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Everest report

Quang Anh Pham


Student number: 3488998
MGMT1001



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Executive Summary

This report is a reflective report of the Everest Simulation experience in Group 164,
which members include Anh Pham, Hillman, Ajay, Christine, Ryahn and Leigh. The
Simulation was divided into 2 attempts, where in the first attempt the team was
required to perform virtually and in the second attempt it had to be done with all the
members to stay in the same room.

After the 2 attempts, it turned out that the team performed better in the second attempt,
which can be explained by the boost in communication and past experience of the
simulation. However, due to the lack of leadership and direction of the team, the result
was not high as expected, as one member, Ajay, the physician, was rescued during the
Simulation.

This report hence will try to critically analyse the teams experience using the course
concepts, including Communication, Group and Team, and Leadership and deliver the
recommendation if applicable.













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Table of contents

Executive summary
Table of contents
Introduction
Team experience
Communication & disinhibition effect
Disinhibition effect
Communication medium
Groups & Teams
Conflicts
Team goals
Leadership
Leadership style
Leadership traits
Conclusion
Bibliography
Appendix
Team contract

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Introduction

Everest Simulation is a virtual simulation which assigns the members to take a specific
role in order to reach to the summit of mount Everest. Group 164, which later changed
the name into Team Lets not die, is a team which members were randomly picked
from the same tutorial, including myself Anh Pham, Hillman, Ajay, Christine, Ryahn and
Leigh. The team was given 2 attempts to participate in the Simulation where in the first
Simulation the team members were required not to sit in the same room and the second
Simulation the students were told to do the opposite. The purpose of the Simulation is
to have the students deal with different attitudes between members, while maintaining
effective communication as well as decision-making, and most importantly, to give the
students a chance to critically analyse the experience afterward.

For the team, the result in the second Simulation was better than the first, increased
from 44 percent of team objectives to 59 percent overall, despites the fact that one of
the member, Ajay, the physician, was recused while processing from Camp 3 to Camp 4.
However, because of the lack of a real leader, which will be examined later in this
report, laissez faire leadership style sometimes led to serious confusion and
misdirection, result in the amount of time taken to finish in both Simulations. Moreover,
with the lack of task conflict between the members, the team sometimes suffered from
stagnation and uncertainty, while the team contract were totally forgotten during the
second attempt.

With the problems raised from the Simulation, I had a valuable opportunity to face
different situations and experience teamwork environment. This report hence will try
to use the relevant concepts from the course, including Communication, Groups and
Teams, and Leadership, to evaluate the Simulation experience and give
recommendation where applicable.



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Team experience

Unlike many other teams, our team worked on the basis of shared authority. This means
that everyone have the equal opportunity to contribute as well as organize the team.
This had been with the team from the very beginning, since all the members discussed
the available time slot for the first Simulation without a specific person stand out to do
the job. The team therefore did not rely on the assigned role in the Simulation to
actually perform, which I felt that was working well until the team participated in the
first attempt of the Simulation, where a serious problem appeared.

It turned out that the most important person in the team, the leader, which was Hillman,
did not understand and well-prepare the Simulation and hence could not catch up with
the speed of everyone. As a result, he made a mistake that forfeit the trust of the team
member in the leader. When the team was at Camp 2 in the second day of the virtual
Simulation, while the whole team was discussing the current stage, the leader
accidentally pushed the proceed button, which brought the whole team to Camp 3 with
the settings belonged to the previous day. From this moment on, despites no one raised
the voice criticising Hillman for his mistake, everyone felt that they had the
responsibility to make team decision instead of having the leader to make the decision
for the team. The decisions from that on had to be discussed thoroughly between all the
members.

Since the assigned leader had no power in controlling the team, the team entered a
period of misdirection and confusion. The decision took a lot of time to be made, with no
member had the most weighted voice and everyone had to spend a lot of time
considering others ideas while protecting their own point of view. Through every stage,
every member had to carefully consider every possibility and the decision was made on
a majority agreement. The decisions made were the most convincing decisions, not the
most plausible ones. I personally experienced frustration during the Simulation, even
though I did not speak out because of my respect to other members, as the decisions
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took more time than necessary to be made. The first Simulation ended up with everyone
decided to play safe rather than risking the life to achieve the goals.

In the second Simulation, the team with previous experience from the first attempt tried
to perform better. Despites the team contract created by everyone during the Tutorial, it
was totally forgotten during the Simulation. While the goal in the contract state that
everyone had to reach the summit, it turned out that the goal was unrealistic and
everyone had to alter the goal. From this moment, the need of a leader who can give
direction to the team and cover everyones situation was more significant, since people
tended to break into smaller groups to discuss the situation. Everyone shared all the
relevant information but no one actually gathered the information and analysed it.
Despites having an observer, the decision-making process still lied heavily on the
players who were assigned more specific goals. The team spent too much time
discussing without making a proper decision.

Communication and disinhibition effect

Disinhibition effect

Disinhibition effect is a psychological phenomena used to describe the lack of
behavioural inhibition in online environment (Lapidot-Lefler & Barak 2012, p.434) This
can be the act of verbal insults, flaming or bashing over the internet interfaces, since the
barrier for such action is higher in face-to-face communication. During the first
Simulation, which required the members to participate online, the disinhibition effect
was expected to take place. It is a great opportunity for people with reserved
personality to express emotions without verbal barrier, especially non-native speaker in
an English speaking country such as Asians. However, such effect did not take place in
our team. The reason can be explained as follow. Firstly, all the members are highly
educated and well disciplined. People with high education and good disciplines tend to
act in a more appropriate way. Secondly, the team has to face each other afterward for
the completion of the exercise. Hence, everyone had to act with proper manner so that
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when they meet face-to-face it does not create wrong perception and awkward
moments. Thirdly, the characteristics of the members are considered to be open and
understanding. The members tend to discuss the problems to deliver the best solution
rather than being emotional and irrational.

Communication medium

The difficulties by having the internet network interfered the communication between
the members can be analysed by the research done by Alge and his coordinators. Alge et
al (2003) concludes that face-to-face communication delivers a higher level of trust as
well as openness, while share more unique information than virtual communication
between the team members through a computer-mediated medium. Alge et al (2003)
also states that the differences above did not apply to teams with previous knowledge-
building. This emphasizes the need of knowing each other before completing the task
between each member. If our team had time to develop the relationship between
members, the outcome would had been better, particularly for Hillman not to make the
unnecessary mistake by delivering communication effectiveness and decision-making
effectiveness. The other thing about medium is the insufficient performance of chat
interface of the Simulation. As mentioned in the team experience, the chat interface was
considerably small, which displays little information and normally got clashed when
two or more people started typing, while the medium plays a crucial role in sharing the
information and strongly affect the teams ability to work effectively. To overcome this
issue, I would have suggested the team to use different communicating software such as
Skype or any other alternatives rather than the chat interface provided within the
Simulation.

However, since the second Simulation required all the members to sit in the same room,
by using a more effective way of communication, which is face-to-face, we resolved the
problems in communicating to some extent. The speed of information exchange was
much more improved as I felt more comfortable speaking face-to-face with my
teammates.
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Groups and Teams

Conflicts

It was thought that my team did not experience conflicts during the 2 Simulations. The
truth was the conflicts were left unspoken and no one with a strong personality enough
to raise the conflicts. Behar et al (2007) states that without conflicts, the team will
unlikely to deliver the correct decision, while the performance will be diminished.
Conflicts are essential for team discussion as it allows the members to fully understand
the problems. It appeared that the lack of conflicts in our team created unsatisfactory
and even frustration between the members. This can be explained that a person is
uncomfortable or inconsistent about the goals and norms of the team will tend to
minimise it by changing his attitude and behavior (Koh & Boh, 2004). In the first
Simulation, I had a great confusion about the goals of the team, as everyone was acting
on their own to be safe from getting rescued. Thus I tend to lower my expectation and
act more neutral to the team decisions that I knew would bring less benefits to the team
from my point of view. As a result, the highest Camp that everyone sought was Camp 3,
which was far less than my expectation. If I had a chance to do the first Climb again, I
would challenge everyone with the idea of bringing another person, for example Ajay, to
take the leader role, instead of having Hillman doing nothing but pushing the proceed to
new stage button.

Team goals

Since the team had no proper leader, the goals between the team could not be obtained.
Everyone considered that their goals were the most important hence avoid the
suggestion from other members to act on their desire (Posakoff et al, 1997). For
example, my goal as the marathoner was to reach the summit to obtain a great
advertisement deal. However, the environmentalist did not need to reach the summit,
while the photographer had to stay behind to take photos. In the second climb, even the
team had made a team contract including an agreed team goal, the goal was not feasible
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and hence the contract was totally ignored during the second attempt. The goal in the
contract was to have everyone reached the summit, while it is practically impossible to
achieve that. Hence in the second Simulation, the team was dragged into long discussion
with no proper outcome, and the performance was poor in my opinion. If the conflicts
between different goals could be solved and synergised with the team context, the
overall results could be better (Steven and Campion, 1994).

Leadership

Leadership style

According to Kurt Lewin (1939) the leadership styles can be divided into 3 main styles,
including autocratic style, democratic style and Laissez faire style. Since our team
decided from the start to share the leadership between everyone, the team chose to
operate with Laissez faire style of leadership. Laissez faire works best when the
members are able to work independently and making their own decision, without a
requirement for a central coordination. In our team, the type of leadership worked
really well when we share the information together. However, since the Everest
Simulation was not a requirement-free for a central coordination, it appeared that since
everyone had the same power, no decision was made. We spent a lot of time discussing
the same issue without delivering a solution. It came to the peak in the second
Simulation, where even we had great experience from the first Simulation, so much time
was taken to discuss the information from everyone. Instead of having a specific person
to do the relevant analysis, all the team member took part in decision making, which
required a lot more time and raised a lot of confusion. At this point, a democratic
leadership style (Kurt Lewin, 1939) could be seen as a better alternative to the
ineffective style we used during the Simulation. However, since no one raise the issue of
leadership and forced themselves into the Laissez fair style, the team ended up being
unproductive and the outcome was lower than expected. The team could have followed
the Democratic style if Hillman was more well-prepared or the assigned leader was Ajay
rather than Hillman.
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Leadership traits

According to Judge et al (2002), a successful leadership has to be associated with 7
traits, including drive, desire to lead, self-confidence, intelligence, job-relevant
knowledge, honest and integrity, and most importantly extraversion. In our team, the
lack of several traits led to an unsuccessful leadership, which lower the team
productivity and satisfaction. Hillman, the assigned leader in the Simulation, showed the
lack of job-relevant knowledge in the first place. This resulted in the mistrust of the
member to the leader, thus created a negative perception on the leader role, which is
crucial in this context. Moreover, the desire to lead and drive was seriously absent, as
when the team was struggling, no one stood out to address the issue. Other traits such
as self-confidence and intelligence were showed, as the members of the team express a
highly intellectual communication and task-performance. Even though the extraversion
is very important in certain tasks, it was not the case for this Simulation. In my opinion,
a boost in confidence for a person to stood up and lead the team was necessary to
achieve higher results.

Conclusion

In general, the Everest Simulation provided a valuable opportunity to participate in
teamwork environment. It is clear that the need to understand the three key aspects of
communication, teamwork and leadership is crucial to the effectiveness of team
performance. Although our team did not perform well in the second Simulation, showed
by a small amount of improvement from the first Simulation, the ultimate goal of
understanding how to make a team to work effectively has been achieved by reflecting
the experience in this report. The lack of communication suffered from the first
Simulation was overcome in the second Simulation, while more could be done with the
leadership style to deliver better result. Moving from the experience and analysis
through this whole process, my understanding of aspects in teamwork has been
strengthen, which will help me to integrate with the workplace settings in the future.

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Bibliography

Alge, B. J., Wiethoff, C., & Klein, H.J. 2003, When does the medium matter? Knowledge
building experiences and opportunities in decision making teams, Organizational
Behavior and Human Decision Processes, vol. 91, pp.26-37.

Behfar, H., Peterson, R. S., Mannix, E. A. & Trochim, W. M. K. 2008, The Critical Role of
Conflict Resolution in Teams: A Close Look at the Links Between Conflict Type, Conflict
Management Strategies, and Team Outcomes, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol.93(1),
pp. 170188.

Judge, T. A., Bono, J. E., Ilies, R. & Gerhardt, M. W., 2002, Personality and Leadership: A
Qualitative and Quantitative Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(4), pp. 765-780.
Koh, H. C. & Boo, E. Y. 2004, Organisational ethics and employee satisfaction and
commitment, Management Decision, vol. 42, no. 5, pp. 677-693.
Lapidot-Lefler, N., & Barak, A., 2012, Effects of Anonymity, Invisibility, and lack of eye-
contact on toxic online dishibition, Computers in Human Behavior, Vol.28, pp. 434-443.

Lewin, K., Lippitt, R., White, R., 1939 Patterns of Aggressive Behavior in Experimentally
Created Social Climates, The Journal of Social Psychology, Vol.10(2), pp.269-299.
Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B. & Ahearne, M., 1997, Moderating Effects of Goal
Acceptance on the Relationship Between Group Cohesiveness and Productivity, Journal
of Applied Psychology, 82(6), pp. 974-983.
Stevens, M. J. & Campion, M. A. 1994, The Knowledge, Skill and Ability Requirements for
Teamwork: Implications for Human Resources Management, Journal of Management,
20(2), pp. 503-530.

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Appendix

Goals
Reach summit
Complete climb without needing to be
rescued
Avoid getting frostbite
Your Points for Personal Goals
Round 2: Medical Challenge Points
Round 3: Weather Challenge Points
Round 4: Oxygen Tank Allocation Points
Your Total Points
Your Total possible Points
Percent of your Goals Achieved
Percent of Team Goals Achieved

Point
0
3
1
4
0
0
0
4
9
44%
44%

Goals
Reach summit
Complete climb without needing to be
rescued
Avoid getting frostbite
Your Points for Personal Goals
Round 2: Medical Challenge Points
Round 3: Weather Challenge Points
Round 4: Oxygen Tank Allocation Points
Your Total Points
Your Total possible Points
Percent of your Goals Achieved
Percent of Team Goals Achieved

Point
2
3
1
6
1
0
0
7
9
78%
59%


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Team contract
TEAM CONTRACT
Everest 2
Team Name: Lets not die

Name Role Contact
1 Hillman Pan Leader 0433038743
2 Anh Pham Marathoner 0450036555
3 Ajay Parmar Physician 0424389446
4 Ryahn Rahme Environmentalist 0401787706
5 Christine Pham Photographer 0411221675
6 Leigh Sack Observer 0452214424

Team Procedures
1. 1. Day, time, and location of team members for Everest 2:
Wednesday, 7
th
May, 5pm
1. 2. Preferred method of communication before and during Everest 2 (i.e., e-mail,
mobile, chat function, face-to-face in a specified location).
A. A. Before the climb
Email, mobile , Watsapp
A. B. During the climb (Note: Everest 2 has to be conducted face-to-face in a
specified location during the exercise)
Face-to-face
A. C. After the climb
Email, mobile, Watsapp

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1. 3. Team goal for Everest 2:
Lets not die
Everyone reach the summit
No more than 3 hours
Everyone maximise their point wherever possible
1. 4. Decision-making policy (By consensus? By majority vote? By team leader?):
By consensus
Team Participation
1. 1. How will we resolve conflict?
Consensus
1. 2. Strategies for encouraging/including ideas and debate from all team
members :
questions
1. 3. Strategies for achieving our goal:
effective communication
strategies/ planning
1. 4. Preferences for leadership (team leader only, shared leadership):
Shared leadership (Laissez faire)
Personal Accountability
1. 1. Expected individual attendance, punctuality, and participation at Everest 2:
Everyone attended
Equal responsibility
1. 2. What are the consequences for lack of engagement in Everest 2?
Try to get one person to encourage participation.