the group’s performance is the adjournment stage where the group is dissolved since it has achieved its objectives or due to changes in other dynamics that make the group irrelevant. While the storming stage is usually difficult for the members of the team, the adjourning stage could also be a source of emotional distress for team members depending on the period they have worked together (Hersey, et al., 2014). Adjourning breaks ties created through cooperation as the members of the group sort to play their roles and help the organization achieve its objectives (Hollingworth & Valentine, 2015). Since the catering club is institutionalized and does not dissolve, adjournment occurs when members of the club who are in their final year finally graduate and leave the institution.
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Review of the team’s performance during the event
The catering club had been responsible for the cuisine served to the guests of honour during the event for the last ten years now, and the senior members of the institution such as the patrons and the senior officials had accumulated experience. This experienced ensured that the events planned for the day proceeded without any interruptions. The only notable occurrence was the unavailability of one of the service personnel, but since other club five club members were present, the operations went on as planned. The member later informed the officials that she fell sick the previous night and could not make to attend the event.
The following section uses Alexander’s model to determine the effectiveness of the group during the event. Developed in 1985, the model investigates various aspects of the group in operation and assigns scores to each value (Liu & Van Dooren, 2015). These values are then summed up to determine the final score and consequently the effectiveness of the group. Since the model evaluates fourteen parameters each with a maximum score of five, the maximum score attainable in the evaluation is seventy. Groups that achieve a cumulative score of fifty-six and above are highly effective while those that score between forty-two and fifty-five are average (Mitchell, 2014). Any group that scores thirty-five points and below is below average. It is, therefore ineffective and could end up failing to achieve its objectives.
The group performed as follows in the evaluation:
Team goals: 5
The objectives of the club are clearly defined in the club’s memorandum, and all members of the club are sensitized on the organizational culture of the group during recruitment. Adequate arrangements were also made to ensure that the objectives of the day were achieved.
Member contribution: 4
The members performed their respective tasks diligently with the exception of one team member who fell ill and could not attend the event.
Despite the heightened sense of importance associated with the annual event, the procedures for the event were not unique from the usual procedures that govern efficiency within the group.
Experimentation and creativity: 5
While creativity is allowed during meetings, experimentation is strictly prohibited during such events. Since all the members of the team adhered to this rule, the team performed as expected.
While the team always evaluates whether it has achieved all its objectives, some team members do not express their actual evaluation of the performance, and the group could be missing out on important points to note that could facilitate improvement.
Decision making: 3
The club’s officials are tasked with decision making on behalf of the club, and this sometimes presents challenges since some suggestions made by the members of the club could be explicitly ignored.
Information is centralised and then decentralised thus ensuring that all members receive relevant information regarding projects, tasks, developments, and the group’s activities. However, sometimes information does not reach the officials on time.
Catering incorporates art into food production, and it is important for different styles to be considered. Since the officials have veto powers, such considerations may fail to be implemented.
The club has a sound structure that defines the roles and responsibilities of each member. Failure to deliver on these responsibilities could lead to suspension or dismissal.
Conflict resolution: 4
The club has a conflict resolution panel that comprises of the patron, two officials, and three ordinary members. This panel handles all conflicts that arise, and the patron’s decision is final.
This is not addressed individually but as part of conflict resolution as described above.
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Interpersonal communication: 3
The club discourages personal communication and requires that matters be addressed officially through the relevant processes. This affects interpersonal communication negatively but helps maintain harmony.
Meeting process: 5
The meetings are well facilitated by the officials and always remain in focus of the subject or agenda.
Meeting outcomes: 5
The meetings held by the club are productive, and members receive summarised reports of the outcomes a few days after the meeting.
The cumulative score of 57 indicates that the group’s performance is above average but has room for improvement.
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