My experience with MEGA business simulation was both rewarding and challenging. For this reason, this report presents my reflections on this simulation. The report starts with an introduction where I discuss how the reflective practice techniques can be important for analyzing my experience in MEGA business simulation. In addition, the report outlines both positive and negative critical incidents, which affected all of us as a team as well as me during this inspiring experience. It is worth mentioning that this report uses the reflective theories to outline these critical incidents in a thoughtful and practical manner.
The initial critical incident is about disagreements by some members. On the sixth week, two members disagreed on the finest choice to follow our strategy, since it was probable to formulate a strategy in various methods. Ultimately, the team agreed to make an autonomous decision. These co-members continued to differ on the finest decision on week 7, but the group continued to follow a democratic decision. The major group disagreement was on week 12, where members disagreed on how to finish the simulation.
The other critical incident is about lack of commitment. During the first three weeks, all members showed commitment, and the team worked well. However, there was a lack of commitment by some members from the fourth week, and this set a pattern for the upcoming weeks. The final and positive critical incident is about the group decisive moment. This occurred during the last week. We made the most important decisions during the final week. However, during this week, we experienced a challenge where group members disagreed on how to end the simulation, but after debating for more than one hour on how to finish the simulation effectively, we reached a solid agreement.
The report ends with a description of how this business simulation has developed the transferable skills in me and the influences, which my learning experiences will have in my future team as well as organizational roles that I will undertake. Therefore, this part of the report demonstrates my gained skills from the simulation, and their importance in my professional career.
Reflection is a critical factor in the process of learning. It is a process through which we inspecting our gained experiences through describing, analyzing, and assessing our assumptions, thoughts, theories, beliefs, and actions. An individual reflects his/her understanding from any work in various forms. Boud (16) argues that the reflection techniques provide detailed personal investigation, which allows people to expect self-improvement, which can result to the realization of operating at an optimal level. This means that the reflection offers people the ideas for better results and techniques with which to overcome the challenges.
The report summarizes the critical incidents, which occurred in the MEGA simulation experience that took place from October 2013 to December 2013. MEGA business simulation is a learning platform that offers a thrilling business environment, in which the learning takes place experientially, through the trial and error. The simulations offer a general management perspective on the organization’s processes in a competitive environment (Zubizarreta, 74). The complexity of every department or function is reduced to its basics to permit the participants see the big picture. In simple terms, the focus is on the functional relationships as well as the interdependencies for an organization’s overall goals. In our MEGA Business Simulation, we took great risks including a high investment and price to test in what way the game would work. We shared all the tasks equally.
Reflection is vital to the learning experience. Reflection practice techniques are very important to both the students and workers. These techniques can be beneficial for analyzing my team experience. The techniques can show the evidence of my acquired knowledge through the application of theories, which require me to think back and see if I have improved my existing skills or developed new ones from the MEGA business experience (Brockbank, Anne, and McGill, 42). In addition, the reflective techniques can help me to discover my level of self –consciousness. The report will debate both the negative and positive incidents we faced as a team. It will also analyze my personal experiences using Gibbs 6 stages reflective cycle and other theories.
1.0 Critical Incident
Critical incident technique is imperative because we can use it to resolve the difficulties that we are likely to face. It is a flexible method, which we can use to improve the multi-user systems. What’s more, it focuses on the crucial issues, and this means that it might bring major benefits when used (Thompson, 2000).
Although we communicated effectively, we experienced some challenges during our simulation. Our team did not have a specific leader hence this contributed these challenges. We divided the tasks equally amongst all the team members, but along the way, some members showed lack of commitment. During the first four weeks, we worked together well, and there were no overriding opinions. All team members were satisfied with the decision made by the group and we all agreed on undertaking a high-risk policy. However, we experienced some problems from the fifth week to the final week. The group decisive moment occurred during the last week where we took a conservative strategy to make sure that we did not lose out to the competition.
2.1 Critical Incident 1 - Disagreements by some members
This incident took place during the sixth week. During the second week, we all decided to undertake a high-risk strategy, and worked well together, as there were no overriding opinions. However, during the third week, we all agreed to reverse the strategy to increase our understanding of how the simulation reacted to various strategies. It is worth mentioning that, during the first 3 weeks, the group continued to work well, as every member scored high in the MEGA scoreboard. During this period, we all agreed on various issues, and this is what brought success. Members shared their opinions, and this helped us to make sound decisions. However, signs of disagreements began to occur during the fourth week when the contribution by one member was minimal, and this continued during the fifth week.
On the sixth week, the team continued performing well, but two co-members began to differ on the finest resolution to follow our policy, since it was probable to formulate this policy in various methods. Nevertheless, the team made an autonomous decision. On the seventh and eighth weeks, the two co-members continued to differ on the finest decision, and the team continued following an autonomous decision made on week 6. From week 9 through week 12, the team worked well assenting on our decision to follow the strategy. During the last week, we experienced a major group difference in what way to end the simulation. However, we all discussed for more than one hour and ultimately reached a concrete agreement.
My feelings about this critical incident were both satisfied and dissatisfied. I felt satisfied by the active members. Despite sharp disagreements by the disagreeing members, we convinced each other, and this resulted to the group making important decisions. This made me feel comfortable and motivated to participate in the group activities. The decision- making approach of the committed member was consensus-led, as discussions took place. This helped us to agree and make sound decisions as a team. Despite the disagreements by the two members, it is correct to argue that the group has been on the norming phase of Tuckmans’ theory in most times, since we finally made big decisions by agreeing.
The sharp disagreements that we experienced were contributed by the personal differences between the two members. At some instances, the two disagreeing members showed lack of cooperation, and, therefore, this affected the group to some extent. These members did not understand the importance of accommodating others’ views and perspectives. The disagreements that arose due to the opposing decision styles made some members become reluctant in contributing, and even some left earlier, which was unfair the members that remained.
Finally, the group decided that there was a need for the two members who were disagreeing due to personal differences to come to an agreement by understanding that it was important to accommodate the views and perspectives of each other. We failed to draft the group rules due to the absence of a specific group leader, and this is the reason some members ended up leaving earlier while others overworked.
2.1.5 Conclusion and action plan
This negative incident has made me to realize the limitations of personal differences on a group/team. It has made me to realize that these differences bring disagreements that affect the running of the group and might make a group not to achieve its goals. After learning the significance of reflection techniques, I will develop a habit of encouraging communication in my future groups/teams since this will help me to identify the members who might be having personal differences and reconcile them as early as possible.
2.2 Critical Incidence 2 – Lack of commitment
Lack of commitment was another incident, which occurred in my MEGA group. The group did not have specific rules, and this made some members to become reluctant after the third week. For the first three weeks, every member showed commitment, and this contributed to good formulation of the team. The group decisions during these weeks had structure. Nonetheless, lack of commitment occurred during the fourth week when one member started becoming reluctant in contributions. Lack of commitment continued in week 5 where the member continued to be reluctant in contributing. In addition, from week 9, some members either left early or failed to contribute due to lack of group rules.
I felt very dissatisfied because lack of commitment by some members resulted to some poor decisions. The lack of rules in the group contributed to the lack of commitment. I think that the lack of engagement by some members resulted from a lack of good leadership. The members that showed the lack of commitment did not have the qualities of an effective leader including the ability to act with integrity, making good decisions, taking responsibility for their mistakes among others (Bustard, Kawalek, & Norris, 2000). In addition, these members lacked the ability to discover themselves, failed to appreciate others, and did not affirm the shared values. All this contributed to their lack of seriousness in the group.
It is important to have rules in any project. If we had formulated the rules and applicable fines to the members that would refuse to attend or perform their duties, we would not have experienced this problem. I have now realized the importance of having rules in any group.
Through analyzing our group, I could identify that lack of commitment was because of the leadership style in the group, which was democratic. If it were charismatic or authoritative, it could have been easier for the group leader to monitor every group member and take the necessary action whenever that member misbehaved (Tyson, Pedersen, & American Counseling Association, 2000). During the first weeks, there were discussions and sharing of ideas among the members, but some became reluctant as time passed due to lack of an authoritative leader.
2.2.5 Conclusion and action plan
I now recognize the importance of having rules in any project after experiencing a lack of commitment incident in MEGA business simulation. It is important to have a leader and rules in a group to guide all the members and take action against those who show a lack of commitment. All the group members should possess good communication skills for raising their concerns. If this were the case in our group, all members would have continued being active until the last week.
2.3 Critical Incident 3 – Group decisive moment
The performance of the group was above average despite the above challenges. The non-cooperative members disappointed active group members. At the start of MEGA simulation, everyone was active, but with time, some members were demotivated. During the first weeks, we had a clear strategy to begin with, but this changed along the way. After many discussions, the members decided to work as a team, although one member failed to contribute. This led to our decision of paying a portion of the loan, and we continued with the differentiation plan. We concentrated on EBIT to maintain the first position in the area. In addition, we concentrated on the victory of our image in region 2 that was losing cash. Moreover, we took a conservative plan to make sure that we did not miss out to the region competition.
This stage motivated and rejuvenated me. Although one member left during this moment, together with the remaining members we made sound decisions crucial for achieving our main goal. Except this member, all the remaining members felt re-energized to work as a team for a common goal.
This is the most important incident in our simulation, as it was positive. Although our cohesiveness was low from the fourth week until the final week, we were able to focus on important things that made us maintain our position in the region.
After some members discouraging us, we started to move to the performing stage as suggested by Tuckman. This happened during the last week because we were more strategically aware of what we were doing.
2.3.5 Conclusion and action plan
This incident was positive, and it helped us to maintain the first position in the area. Thus, we achieved our position in the MEGA scorecard. This incident taught me the importance of working hard and being self-governed. We could not have achieved our goal if we were not working hard together with some members.
The MEGA experience has established several transferable skills in me, which I believe will be of great importance in my professional life. In the future, I will use the learning experience that I have gained in both my group and managerial roles. In addition, this MEGA business simulation helped largely in developing an understanding of theories I have learned in relation to their implementation in the real business world. The MEGA group work has made me to gain knowledge and skills important in making crucial decisions in life.
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