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Victoria Vockeroth

BIS 343

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Prompt #1: What practices are not effective when trying to avoid the common
information effect and hidden profiles? What practices are effective? Contrast the
suggestions in Chapter 6 in the MTT text regarding the common information effect and
hidden profiles with your own team-based experiences. (Use at least two in-text
citations.)

The common information effect deals with not exactly sharing the actual facts but how
many group members were aware of the information before. This can be a
communication issue in groups. Managers will tend to talk about the information that
group members have in common, making it appear as if that information is more
important but it really is not. A hidden profile goes hand in hand with this effect
because it deals with favoring the information that group members have in common
over other information. “Stated another way, the information held in common by group
members favors a particular choice, whereas unshared information contradicts the
choice” (Thompson pg. 140). Sharing of information is more complex that people think,
in order to evenly share everything some leaders try to make the discussion longer or
make the team bigger, this does not help. Having a strong leader to discuss information
is key to have better distribution of information by helping the team maintain focus and
discuss the unshared information. Problem solving is huge and any team work and
communicating must deal with with constructive problem solving. I also personally
think that fully discussing each alternative makes the sharing of information more
effective. When I have to share new information to my team, when we have a new
promo going up, I have each team member read through the packet and I read it them
so I know they read it, heard it, saw it. I like to give examples and fully discuss each
alternative choice we may have to make so they are not limited to one piece of
information. I think it is important to keep team members involved and feel active,
“When team members are personally identified the likelihood that unshared clues will
be mentioned during discussion increases” (Thompson pg. 145).

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Prompt #2: Give some examples of team mental models (ones you hold currently, or
have held in the past), and discuss them. (If you cannot think of any team mental
models that you hold, then you will need to ask for examples from friends or
roommates who work in teams, either as volunteers or as staff.) Refer to and cite at

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least two passages/concepts from Chapter 6 in the MTT text, in connection with your
examples.

Mental models in teams is something I actually have quite a bit of background
knowledge on and some experience. “Mental models are mental representations of the
world that allow people to understand, predict and solve problems in a given
situation” (Thompson pg. 148). Especially at Starbucks I feel like most partners I work
with in retail stores have mental models about what the corporation means, that is not
necessarily always true. Since we are the one stuck behind the line running around like
crazy making drinks for customers who take it very seriously, we view Starbucks from
our perspective. We work very hard, make little money, and cutovers take this too
seriously. In reality Starbucks on the corporate side has one of the most ethical and
people oriented cultures out of any business. We have a mental models of what
Howard Shultz is like, but we base these models off of our everyday job duties and
most people do not see the corporate side which I am now starting to understand.
Overall mental models can be a good thing making it easier for us to understand, but
can also contain false and limited information. “There are two key considerations in
terms of the mental models that members have about their actual work: the accuracy
of the model and the degree of correspondence” (Thompson pg. 148).
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Prompt #3: Do you think that individuals or groups are better decision-makers?
Justify your choice. In what situations would individuals be more effective decision-
makers than groups, and in what situations would groups be better than individuals?
Be sure to draw on (and cite in-text) a variety of applicable content / ideas (at least
three different passages) from Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 in the MTT text.

Previously I would of said individuals are better at decision making because they didn't
have others influencing them. Now I would have to say that groups are better
decisions makers because they have more perspectives. Work planning is a useful step
in making team decisions “Teams whose members work together should plan their
work” (Thompson pg. 156). Group decision making needs to be equal to each member
and well communicated. “Decision making is in integrated sequence of activities that
includes gathering, interpreting, and exchanging information; creating and identifying
alternative courses of action” (Thompson pg. 163). Individual decisions making can be
very effective when the individual is good an evaluating all of the alternatives.
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Prompt #4: Give an example of a time in your life when you have conformed to a
group’s expectations or beliefs. (Give details about this incident so the reader can
clearly picture/imagine it, and explain the outcome.) Do you think you conformed
because of the “need to be liked” or the “need to be right”? What would you consider

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to be some of the positive aspects and negative aspects of conformity? For full credit,
cite at least two distinct passages from this week’s readings to back up your opinions.

I think we have all been in situations where we had to conform to others expectations
or beliefs and we were unsure of what to do and what to feel. When I first became a
supervisor and had to transfer stores to start my new position. I was working with a
team who was very set in their ways and I was new to being a leader so I had to
conform some of my behaviors in order to be accepted and liked. “Most people have a
fundamental need to be accepted and approved by others” (Thompson pg. 187). I felt
the need to accepted by others because the team I was working with was mostly
female and they didn’t like me because I was 19 at the time and they didn't want to
take orders from me. At first it felt negative to conform because I was basing my
actions off of others approval, but as I became a stronger leader I saw the positives
aspects how I was able to implement my values and beliefs for the team. “Normative
influence or the need to be liked is stronger when people make public responses and
are face-to-face with a majority” (Thompson pg. 187). I was faced with the majority
group set in their ways and my news ways trying to conform and fit in.

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Prompt #5: What are some steps a manager can take to prevent groupthink in his or
her group/team? How might these steps (and the measures outlined in Exhibit 7-7)
have prevented some of the real-life disasters cited in this chapter (such as the
examples in Exhibit 7-6)? Cite one or more examples from this exhibit as well as two or
more other passages from Chapter 7 in the MTT text (with proper in-text citations, as
always).

“The empirical evidence for groupthink does not support some of the key predictions of
the model” (Thompson pg. 175). Managers must work hard and take a few steps in
order to prevent this phenomenon of groupthink which can be very negative.
Constructive and intellectual conflict can reduce the groups chance of being conformed
under pressure. “The risk technique is a structured discussion situation designed to
reduce group members fear about making decisions” (Thompson pg. 175). It is
important for managers to keep risk technique in mind in order to benefit potential
gains. The exhibit 7-7 shows what things will go wrong based on poor leadership
behaviors. It also shows how a leader being explicit and direct about policies will make
the team stronger with task orientation, openness and focussing on goals.

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