This session was the first on planed by the international students. This groups task was to run a orienteering and navigation session for the rest of the group and the Norwegian students, however the Norwegian students were absent for this trip.
This session consisted of the students been separated into small groups of 4 or 5. The groups were then given maps with locations to find marked on them, the group who went to all locations first were the winners of this task. The groups were then set of at different times.
When we initially started the task we believed it would be relatively easy to find the locations as we were familiar with the area thy were in, however the map we were supplied with had very little detail and also was in black and white so it was difficult to distinguish between features such as water and open areas of ground. This led to all but one group being unable to find any of the markers, which were plastic bags. The group which did find a marker only found one. This led to high levels of frustration within the groups and I personally don’t think there was anything to learn from this experience as the maps looked nothing like what was on the ground.
During the session members of the group began to adopt roles, for example one member of the group took on the role of the coordinator, they were taking charge of the situation and allocating other jobs to the team members such as who’s go it was to map read. This led to other team members taking on the role of team workers depending on who was map reading at that point, as the team workers were helping to support and encourage the team member navigating. At some point throughout the day each person took on the role of specialist by doing the map reading therefore providing a vital skill required during the task. These group roles are based on Belbins (2011) team roles.
During the course of the day one group member was holding back and didn’t seem to want to engage in the task, I believe they were social loafing as they were skilled enough to navigate they just did not appear to want to. Therefore other group members made a conscious effort to give the member loafing specific jobs to do to make sure they were involved in the task and contributing to the group.
Overall from the task in this session there was little to learn from the task its self but there was much to gain from observing the group during the task as it highlighted team roles and social cohesion in a real life setting and also how to combat social loafing.
R. Meredith Belbin, (2011) “Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail (3rd ed.)”, Human Resource Management International Digest, Vol. 19 Issue: 3, doi: 10.1108/hrmid.2011.04419cae.002