Part 1. Group development
The process of group creation and evolution cannot be viewed as the single-moment one. Common framework of group development, formulated by Tuckman (1965), involves four main stages of group development. In the first stage of the development of a group, group forming takes place. As team members usually do not know each other well, they tend to avoid discussing their perspectives on serious issues and concentrate on routine. Storming phase is associated with the growth of the team and is usually characterized with difficulties because misunderstandings and conflicts may arise. At norming phase, participants are aimed at the development of plans to reach a common goal. Finally, performing phase is characterized with the fact that the team starts realizing its tasks.
The team under study, comprised of the representatives of the Woodson Foundation, the NCPIE, and the schools, can be considered to be either at the stage of group formation or at the level, preceding the formation stage. This uncertainty is called forth by the fact that actual team members have not been selected yet, and no relationships between them exist. If Woodson coalition develops a comprehensive understanding of the process of team development, it is possible for partners to identify qualitative and quantitative goals that need to be reached at each stage of team development. In other words, the partners gain reliable means to elaborate on a structured plan of the team development and control its implementation.
Part 2. Problem identification
The first problem under study is forming a team, comprised of people, coming from different organizations, so that they can perform the common task effectively and meet the requirements that are posed by their host organizations. The secondary issue that is likely to arise from this problem is the lack of consensus among the members of the teams from different organizations due to the differences in organizational cultures, existing in them. Considerable issues may arise with regard to the extent of bureaucracy in the school system and other members’ not used to it. Another primary issue related to ensuring a proper functioning of the group is careful management of diversity within it. As team members have different backgrounds, it may be hard for them to get engaged into effective dialogue. As for the program team members, it is important to understand that their tasks will involve continuous cooperation with students and even forming teams with them.
Thus, success of the project to great extent depends upon the management’s capability of managing diversity. Other primary problems may concern emotional burnout of program team members, difficulties related to managing conflicts in diverse groups, as well as the measurement of teams’ progress.
Part 3. Retrospective evaluation
As it was mentioned before, the key primary goals include forming the program development team, so that it can perform the tasks, set before the team and let employees from different organizations stay linked to their values, and managing diversity in the team.
The first way towards reaching above-mentioned goals lies in comprising the team of people, who have similar perspectives on the ways the goal has to be accomplished. Aiming at putting the emphasis on professional perspective, Vitoria Adams, Candace Sharpe and Duane Hardy can become members to the development team. All these people focus on a greater role of school in tackling current issues and are expected not to have conflicts among one another. Another pathway towards forming the effective team is make it comprised of people with different perspectives so that they elaborate on a compromise. While Victoria Adams is likely to represent the voice of schools, Mason Dupree can help the team get aware of the need to get community involved into solving education-related issues. Victor Martinez can serve as an independent arbitrator between two other members of the team.
If it is chosen to stick to the first pathway, the group is likely not to get stuck at the storming phase of the group development, and it is envisaged that the transfer from norming to performing phase will be complicated. However, the lack of diversity within the group can act as a factor, preventing the team from effective cooperation. The choice of the second alternative is likely to be concerned with significant difficulties at both storming and norming phases. This statement can be substantiated by the fact that the text of the case reveals differences in positions of team members. The main pro of choosing this alternative is the opportunity to make best use of team’s diversity.
It is important to base the program team’s activities’ on such principles as commitment to the implementation of the common goal and best interests of students, freedom of expression, democracy and viewing conflicts as the pathway towards development. Practical implementation of these principles can allow the partners form a highly diverse team that will respect the interests of students and aim at making best use of differences in views and perspectives of program team members.
Tuckman, B. (1965). Developmental sequence in small groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63, pp.384-399