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Group Dynamics & Interpersonal Conflict, Case Study Example

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Case Study

The achievement that individuals attain in their personal and professional pursuits is dependent upon how sufficient they are at interconnecting with different individuals (Borchers, 1999). Fundamentally, the aptitude to logically focus or convey opinions, concepts, and sentiments is extremely imperative to every association (Gurtman, 2009).  In group dynamics, interpersonal conflicts must be managed through the use of strong collaborative skills that incorporate the needs of all those involved.  The interpersonal group conflict presented in the TerraCog scenario requires a resolution in order for the new Aerial GPS product to be successfully launched into the market (Beer & Yong, 2008).  This discussion will present a situational analysis of the problems presented; the purpose, products, participants, and issues for the meeting, the processes involved in solving the problems, and conclude with a summation of the findings.

Situation Analysis

Interpersonal communication is necessitated by three basic social needs: inclusion, control, and affection (Borchers, 1999).  According to Whorfian theory, words and thoughts are coded in language and this linguistic pattern dictates more than just the language we speak (Skotko, 1997).  This pattern also dictates our sense of reason, how we view nature, our relationship views, and every other aspect of our conscious and unconscious mind (Skotko, 1997).  This phenomenon is known as linguistic determinism and is based on Whorf’s theory that every language utilizes a unique set of semantic representations (Skotko, 1997).

In professional circumstances, interpersonal communication often requires the management of group dynamics, which makes these interactions a facet of the control element.  These semantics determine aspects of our conceptual representations which is why how linguistics influences habitual thought (Skotko, 1997).  In the first meeting, the initial dysfunction was created because it was never unequivocally established what features, processing, and power requirements were necessary for the Aerial product design and all of these elements are crucial to the future problem of pricing (Beer & Yong, 2008).  Additionally, the meeting between Pryor, Roth, and Fiero should have also included Timmons, Wu, and Gorga so that the budget and product features could have been solidly established when the decision to proceed with the Aerial product was made.

Purpose/Products, Participants, and Possible Issues

As the facilitator of the “Project Aerial” launch meeting, Emma Richardson will have to maintain control of the interactions between the other colleagues.  The individuals that should be included in this meeting are: Richard Fiero, the President,;Allen Roth, theDirector of Design & Development; Ed Pryor, the VP of Sales; Tony Barren, the Production Director; Becky Timmons, the CFO;Harold Whistler, the VP of Design & Development;Cory Wu,representing software and firmware;and Alice Gorgarepresenting hardware (Beer & Yong, 2008).  The purpose of having all attend the meeting is to ensure that everyone is on the same page at the end of the meeting regarding all that needs to be done and why so that the future course will enable the successful launch of the product (Wilkinson, 2012).  The first objective would be to establish a firm budget for the project and to do this, Pryor, Roth, Whistler, Wu, and Gorga would have to firmly determine what the necessary product features are so the components and costs could be established to help determine the feasibility of the entire project (Beer & Yong, 2008).

Once it is understood what the consumer wants and expects from the Aerial product, the features and components can be determined so the costs can be estimated (Beer & Yong, 2008).  Extraordinary communication is essentially in no wise an informal discussion of variances and facts, but it is primarily the objectives of which an individual distributes understanding, concepts, philosophies, and cognitive approaches regarding solutions to problems (Wilkinson, 2012). On the other hand interpersonal communication is identified as an element that describes the way persons associate with different individuals publicly and domestically (Gurtman, 2009). Individuals who possess great interpersonal abilities normally are proficient conversationalists and have high self-esteem, so they encounter and formulate connections with different peoplewithout difficulty because they are able to pay attention, disentangle communication difficulties positively, and appreciate new ideas (Wilkinson, 2012).

In this group dynamic, an additional issue is the lack of collaborative spirit, where each department is placing blame or responsibility for the success of the new product and no one is taking ownership of their role in creation of the Aerial product design (Beer & Yong, 2008).  Considering this element of the group dynamic, the next goal of the meeting should be to establish a sense of ownership within each department for their collective role in making sure the product is successful (Wilkinson, 2012). This goal-setting necessitates preparation that includes daily interactions between the personnel in each department to ensure they are collaborating in the creation of the design elements for the Aerial GPS (Beer & Yong, 2008; Egan, 2007).The facilitator must create a greater conscious effort for collaboration amongst the various team members to format sufficient approaches provided through the integration of that their various insights, knowledge, and techniques (Bharwaney, Bar-On, & MacKinlay, 2011).  Verbal communication can affect interpersonal relationships, so respectful blameless talk is essential and the speaker must make sure the message is completely understood by the other person before proceeding with further conversation (Brown & Starkey, 1994).

Process

As the facilitator, Emma Richardson must energize her colleagues from the beginning of the meeting and through to the duration so they will take this energy to their various departments and transfer it to their staff (Wilkinson, 2012).  This requires a high degree of emotional intelligence, which is the skill to comprehend and communicate well with different people and the aptitude to successfully interconnect with individuals (Bharwaney, Bar-On, & MacKinlay, 2011).  The perception of emotional intelligence is particularly significant in the business environment because of the diversity of the people within each department (Bharwaney, Bar-On, & MacKinlay, 2011).  To motivate her colleagues, Emma Richardson needs to first empathize with the problems that are brought to her attentionthrough the information gathered during the previous meetings (Beer & Yong, 2008).

The use of interpersonal communication skill sis essential to make sure all the various teams are completely aligned in their intentions regarding the production of the Aerial GPS product.  During communication, relationship messages are formed, which provide context clues that allow the transmitted messages to be decoded during communication based on tones and inflections (Borchers, 1999).  The meaning of words can also be based solely on the identity of the sender, which is developed through interpersonal communication (Borchers, 1999).  The interpersonal communication we share with family, friends, colleagues, and others we associate with helps us develop our identity, and this identity plays a part in determining what slang we use and the meanings associated with its usage (Borchers, 1999).

Conclusion

In the situation presented in the TerraCog case study, the major problem is based on the communication failures experienced throughout the former meetings.  The ability to convey ideas and concepts is extremely imperative to every business (Gurtman, 2009).  In the TerraCog group scenario, interpersonal conflicts must be resolved through the use of strong collaborative skills that incorporate the needs of all those involvedin order for the new Aerial GPS product to be successfully launched  (Beer & Yong, 2008).

References

Beer, M., & Yong, S. (2008). TerraCog Global Positioning Systems: Conflict and Communication on Project Aerial. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Publishing.

Borchers, T. (1999). Interpersonal communication. Moorhead State University: Allyn & Bacon. Retrieved from http://www.abacon.com/commstudies/interpersonal/interpersonal.html

Brown, A. D., & Starkey, K. (1994). The effect of organizational culture on communication and information. Journal of Management Studies, 31(6), 807- 828.

Egan, J. (2007). Marketing communications. London: Thomson.

Gurtman, M. B. (2009). Exploring personality with the interpersonal circumplex. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 3, 1-19. doi:10.1111/j.1751-9004.2009.00172.x

Skotko, B. (1997). Something to talk about: Relationship between language and thought from a cross-cultural perspective. Retrieved from Duke University: http://www.duke.edu/~pk10/language/ca.htm

Wilkinson, M. (2012). The secrets of facilitation: The SMART guide to getting results with groups. San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass/A Wiley Imprint.

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