Background information Forbidden Island is a visually stunning ‘cooperative’ board game. Instead of winning by competing with other players like most games, everyone must work together to win the game. At the beginning Of the term, the class was divided into several small-sized self-management teams that would be responsible to learn how to play Forbidden Island together under minimal supervision. Because this is the team that we will work together on different projects throughout the term, we have introduced ourselves to each other, UT we had very limited knowledge about each other.
This would be considered as our first stage of Dustman’s stages of group development: forming. There are six members in my team. I will call them by J, B, O, P and K. Based on first impression and very little knowledge about their background, before the game, I had the following perception about the team members: J and B both are Asians, but growing up in Canada. I thought they were rational and assertive because they are from JDK/MBA program, and law students are generally considered to have higher level of conscientiousness and emotional debility.
P seemed very easy-going and agreeable, because she never showed any objection during our previous conversations. O was comparably quiet during our first meeting, so I made the assumption that she was more introverted. K recently came from India, according to my past experience with my Indian coworkers, who were generally strong-willed, hardworking and assertive; therefore, I presumed that K would have the same characteristics. Throughout our interactions during the game, would gradually realize that have made some typical perception errors, which will be discussed later.
None of our team members have played Forbidden Island game before, so our knowledge about the game is close to zero. At the beginning of the Forbidden Island game session, teams were assigned to breakout rooms, which were small and closed rooms, giving us a prison feeling. Analysis of team behavior For the three-hour session, we only played two rounds. Overall, the game experience with the team was quite pleasant. At the beginning, we spent a few min to set a goal and discuss the strategy.
We agreed without raising any objection that our goal is to win the game cooperatively, because we hared the common belief that self-managed teams that demonstrate high group cohesiveness and collective efficacy are more likely to successfully achieve goals and accomplishments. With a common end goal in sight, we strategically started with ensuring we understand the rules. J had watched some Youth videos about how to play the game; thus she had a better understanding about rules. J took the leadership role to explain the rules.
J made us grasped the main idea of the rules; however, since majority of us grew up in different countries with different culture background, we were instantly confused with some details of the rules. After struggling with the details for about ten minutes, proposed to play a test round at novice level first. Everyone admitted that we would understand the rule more easily with hands-on experience. J continued her leadership role to direct the play at the beginning; the individual players permitted this guidance.
However, as everyone feels more comfortable with the game and individual role, J easily surrendered the leader role in favor of the group dynamic of mutually shared cooperation among all. Meanwhile, team members’ participation level was increased. With a better understanding of the each role’s strengths and weakness, every player attempted to utilize their strengths and avoid their weakness in their moves. For each round, the player of the round would ask for an open discussion about the move he/she should take, and then the player would explain his/her decision on moves and ask the rest of the team for agreement.
For me, such effective communication ensured that every move we made was towards the same direction. It was worth mentioning that B firstly communicated in this manner when professor Karamazov presented in the room, and then everyone else followed his method automatically. As far as am concerned, although Professor Karamazov did not make any verbal comments during her presence, we all felt her power as a professor as she put her hand at the back, this gesture, to me, indicated her Status of leadership, and we therefore inclined to impress her as students; as a result, we started to communicate in a more formal way.
Moreover, it was intriguing to see how well the team members played when someone needed retention. The conversation took on an air of empathy for someone who could be taken off the board and everyone spoke on how best to save said player. It was with a shout of jubilation when everyone showed each individual player how to move toward the helicopter pad in order to fly off the island. The game was won and smiles and pats on the back were shared. The test round went over very smoothly. I did not sense much of competition among us, rather we were very cooperative and agreeable.
Notwithstanding, we enjoyed more healthy competition in the second round and we played the amen more strategically. We increased the difficulty level to Elite for the second round. We started with examining our roles’ strengths and the overall situation before making any moves. Although we followed the same effective communication method we used in the first round; I sensed more healthy competition during the discussion. Instead of being agreeable, each of the players competed for their ideas during the discussion.
Surprisingly, O and J were the most actively participated in the debate for the best move, since I thought they were introverted and agreeable before. Due to some long abate during the game, the second round took about an hour to finish. If we examine our team success through effectiveness approach, we achieved the goal by winning the game at the end; on the other hand, if we examine the team’s success through effectiveness, then suppose we failed to achieve the goal; since the game was designed for thirty minutes for each round, we spent the double time to win.
Time as a resource was not utilized. Our team does not really have a leader, we all equally share the responsibly in coordination; however, no one managed to see the overall picture at the end, n this case is we were running overtime. Takeaways Forbidden Island is a well-designed cooperative game that is exciting and tense even when played at the novice level. While the game is simple there is a strategic aspect that keeps it interesting. From this game session, I was able to put some organizational behavior theories into application.
I saw our team experienced Dustman’s stages of group development. We started from forming stage, where the individual’s behavior is driven by a desire to be accepted by the others, and avoid controversy or conflict. Then we next enter terming stage, in which different ideas compete for consideration. Then we came up with one goal and came to a mutual plan for the team at morning stage. Next, we reach the performing stage, where were capable of functioning as a unit as we find ways to get the job done smoothly and effectively without inappropriate conflict or need for external supervision.
Overall, I would evaluate the functionality of our team as above average. Even though, clearly there some improvement opportunities lies in increasing team performance efficiency; our team had a high level of collaboration and some lately competition to enlighten some innovative ideas. Team members personalities played an important role in how we enhanced our collaboration. At the beginning I made some typical perception errors, such as stereotypes, selective perception, self-fulfilling prophecy etc.
J from JDK/MBA program turned out to be full of emotion, and K from India, instead of have strong opinions, is the most agreeable person on the team, and O is not introverted at all, according to Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, she would be .NET P type, who is innovative and entrepreneurial. Some important implications for my future repressions career obtained from this game play were, first of all, the real-life manifestations of five different stages of team development.
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