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Messy Housemates

Submitted by Group 4
Jensen Addie, Mahelona Katelyn, Perkins Dani, Voorhees Mattison
Salt Lake Community College
COMM 1010
March 14, 2016

Table of Contents
Executive Summary (pg. 2)
Project Description (pg. 3)
Methods (pg. 4)
Part I (pg. 4)
Part II (pg. 4-5)
Part III (pg. 5)
Part IV (pg. 5-6)
Part V (pg. 6-7)
Part VI (pg. 7-9)
Conclusion (pg. 10)
Works Cited (pg. 11)
Appendix 1: Team Contract (pg. 12)
Appendix 2: Comparison Chart (pg. 13)
Appendix 3: Participation Points (pg. 14)

Executive Summary
This report summarizes Groups 4s problem solving process for
our Group Communication Project. This project required our group to
use the reflective thinking sequence to solve a group problem. Our
problem was to recommend a strategy to help a couple of student
athlete with messy roommates communicate better to avoid tension in
the home.
Our group applied the reflective thinking sequence to find a
workable solution. We agreed on our problem question, researched the
problem, set up criteria for evaluation the effectiveness of potential
solutions, brainstormed possible solutions, analyzed these solutions,
recommended a specific solution, and set up a plan for implementing
the solution.
Our recommendation is that the student athletes should organize
a house bonding activity so all of the roommates can become
comfortable with each other and on speaking terms. At the activity the
roommates will come together and form a list of things they can do to
make living together easier. They will also make a list of consequences
if they do not live by the things decided.

Project Description
Our student athletes names are Tracy and Erin. They live with
three other roommates, Kailee, Lia, and Hannah, who are very messy.
None of them get along because they cannot agree on anything and
their apartment is always dirty and does not feel like home. Tracy and
Erin want to confront their roommates about being messy but at the
same time do not want to worsen the relationship between all of them.
We are a task group composed of 4 students in COMM 1010. Our
assignment was to apply reflective thinking to recommend an
approach Tracy and Erin could use to help them confront their
roommates in a manor in which their relationships with not grow
worse. Our group met five times and discussed the steps of the
reflective sequence. We used information from the text in all of our
discussions. We encouraged critical thinking and participation from
each member in our Group.
Its important to find a solution to this problem. If we can find a
solution to help Tracy and Erin they may be able to help other friends
who are facing the same problems with their roommates.
Of all the possible solutions we proposed, our recommended
solution stands the best chance of meeting Tracy and Erin goals to
improve their relationship with their roommates.

As a group, the reflective-thinking sequence was beneficial in helping
us come to a conclusion as it lead us through a seven step process.
The reflective-thinking sequence is the best-known problem-solving
approach that provides the best chance of developing high-quality
solutions to problems. (Adler,R. and Elmhorst, J. page 236.) This
process helped each group member get involved and contribute to the
final product. The following will go into depth about each step taken
and decisions made within the group.
Part I: Problem Question
An open ended question is best to state for our problem (Comm 1010
Canvas page, 2016) because that will leave more room for
brainstorming many different solutions instead of having one specific
solution already in mind.
Our groups problem question was: "What can roommates living
together do to decrease the issue of having messy housemates and
increasing the cleanliness in a home?
Part II: Analysis of the Problem
Throughout our group meetings we considered our problem and all of
its characteristics, stakeholders, history, and policies that might affect
our solution.
A. Characteristics
1. Relational problems: The first month of the roommates all living
together seemed to go smooth because everybody did their fair share
of chores and kept the house clean. This would have been before
contention started to build up. But with the problem existing now,
Tracy and Eric who actually do clean up are starting to become bitter
towards to three who are messy. Even though they have been dropping
hints here and there, Kailee, Lia, and Hannah are not catching on which
is making the attitudes worse towards them. In order to improve their
relationships as roommates, they must find a solution to the problem
that will work for everybody.
2. Mental problems: If the house is a mess, it may not feel as much like
a home as they would like it to. The two girls, who always clean up and
are upset about the problem, will be affected mentally by the mess of
the house. For those two, it may become harder for to focus on
homework or other things to be done if they always have to clean up

after the other three. From the perspective of the three who are
causing the messy house, they may start to think that they can rely on
the other two to clean up their messes. Therefore, if they do not find a
way to fix this problem, it will not be mentally healthy for any of the
3. Health problems: The problem description told us that the living
room was starting to get dusty and the dishes were beginning to pile
up. Dust in the living room is not healty for the people living there, and
if the dishes sit for long enough they can become moldy, which is also
very bad for the people who live there.
B. Stakeholders
1. Roommates themselves: The roommates themselves are affected
because they are the ones who must deal with the mess on a daily
2. Visitors: Anybody who comes to visit their house will be affected
because they will be encountering the mess of the house.
3. Future families: For the three that create the mess in the house, if
they do not get confronted in a good way that causes them to change
their behavior, then their messy habits could carry on throughout the
rest of their ivies affecting anybody else that they will live with.
C. History or Background
1. Since the girls have not been living together for very long, there is
not much history involved in the problem. They only have the first
month of living together to compare anything to. It is a possibility that
the two girls who tend to keep the house clean have grown up in a
more clean household than the other three girls, but we cannot make
that assumptions because our problem does not state that clearly.
D. Policies
1. There are no set policies or rules that are not being followed, but the
5 girls agreed in the beginning to do their fair share of cleaning up,
which is no longer happening from Kailee, Lia and Hannah. This is
upsetting to Tracy and Erin.
E. Resources
1. Parents:. Our parents can help us find a solution because they are
more experienced in life and will have more ideas of how to handle
situations like this one.
2. Communications materials: Any DVD or chapter from the book can
help us find effective ways to communicate and find a solution.
Part III: Criteria
Its also important to set criteria for evaluating our solutions before we
ever start thinking of solutions. That way, we wont be tempted to set
criteria that favor our favorite solution. We will use the criteria in Step
V when we evaluate our proposed solutions.
We began by describing our general goal; then we suggested specific

criteria. Several of these criteria are based on information weve

learned in this class.
A. General Goal
1. Our general goal is to end up with a solution that will help everyone
do their part to clean the apartment.
B. Specific Criteria (in order of importance)
The best solution will:
equal out the jobs that are being done so everyone is helping.
Preserve the dignity of each individual involved.
3. Be accurate and honest with each other.
4. Be descriptive and not evaluative (Adler & Elmhorst, p. 128)
5. Not destroy the relationship with roommates.
6. Not destroy the relationship with friends.
7. Try to serve the mutual interest of all parties involved.
8. Incorporate communication concepts weve learned in this class.
Part IV: Brainstorm possible solutions
Our groups next step was to brainstorm possible solutions. The
brainstorming method required us to contribute as many ideas as we
could think of, even if they were crazy or impossible to achieve. We did
not evaluate any ideas during brainstorming, because that would
discourage creativity. We just wrote down everything we could think of.
This part of the process was a lot of fun. We got some good group
synergy going. Weve listed below most of the ideas we came up with.
Many of our suggestions overlapped each other.
A. Make time to talk with all the roommates altogether.
B. Write a private letter to each person involved (in case there is
discomfort with face-to-face conversation and confrontation).
C. Design a chore chart and have everyone put his or her input on
what needs to be done individually and that can be rotated. This would
allow each involved individual to express and evaluate their needs,
wants, and unique positions evaluated.
D. Just pick up your mess after you make it.
E. Meet with each roommate individually, and then all together
expressing things that were discussed individually.
F. Meet with each person individually only.
1. Geared to maintain privacy and accuracy, and to avoid seeming
2. Attempt to converse with each person before they can confer with
the others and skew the accuracy of your motives and approach.
G. Talk to the one that seems to be the biggest problem.
H. Get ideas from others such as friends and family and gather
together after bringing together ideas.
I. Talk to each roommate, using I messages as opposed to You

messages (Adler & Elmhorst, p. 128). Also monitor non-verbal

messages closely (Adler & Elmhorst, p. 104).
Part V: Solution Analysis
In this step, we were able to decide on our solutions for this problem
based on the criteria given in Step III.
We had to narrow our solution options to only five and were able to do
that by eliminating the solutions that were good enough to make a
A. Narrowed list of solutions
Create a chore chart that changes every week so the jobs are always
rotating and things are getting cleaned up.
Just take care of the mess when you see it so there is no contention
that is caused.
Ask politely for the person to clean up their mess that has been sitting
Let the mess build up for a little bit so they realize they have to clean it
up, and if not just do it yourself.
Have a planned discussion between all roommates, not pointing
anyone out specifically about cleaning up messes and taking are of
your own things.
B. Chart
We were able to draw a graph (shown in Appendix 2) so that w could
see each solution that matched each criterion. We also listed each of
the solutions across the top, and the criterion on the left side. We
ranked each solution from a scale 0 which doesnt meet the criterion to
5 exceeds the criterion. After that we were able to grab all the totals of
which solution best fit the criteria.
C. Final Solution
Solution 1 had the highest score, but we also took the other solutions
into consideration as well. The reflective thinking sequence shown us
that we should use intuition and common sense to make things work
out the way we want them to.
We chose Solution 1: With a chart then things can be done quicker and
it would change every week so that the same person isnt doing the
same thing every week. Using communication skills, Tracy and Erin can
explain to the other roommates about the proposal of a chart and also
explain that everyones job would change every week so that they
understand that they arent all doing it all the time.

This solution excels over others because:

It will minimize conflict with people not doing something because it is
written down for them to do it.
Also minimize the I didnt know I had to do that because it is written
down and it changes every week
This would also give everyone the opportunity to contribute to the
messy instead of only one person cleaning it up
this solution is the best at upholding the dignity of the individual by
doing everything possible before informing a third part
D. Positive Negative Consequences
We needed to consider the positives and negatives in our proposed
solution. As with any solution, our approach towards the solution could
have a negative consequence. We figured that it could be possible for
Kailee, Lia, and Hannah would go after Tracy and Erin and retaliate or
not solve the problem.
If these negative consequences occur, we would recommend that Tracy
and Erin try and talk to the other girls and if they still dont fix the
problem, then they can try and figure out a plan where they would all
be on the same page with things.
Part VI: Implementation of Solution
After choosing our solution, we set up a plan for implementing it.
Planning Their messages beforehand, Tracy and Erin chose to talk to
their other roommates about being messy and not cleaning up after
themselves. They chose that the best way to solve this problem is by
making a chore chart so that everyone has a responsibility and not just
one person or two cleaning up after everyone. they felt that this was
the best way to approach the situation because then no one has to
point fingers since they have it assigned to each other for that week.
1. Tracy and Erin decide to contrast with the roommates individual so
that they all get the same conversation from them. They decided to
stick to the issue and use I think approaches to the statements with
each individual. They also plan to propose the solution to the problem
and have back up solutions if that doesnt work out.
2. Since they all are going to school together they decided that they
should talk to them individually when they get them each by
themselves. They will try to make things not so angry but passive
aggressive so that they can understand how they feel about this
problem and that they are willing to work things out with the

3. At the meetings with each one of them, Tracy and Erin will first
explain that they would like them to clean their mess after themselves
so that they can live in a happier healthier home. They would also
explain that it isnt something that they want to be offended by
because they can also be the victims in this situation sometimes too.
4. Since Tracy and Erin dont know how the girls would respond to their
proposal, they have come up with positive and negative responses for
each person.
B. Meeting with Kailee:
1. Positive: Its just sometimes she gets tired and just doesnt want to
clean up her mess right away.
2. Tracy and Erins response: They explain to her that they understand
where she is coming from but she has to understand that she lives
understand the same roof as 4 other individuals as well.
3. Negative: why does it matter, you guys arent the one making the
mess so let me be
4. Tracy and Erins response: They reinforce that she isnt the one
individual living under that roof, and that she has to be mindful of the
other girls thoughts and health with living a messy roommate.
C. Meeting with Lia
1. Positive: She explained how coming home from practice late and
going to school early gives her hardly any time to be at home enough
to clean up after herself.
2. Tracy and Erins response: Even though you do come home late,
when you do make a little mess, right after you do that clean it up so
that you dont have to worry about it after or later on in the week.
3. you guys dont understand that it is hard coming home late and
leaving early giving you no time to clean
4: Tracy and Erins response: Explained to her that when she does have
her free time to clean up her mess so that others that live in the house
doesnt have to worry about cleaning it up.
D. Meeting with Hannah
1. Positive: Since the other individuals dont do it I just chose not to do
it until someone told or asked me to do it.
2: Tracy and Erins response: They explained to her that if someone
was to do something bad like drugs or drink alcohol would she follow
and do it as well? They had to explain to her that she had to be her
own voice and stand up for herself instead of just following what
someone else does.
3. Negative: Your not my mom, so I can do what I want and when I

4. Tracy and Erins response: They told her that she was right, that they
arent her parents but they are her roommates and if she wanted to
live with them then she has to abide by the rules that is being laid
down for her by cleaning up after herself or she can gladly move out.

We a group of four communication 1010 students decided to help
Tracy and Erin in their situation with messy roommates. We used
critical thinking and effective communication to get this solution

Our recommendation was that Tracy and Erin make a chore chart
so that everyone will have something to do in the house and not just
one individual working on all the chores. By doing this solution, it
would increase the chances of them not having problems with messy
roommates since theyll all be contributing and decrease the amount of

Works Cited


Appendix 1: Group 4 Team Contract

Class: COMM 1010

Semester: Spring 2016
Date Created: March 14, 2016
Team Members/ Contact Information: Jensen, Addie-(803)-524-3208;
Mahelona, Katelyn-(808)-542-4052; Perkins, Dani-(385)-223-9178;
Voorhees, Mattison-(801)-664-6148
Team Norms
Relational Norms: Arrive on time for meetings, Embrace everyones
ideas, and Honor your commitments
Task Norms: If we have to miss a meeting we will make sure the group
knows in advance, We will work as a team and share the responsibility
of all assignments, and We will commit to communicate effectively
even if face to face is not an option
Team Member Roles
Relational roles: Encourage members to speak, letting the know their
contribution will be valued- Mattison Voorhees; Will help resolve
interpersonal conflicts between members- Katelyn Mahelona; Will listen
without evaluation to personal concerns of members- Dani Perkins; and
Will use humor and other devices to release members anxiety and
frustration- Addie Jensen
Task roles: We will rotate who conducts each meeting giving each
person a chance to be a leader of the group

Appendix 2: Solution Analysis Chart









Appendix 3: Group 4 Member Participation Points

At our last meeting, we assigned participation points to each group
member. Here we show our list and reasons for points.
We had a total of 40 points participation points to distribute throughout
our team, the following is our group decision on how we would give
Jensen, Addie- 11 points: Addie a was a very good leader for our team.
She participated regularly, led discussion, always came prepared with
her part for the meetings and had a positive can do attitude.
Perkins, Dani- 10 points: Dani was always prepared for the meeting.
She participated and had lots of suggestions. She thought critically and
really helped form a lot of group ideas. She had a wonderful attitude.
Mahelona, Katelyn- 10 points: Student was always on time. She came
prepared and contributed a lot in the discussions. When it was her turn
to conduct meetings she did a magnificent job.
Voorhees, Mattison- 9 points: She led the group in discussion. She had
insightful ideas and always embraced the groups. Though she was late
for one meeting, she had a good attitude about the work she was given
to do before the next meeting.