Case Study: Team in Trouble

The mini session facilitators will lead this Case Study activity and determine the tools to be used. 

Team Kiwi is a (fictional, but inspired by real events at Royal Roads University) pre-existing team of 4 learners: Pat Wong, Sam Smith, Mark Roberts, and Karen Rajpur.

This is one of two courses the learners are currently taking. Last term, they had 5 team members but one dropped out, so the smaller team is experiencing some transition and stress with having to do work that was once spread among more people.

The first team assignment in this second course is worth 15% of their final grade and involves participating in an online discussion and submitting a summary of the discussion. Team Kiwi has not yet submitted their first team assignment and it is one day late.

Up until the recent break, all members seemed to be surviving, that is, participation was relatively low, but acceptable. However, when you (the instructor) returned from holidays, you found emails that indicated there is a problem on this team.


Email 1 to instructor:

To: Instructor

From: Sam Smith

Cc: Mark Roberts; Karen Rajpur

Subject: Team Kiwi Assignment

Date: Jan 8

Dear Instructor,

I'm writing to tell you about my concerns related to Pat Wong. Right from the beginning, Pat was a poor contributor to our team. This person's contribution has been well below what I would expect from an university learner. Although your policy is to give equal grades on team assignments, I do not believe Pat deserves to get the same grade as everyone on our team because of his poor participation on this and other assignments. Furthermore, I believe that Pat should not have been admitted to this program and may be plagiarizing material without proper referencing. Please write me back and tell me what you intend to do about this situation.


Email 2 to instructor

To: Instructor

From: Pat Wong

Subject: Sam Smith

Date: Jan 4

Dear Instructor,

I am very unhappy about the comments on the course discussion group from Sam Smith. Sam is a difficult person to work with and is very demanding.  He regularly makes rude comments, interrupts our discussion and is unwilling to listen to different ideas. I am tired of dealing with this person. I came to this university because I wanted to work on teams. Because of Sam, I am losing interest in this program – this is not what I expected.

Sam is never satisfied and always criticizes my work. I don't feel I can say anything anymore without Sam criticizing me. The other team members never say anything.One team member already quit because of Sam's overbearing attitude – we're all sick of him! I think it's the university's responsibility to provide a safe learning environment – that does not exist on this team.

Sam's most recent posting on the team discussion is an example of his inappropriate behaviour – will you please intervene to stop this kind of thing?


In order to get a better understanding of this situation, you, the instructor, went to review the postings on the current team discussion.

To: Team Kiwi

From: Sam Smith

Subject: Let's get going!

Date: Jan 2

Hey Guys,

Once again, not much action here – what's going on? I want to know why nobody's posting!!! I want an A on this project, if we don't get going soon, we're going to get nailed on this one.

Sam


To: Team Kiwi

From: Sam Smith

Subject: urgent!

Date: Jan 4,

Pat,

I can't fail to notice that you are absent from our discussion – your poor participation is dragging our team down and because of you we won't get an A!! If you were working for me, I would have fired you by now. Obviously, you don't care about this team. Please submit your part of the discussion immediately. Maybe where you're from this is OK, but not on MY team.

Sam.


To: Team Kiwi

From: Pat Wong

Subject: Re: urgent!

Date: Jan 4

Sam,

As I've told the whole team, I was on vacation until today (Jan. 4). The discussion is open for a couple more days and our summary isn't due until Jan. 7 – I don't know what your problem is. I will post well before then. It's just the same kind of summary as the last course, isn't it?

Pat


To: Team Kiwi

From: Pat Wong

Subject: Team Discussion

Date: Jan 5

Hey guys, I've read all the postings and it looks good – I agree with what you're saying. I just read another really great article, maybe we should include this in our discussion: www.some-crazy-link.com 


To: Team Kiwi

From: Sam Smith

Subject: Team Discussion

Date: Jan 5

Pat,

This article has nothing to do with what we're reading; you're just wasting our time! Please stick to the point!

I want to review the submission before we send it so I can make changes to bring it up to my standards! That's why I need it well before the due date! And I'm very busy at work right now, my time is precious, and there's usually so much I have to do to make it better! Maybe you don't care about what mark you get, but I care about my grades and I will NOT let you bring me down! If you can't handle this, you should be the next team member to drop out!!

Sam


Last modified: Tuesday, 4 July 2017, 9:08 PM