Nut Island Effect

Nut Island Effect
#1. Do the people at Nut Island represent a cohesive team?

The team from Nut Island had the potential to accomplish great things. They were a very cohesive team. Cohesiveness relates to the degree to which members are attracted to and motivated to remain part of that team. A cohesive group member values his or her membership and strives to maintain a positive relationship within the group. Every person working at Nut Island wanted to be there and would not let anything get in the way of their team.
When looking at only the cohesiveness of a team, Nut Island would be a good example. They worked together and enjoyed what they did at the sewage plant. Employees worked overtime without being paid for it and without complaining. They used everyone?s skills to take care of the plant and the plant equipment.
#2. Is Nut Island an example of a successful team? Explain (a) why or why not and (b) the role team cohesiveness played.

(a.) The components of a good team should be considered. First, a high-performance team must have strong core values to guide attitudes and behavior consistent with the team?s purpose. The members should know why the team is created and why he or she is on the team. Secondly, a team should have specific performance objectives. Members should know exactly what they are trying to accomplish. This also includes having standards for measuring results and ways of obtaining performance feedback. A good team will make members realize the importance of collective efforts. Third, a high-performance team has the right mix of skills. These involve technical, interpersonal, decision-making, and problem-solving skills. No one needs to know how to do it all, but each member should be able to contribute to the group. Lastly, these teams must possess creativity. Their creativity will help the organization face problems in the future and help in developing new ideas for products and services.
The team at Nut Island should be compared to the definition of a high-performance team. Nut Island team members had different skills. They were able to get along and work together. They really enjoyed working there even when they were up to their necks in sludge. Members worked together to keep equipment working. They found ways to keep the plant running after senior management stopped paying attention.
Nut Island employees formed a highly creative team also. When they ran out of chemicals they devised a plan to get more. Instead of calling management they asked nearby residents to complain about the odor coming from the plant. They would have a new supply of chemicals delivered to them a few days later.
With the next two high-performance team components, Nut Island begins to fall short. The team lacked a purpose and the values to make them stick to that purpose. The purpose of the team was to clean up the harbor. They were supposed to treat the sewage to make it safe to be dumped out in the harbor or to be turned into fertilizer. At some point the team?s purpose changed. They grew concerned with avoiding management and continuing on their own. They still tried to do their job at the sewage plant, but their knew purpose got in the way. Because they avoided management and management avoided them, Nut Island did not have the supplies they needed and their equipment was failing. They continued with their jobs, but it was done incorrectly at times. Equipment gave the wrong readiness and they dumped in the wrong amount of chemicals to compensate. The sewage they were dumping out was destroying the harbor. Fertilizer companies rejected a lot of the sewage.
When looking at the job they performed, no, Nut Island was not successful. They had badly maintained equipment and no supplies. The team did not listen to test results or complaints about the plant. They also took it upon themselves to make repairs and deciding what amount of chemicals should be used. They worked together well though. They accomplished what they set out to do. Each member wanted to be part of that team, and they listened to each other and kept the team together. All of their efforts to stay cohesive did not matter because they were not doing the job they set out to do.

(b.) The employees at Nut Island formed a very cohesive group, but their cohesiveness contributed to their problems. They worked together and were able to all conform to a set of norms. This group though was following the wrong set of norms. A highly cohesive group following a negative set of performance norms has the least amount of success. They are working together but for the wrong cause.
The Nut Island team began following the wrong set of norms when they request for funds for maintenance on equipment was denied. They were told to ?get rid of the dandelions.? He was more worried about the outside appearance than the inner workings of the plant and what the employees had to deal with. The team began to feel isolated and was not able to trust others outside of their group. Later on the plant?s four engines shut down. Management had refused to give them money to maintain the engines, and they were waiting for something to go wrong. This incident united the team even more around a common adversary ? management. Their ?enemy? should not have been people within their own company. The team lost sight of the goal they were supposed to perform and focused on doing everything themselves.

#3. Describe ?groupthink? and use it to explain what happened at Nut Island.

Groupthink is the tendency of cohesive group members to lose their critical capabilities. Dr. Irving Janis identified this idea of groupthink. He believed members of very cohesive groups become unwilling to criticize because of the demand for conformity. Each person wants to be on that team and strives to keep everyone together and maintain good relationships. There is an overemphasis on agreement when groupthink takes place. When members become more concerned with agreement than completing their objectives, decision-making is affected. No one wants to be the one member that disagrees with the group. If one or two members agree with an idea, the rest of the group will also agree. Members begin to believe the group cannot make mistakes.

#4. Explain how you could have changed norms and/or cohesiveness to avoid the problems experienced by Nut Island.

As a manager, I would be responsible for making sure the group is conforming to the right norms. I would make sure the team was working with the right set of ethics. Each person should follow the company?s code of ethics, and I would let them know ethical decisions are expected of everyone. Members of Nut Island?s team would reconsider adding chemicals before they knew what exactly it would do to the sewage and the harbor. They also need organizational and personal pride norms. Members should take pride in the team and the organization and know that their manager is also proud of the organization. Employees of Nut Island, while very proud of their team?s efforts, were not proud of the whole organization. They did not want to speak to them or see them, and they knew management?s treatment of them was wrong. Team members should work hard and expect to achieve success. Team members worked very hard, but they should not have been doing the tasks they were. They were supposed to treat the sewage and make it safe for release into the harbor. Instead, employees spent time fixing equipment and figuring out ways to avoid management. Nut Island?s team did have a set of support and helpfulness norms. Each member was willing to help another one out. They were so helpful that no one stopped and realized they were not successful at their jobs. Finally, a manager should present improvement and change norms for the employees. Teams should always strive to do better.
To better enforce these positive norms to group members, the manager should be a positive role model. He or she should follow the same set of norms. Group members should agree on the norms also. They know what the manager expects of them and they will perform. The group should have support and training available. Desired behaviors should be rewarded, and feedback should be given to the group. Managers and team members should always try to improve the group and the group?s performance.
After the right norms are set in place, a manager must try to stop groupthink from setting in. A manager has several ways to avoid groupthink. Each member should be a critical evaluator. People need to take a step back from the team and check to see if they are on the right track to accomplishing their goals and objectives. After they are certain that the team has set the right goals, the team should have specific steps to reaching their goal. It would also be a good idea to have group members discuss issues with outsiders. Someone outside the group could have a totally different perspective. Outside experts or consultants can view the group and react to group processes.
The group leader also plays an important role. This person should not be partial to one view. He or she should listen to all suggestions before deciding on a course of action. An open mind is necessary to steer the team away from groupthink. Someone in the group can play ?devil?s advocate? to help the group look at every situation in a different way. The team will be more successful if they take the time to determine every possible scenario and how to deal with it.
If a group does become too close, a manager can attempt to decrease the cohesiveness. The group needs to be shaken up, and changes need to be made. A manager can start a disagreement between members. A highly cohesive group will always avoid a conflict. Some sort of different between group members might allow them to realize they are not doing the right thing. A manager has the option of replacing group members and changing the size of a group. A new person with new ideas might stop groupthink from happening. A manager should make sure the members are focused on the right adversary. At Nut Island group members felt isolated from management. They were focused on the wrong adversary. This completely changed their goals and objectives, and they no longer worried about keeping the harbor clean. Finally, the team had to be disbanded when sewage treatment was moved to another plant.

Nut Island Effect 8.2 of 10 on the basis of 3480 Review.