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Libermans Analysis of the John Ebersole Interview: Group Project Process

DEPM 604 July 2013

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Libermans Analysis of the John Ebersole Interview: Group Project Process The purpose of this paper is to analyze how the Ebersole Group members worked as leaders and followers. During my tenure of seeking a Masters in Distance Education, group projects have been more negative than positive; therefore, I entered this assignment with much trepidation. The group began with five members and prior to the interview date three active participants remained. Leaders in Our Group Each member of the group was a leader at different times during the project. Burge (2007) discusses traits needed to be a good leader, anticipating the future, planning and preparation. Taylor and Follet are known for their leadership theories (Phelps, Parayitam, and Olson, 2007). Phelps, Parayitam, and Olson (2007) discuss how Taylor is concerned with achieving efficiency and Follet is interested in making sure everyone was participating in the decision making process. These theories were instituted when choosing the interviewee, setting a time schedule, dividing paper development responsibilities, and setting synchronous meeting times. Each of the group members had exemplary leadership skills and work ethics that allowed the group to work in a comfortable, non-threatening environment. Our group had an excellent sense of cohesion. For this group, cohesion is dened as time spent in face-to-face communication and computer mediated communication which contributes to group performance in mixed-mode (Yuhyung and Kyojik, 2011). Problem Analysis/Decision Making/Intervention Problem analysis and intervention
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When the initially approved subject was not able meet our assignment requirements, there was a sense of urgency in the group. A new target was identified and agreed upon by the members. However, the members failed to present rationale for their choice. This created a problem with members failing to follow the requirements set forth by the instructor. This was quickly rectified with an email to the members asking them to state their rationale for choosing the next subject so that the interview was than approved by the instructor. The email sent was a form of directive leadership (Westley & Mintzberg, 1989). The design of the study group conference in WebTycho is poor so the group agreed to use email as the means of communication. Supportive communication is sincere and straight forward, and leads the group out of urgency, thus allowing the group to move forward to meet their goal (Allen, 2013). Decision making Decision making for this group project was equal among the members and was well received because the tenor of the group was imbued respectful and trust (Allen, 2013). The group members expressed their preferences in a precise manner which did not create a defensive state (Allen, 2013). Examples of decision making within the Ebersole Group are: Member A: a librarian and assumed the citation role Member B: assumed all conversations and questions with the instructor Member C: managed online meetings, set the schedule and assumed paper compilation These decisions evolved organically from the group, based on each members individual interests and strengths.

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Roles of the Group Members Each of the three members are described as a prototypical leader, defined as a person who shows self-definition and care for the teams interest with each securing a strong positive position within the group (Geissner, Knippenberg, Ginkel and Sleebos,2013). Each member held the others accountable for their actions thereby creating motivation and self worth to the group (Geissner et al, 2013). Examples are as follows: Member A: responsible for planning and organizing the interview, managing citations Member B: managed and responsible for effecting a one-voice paper, served as primary communicator with the professor Member C: planned online meetings with agendas, organized group members paper contributions to the paper into a single cohesive document When reviewing Mintzbergs management roles, the group members revealed characteristics in many of the categories (Mintzberg, 1975):

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Characteristic Figurehead A,B,C


Example A: securing interview B: managing interview C: organizing online conference A: control of APA citation B: managing the interview C: organizing online conference A: while reviewing the paper B: with the instructor C: time management A: when the interview was conducted A: information on interviewee acceptance B: information reported by the professor C: email communications A: securing the interviewee A: setting times for interview to be conducted C: setting online meeting conferences





Monitor Disseminator


Spokesman Negotiator

A A, and C

Relationships of the Group Members The three members of the Ebersole group had an outstanding relationship. The members of the group maintained problem-solving skills and acted with empathy and equality (Allen, 2013). Example: Member A: offered potential modifications in the groups paper in a non-threatening, non-judgmental manner which was well accepted by the group
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Member B: approached changes with, How can we?,evoked genuine sincerity and was clear and direct with all options presented

Member C: organized online video conferencing, developed agendas, disseminated meeting information

All members showed empathy and provisionalism (Allen, 2013). Each member was constantly open to the others views and willing to help where and whenever necessary. Members A and B demonstrated great empathy relating to Member C. Member C had surgery in the middle of the group project. Effective Communication Each of the group members demonstrated the proper online etiquette, resulting in all members being engaged and vital participants. Kellerman (2009) speaks to the participants of the group being engaged. This author uses the analogy of money as a reward, whereas in this situation, the group had a strong desire to excel on this assignment; therefore, a high-level participation was assured. Kellerman (2009) describes bystanders as in-active participants. It appears that two members of the original group are bystanders. Early on, one member was removed from the group by the professor. Prior to being advised of the status of the second member in question, I reached out to her via a private email because she was not responding to the postings and she and I were enrolled currently in another class. This communication was written in a supportive manner therefore not creating and defensive response from the member in question (Allen, 2013). Sharing and comparing information is the first stage in a group project (Papanikolaou & Boubouka, 2010). This was successfully completed by all group members in the stated time
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schedule, which includes members observation or opinion, statements of agreement, examples, clarifications, and identifications of problems related to the interview session. All information was communicated in a manner to encourage each member to move forward so there was continued cooperation and compliance (Allen, 2013). A good example of this was our use of subject lines within email correspondence. We consistently used specific topics (i.e.: paper, references, title) and each member maintained this continuity to eliminate confusion.

Conclusion Many experiences with group projects are negative; however, this small group proved otherwise. Each member stood out as a leader in different aspects needed to complete the project. Problem analysis, decision making and intervention were all attributes demonstrated successfully by each group member. Roles of the group members were positively evident when reviewing Mintzbergs management roles (Mintzberg, 1975). The relationship of the group members maintained a supportive structure throughout all steps of the project. The ultimate traits within the Ebersole Group were effective, non-defensive communication. Overall, the groups success proved that group projects can be a positive experience.

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References: Allen, N. (2013). Perception and communication concepts part II [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from Allen, N. (2013). Perception and communication concepts part III [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from Burge, E.J. (2007). Flexible Higher Education. New York, NY: McGraw Hill. Giessner, S. R., van Knippenberg, D., van Ginkel, W., & Sleebos, E. (2013). Team-oriented leadership: The interactive effects of leader group prototypicality, accountability, and team identification. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(4), 658-667. doi:10.1037/a0032445 Kellerman, B. (2009, June 11). Barabara Kellerman on followership. Retrieved from 1009

Mintzberg, H. (1975). The manager's job: folklore and fact. Harvard Business Review, Jul/Aug75, Vol. 53 Issue 4, p49-61. Retrieved from AN=3867274&site=eds-live&scope=site

Papanikolaou, K. and Boubouka, M. (2011). Promoting Collaboration in a Project-Based E-Learning. Journal of Research on Technology in Education Vol. 43, (2), pp. 135155. Phelps, L., Parayitam, S., Olson B., (2007). Edwards Deming, Mary P. Follett and Frederick W. Taylor: Reconciliation of differences in organization and strategic leadership. Academy of Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 6 pp.1-4, p14.

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Westley, F., & Mintzberg, H. (1989). Visionary leadership and strategic management. Strategic Management Journal, 10(S1), 17-32. doi: 10.1002/smj.4250100704 Yuhyung, S., & Kyojik, S. (2011). Role of face-to-face and computer-mediated communication time in the cohesion and performance of mixed-mode groups. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 14(2), 126-139. doi:10.1111/j.1467-839X.2010.01341.x

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