Week 6 of Organizational Behavior (OB) examines team processes of an executive team in a large sports apparel company. The executive is a high-performing (achieving double-digit annual growth for the company) but dysfunctional (full of in-flights and lack of information) team. The leader of the executive team, who is also the CEO of the company, has to think of ways to better manage his team so that the full potential can be realized.
Students were guided by the instructor Dr. Kuok Kei Law to analyze the different aspects of the executive team step by step, including issues such as trust and information sharing, goal alignment and incentives, effectiveness of meetings, team design and cohesion, leader style and actions, and task prioritization. Specific quotes (actually complaints) from the executive team members were extracted for detail analysis. Students were challenged to make a holistic examination of why the team members cam up with such complaints, utilizing all the knowledge (e.g. identity, motivation, perception, self-serving bias, etc.) that they had learnt in the previous classes. At the end of the analysis, students were invited to form into groups to discuss possible actions to mitigate the team problems that have been identified and examined.
When discussing the action plans, Dr. Law invited the students to lead the class discussion rather than merely presenting their suggestions. The discussion leaders were tasked with the mission to motivate, organize, and also critically challenge their classmates' suggestions. By doing, the students not only can reflect on and apply the OB knowledge they have learnt so far but also practice the important learning goals of critical thinking, appreciating diversity, and having effective communication. These are part of the core learning goals for any NUCB undergraduates.