a virtual activity designed to model a team of hikers attempting to climb Mount Everest”


TOC o “1-3” h z u Executive Summary PAGEREF _Toc336971051 h 3Introduction PAGEREF _Toc336971052 h 4Attitudes PAGEREF _Toc336971053 h 4Perceptions PAGEREF _Toc336971054 h 5Personality PAGEREF _Toc336971055 h 5Power and Conflict PAGEREF _Toc336971056 h 6Communication PAGEREF _Toc336971057 h 8Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc336971058 h 9Appendices PAGEREF _Toc336971059 h 11Goals on Track PAGEREF _Toc336971060 h 11Team Contract PAGEREF _Toc336971061 h 11Reference List PAGEREF _Toc336971062 h 13

Executive SummaryThe Everest simulation is a virtual activity designed to model a team of hikers attempting to climb Mount Everest. Each member is assigned a certain role, and every team member is provided with both common information and specific information based on their particular role, as well as unique strengths and weaknesses that benefit or hinder the team. The simulation aims to observe the interactions between individuals in the team and evaluate their performance. The Everest Simulation creates an environment focused on teamwork and communication to achieve the goals of the team.

The simulation was only attempted once, and only a minimal amount of information was provided before the simulation took place. Furthermore, the team was selected at random, resulting in unfamiliarity between members. It was found that this both assisted and hindered the performance of the team, as members were open to discussion and there was a sense of trust that formed due to assumed similarity. However, the lack of familiarity also resulted in less conflict, lowering the total flow of information. The task itself provided little job satisfaction, resulting in a less than optimal engagement with the members.

The distribution of power as stated by the team contract was ignored, due to its lack of enforceability. Also, the nature of decision making in the simulation made every member decide their own action. As a result, there was an even distribution of power across the team, leading to non consensus decisions in the group. Furthermore, the simulation was attempted in an environment that hindered the performance. By attempting the task in a library, it was more difficult to clearly communicate ideas, and the time limit of half an hour due to the computers resulted in rushed decisions.

The analysis of the experiences of the team evaluates the team’s performance, and explains what factors contributed or hindered the team’s success.

IntroductionThe Everest simulation is a virtual activity designed to model a team of hikers attempting to climb Mount Everest. Each member is assigned a certain role, and every team member is provided with both common information and specific information based on their particular role, as well as unique strengths and weaknesses that benefit or hinder the team. The simulation aims to observe the interactions between individuals in the team and evaluate their performance. The Everest Simulation creates an environment focused on teamwork and communication to achieve the goals of the team. The analysis of the attitudes, perceptions and personality of team members, as well as the overview of power and conflict within the team assists in examining the success of the team in completing the simulation. Based on the experiences of the team members, flaws within communication and teamwork were evident, which will be evaluated in the report. The simulation was only attempted once by members and thus, the most effective methods of teamwork and decision making within the simulation were not utilised. Moreover, during the simulation, the choice of environment was not optimal to allow for free communication, as we had decided to attempt the task in a library. This resulted in a minimal amount of voice projection which hindered information transfer, as well as a time constraint of half an hour, which forced decisions due to the pressure of being unable to complete the simulation.

AttitudesMy Everest group consisted of six members who were not familiar with each other. Due to this, the attitudes of each individual in the group towards the task and each other were unclear as there was a lack of an affective component. Thus, initially, in the behavioural component of attitudes, everyone undertook a similar attitude, attempting to be polite and friendly to create favourable impressions and relationships with others. Examples of this include how every member demonstrates a notable level of attendance to another during the meetings in addition to the significant amount of effort utilised in deciding on a meeting place and time that was suitable for all members.

Throughout the simulation, it became evident that our team was not demonstrating an extremely high level of commitment towards the task, as the expected job satisfaction from completing the simulation was low. This is because “the most notable situational influence on job satisfaction is the nature of the work itself” (Saari 2004, p.397). There was an absence of motivation within the simulation, as there was no real benefit from achieving a higher score in the task, thus negatively influencing the level of job satisfaction. This led to a fall in the amount of engagement in the task, reducing the overall discussion that occurred. This is emphasised through the attitude survey that was conducted within the group during the debrief we had in the tutorial time, with the majority of members signifying their feelings of indifference about the task. However, it was still clear that every member had put in satisfactory effort into the simulation, as everyone spend the time to make it to the simulation and contribute. This demonstrated the cognitive component of their attitudes, as we all believed it burdening others would be morally inappropriate.

PerceptionsAs our group was selected only a short period before the Everest simulation took place, and the amount of time we were in contact was minimal, I established perceptions of others through the use of shortcuts. Initially, I formed a biased perception of my peers via assumed similarity. This was due to my act of stereotyping my teammates, grouping them all as university students and thus, I believed that they would at the very least contribute a satisfactory amount towards the simulation. Another factor that influenced my experience in the simulation was the halo effect, which resulted in positive impressions of my fellow members, solely due to the fact that everyone arrived to the meeting place on time. These judgements formed the foundation of my perspective of the group. Although these judgements are all shortcuts in defining my perceptions of the team, this method was appropriate as our team was a “temporary ad hoc team” (Alge et al. 2003, p.26). Within this type of team, the members are more focused on the task rather than relationship development, leading to a more introverted environment (Alge et al. 2003). However, it is important to note that the majority of times, the tendency to utilise shortcuts in forming a perspective results in dissonance.

PersonalityWithin the Everest simulation, we had to take into account the health status of each member. In our team, there was a large focus on not letting a member get taken away by helicopter. Furthermore, when the critical condition first appeared, it caused a large amount of concern, capturing a significant amount of attention from every person. When we were confronted with the choice of ascending the mountain, there was strong support against ascending the mountain as it would increase the risk of deteriorating health. The reactions from the group reflected on the group’s risk taking stance, illustrating that our group was extremely risk averse. However, part of the reason that contributed to the displayed risk adverse nature of the group would have been due to the lack of familiarity between members, which made it more difficult to force risk onto others.

Based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, individuals are classified into multiple categories, in which one of the main ones define each person as an introvert or an extrovert. An introvert is defined with traits such as “unsociable, reserved, pessimistic, anxious”, compared to an extrovert who is “sociable, optimistic, carefree” (Eysenck and Eysenck 1963 cited in Lakshmi 2008, p.61). Personally, based on these traits, I would be classified as an introvert, and this was reflected in my participation during the simulation. Although I was the expedition leader designated by the Everest simulation, I did not effectively influence many decisions. Instead, I was more inclined to accept the individual decisions of members, forgoing my unique objectives in the task, causing my personal score to be 40%. Even though I desired them to follow my decision, there would have been ensuing conflict, and thus I decided to withhold my ideas. This typically demonstrated introvert behaviour, where I was faced with difficulty in communicating my ideas to others (Lakshmi 2008).

Power and ConflictPower refers to “the ability to mobilise resources (human and machine) to get things done” (Kanter 1979 cited in Politis 2004, p.199). Initially, as seen in the team contract, we agreed on the idea of group consensus as “decisions are not taken by individuals but by groups” (Bosman et al. 2006, p.36). Thus, power was evenly distributed towards all team members so the group would make a decision and only in the case of strong disagreement would there be the team leader who would decide on the final outcome. However, this was not experienced in the simulation, as initially, the decision making during the simulation was finalised after group discussion resulting in a united view. This transitioned into multiple perspectives with every member making an individual decision due to the nature of the simulation, where each individual had to submit their own answer, in addition to time restraints. This completely altered how we approached the task, reducing the overall awareness about the actions of the other members. In conjunction to this, there was no enforceability on the team contract, leading to the agreements written on the contract rendered null.

Furthermore, in our group it was evident that the majority of power originated from one base of power, reward power. Every member of the team was able to exercise reward power, due to the mutually beneficial goal of completing the simulation. This was due to the desire for positive gains, in the form of potential marks, making it in the best interests of the team to cooperate. Throughout the experiment, it could be seen that some members in the team were more committed to the task compared to others. This was seen as team members were not always actively listening and speaking out. Thus, although everyone in the group had been given equal power, some members were observed to hold more power than others as all members did not “attach the same salience to the decision” (Honert 2001, p.275). Although they have power, it is dormant power so they seem to not possess power over others, yet it is due to their lack of desire to affect the outcomes in the task rather than a lack of power (Honert 2001). It is also important to note the possibility that this is due to a different in their perception of power, as they may believe they actually hold less power than others, thus causing them to stay quiet and not participate. The cause of this would have been due to the unfamiliarity between members. As the leader of the group within the simulation, I should have tried to induce a more authoritative image and exercise more formal power based on the contract to attain stronger team cohesion.

Conflict was another factor that influenced the decisions in our unit. The unique roles present in the simulation grant each team member different objectives, creating task based conflict. To fulfil their individual goal, another’s objective was required to be foregone, giving rise to “multicriteria conflict” (Deparis et al. 2012). This was evident via the low group score as well as the low individual points for every member. The incompatibility between the goals resulted in an inability to reach a collective agreement. However, due to the decision making processes, a unanimous verdict was unnecessary. Thus, with separate final answers from each member, the simulation continued and resulted in members branching off in the simulation, ending up at multiple different camp sites resulting in a final result of 44%.

Moreover, the barrier of unfamiliarity that existed within the group held back the ability for everyone to harmonise with each other. I, like the others did not disclose all the information I received, and only provided the basics, such as my assigned role in the simulation. This illustrated our communication flaws, and held back and potential synergy. The conflict between successfully achieving either personal or group goals prevented an optimal level of discussion within the group. If the rest of the members and I had revealed all our information, we could have produced an outcome that would maximise each individual’s marks as well as the group score regardless of the conflict that would arise due to the different objectives, as ”conflict can stimulate the uncovering and discussion of information” in order to “make a more informed decision” (Stasser and Titus 1987 cited in Peterson and Harvey 2009, p.284). The overall performance of the team netted 44% with the result demonstrating the impact of multicriteria conflict on the team. My inefficiencies as a leader were clear and by having a stronger presence and more awareness of each member’s goals, it would have allowed me to guide the rest of the team proficiently through the simulation. The ability to be able to assert power over others, especially when there is no prior relationship between a leader and followers is necessary for a successful leader, as in my case, I was unconfident in such a task, leading to a lack of direction in the group.

CommunicationOne of the core foundations of any successful team is efficient communication. The most commonly used method of communication is via face to face interaction. We believed that virtual communication methods would have limited our ability to effectively exchange and process information. Also, due to the fact that face to face communication is the most effective form of information transfer, resulting in our decision to use that method to improve our teamwork during the simulation. The advantages of this method were easily noticeable during our task, as the face to face interactions were “facilitative of building shared knowledge” (Zack 1994 cited in Alge 2003, p.29). This benefitted us, as it allowed us to focus and listen to the information presented by the other members with more ease which provided a clearer exchange of opinions between members wherever possible.

Yet, there were still flaws within the communication. Despite the fact that we were using a face to face approach, everyone’s unfamiliarity with each other reduced its overall effectiveness. Thus, the majority of time was spent mainly looking at the computer screen, losing part of the value of the approach which made it more difficult to effectively communicate to all members. The surrounding circumstances we were in were also a major barrier than hindered communication. We only had half an hour to complete the simulation as there was a time limit on the library computers we were doing the simulation on. This resulted in rushed decisions and a lack of cohesion as all significant information was not disseminated across the members. The pressure of the time limit forced non unanimous decisions as we were unable to discuss enough about each action. Furthermore, as we were completing the simulation in a library, the environment caused us to talk quietly in order to not disturb others. This prevented fluent communication throughout the task as there was difficulty in transferring information clearly. It was clear that an inadequate amount of time was set aside for planning, as we wouldn’t have experienced these hindrances otherwise. Thus, it is evident from our group’s experience that external factors weighed heavily on our ability to communicate, tearing down our ability to work together through factors that disrupted a strong transfer of thoughts.

In the Everest simulation, every member in the team was designated a specific role and each role had their own particular objectives. Thus, trust was another vital component that influenced our communication and overall performance, as “nowhere is trust more critical than in teams where members bring divergent goals” (Sarker 2011, p.275). In my experience of the simulation, I created a view of my team members using assumed similarity. This resulted in my view that my colleagues would provide all correct information as required throughout the task, paralleling what I intended on doing. This initial high level of trust, known as ‘swift trust’ (Robert Jr. 2009, p.242) allowed us to maintain a steady focus on the task, as there were no cases of relationship-based conflicts. This was critical within our team, as it promoted more team discussion by helping build confidence in every member, illustrating the fact that “trust affects performance, and even more so when tasks are highly interdependent” (Robert Jr. 2009, p.242). Moreover, our group did not establish a hierarchy, and we were content to distribute power across all members during the simulation. This also aided in increasing trust among members, as the equal distribution of power nullified the idea of any potential gains through an abuse of power. As no member had any dominant power, there was no chance for selfish decisions that would hinder any other member. Thus, strong communication links arose from the trust between members, with external factors being the main source of hindrance to our team’s outcome.

ConclusionFrom the analysis of our team’s experiences, the simulation tested our ability to communicate and work together. Overall, I believe our group performed strongly in the task, considering the unfamiliarity between members and the face that there was only one attempt with minimal prior information. There was strong communication within the group, with everyone bringing in positive contributions and personalities. However, flaws within the team were evident, such as the commitment and attitude towards the task. Furthermore, the environment we attempted the task in greatly influenced the result, as it hindered our communication and decisions. Thus, our team had demonstrated sound cooperation during the simulation and attained “knowledge-building experiences” (Alge2003, p.28) and a repeat of the simulation would result in an improvement of the simulation results for both individuals and the group.

AppendicesGoals on TrackLeader:

Reach Summit – 0

Complete climb without needing to be rescued – 3

All climbers reach summit – 1

All climbers complete climb without needing to be rescued – 4

All climbers stay together through Camp 4 – 0

All climbers stay together through summit – 0

Points for Personal Goals – 8

Total Possible Points – 20

Percent of Goals Achieved – 40%

Team ContractTeam Name: Team 46

Name Role Contact

1 Jonathan MokLeader j.mok94@hotmail.com

2 Malin Olsson Doctor olsson-malin@hotmail.com

3 RahilaParachaPhotographer rahila.paracha@gmail.com

4 Chan Park Marathoner 5 Theodore Quach Environmentalist The_o_Dore_rules@msn.com

6 RishikeshanSabesanObserver Pridgy.1993@gmail.com

Team Procedures

Day, time, and location of team members for Everest:

September 10, 2012, Monday, in the library at 9AM

Preferred method of communication before and during Everest 2 (i.e., e-mail, mobile, chat function, face-to-face in a specified location).

Before the climb


During the climb

Face to face

After the climb


Team goal for Everest:

Get to top of Everest

Decision-making policy (By consensus? By majority vote? By team leader?):

By consensus

Team Participation

How will we resolve conflict?

Discuss and vote

Strategies for encouraging/including ideas and debate from all team members :

Don’t criticize in the beginning and engage in discussion

Strategies for achieving our goal:

Work through the assignment carefully

Preferences for leadership (team leader only, shared leadership):

Team leader only

Personal Accountability

Expected individual attendance, punctuality, and participation at Everest:

Be on time and if you can’t attend, let someone know beforehand. Everyone should try to be involved and put in the effort to express our opinions.

What are the consequences for lack of engagement in Everest?

It will be difficult to write the report for the individual if the person is not involved in the simulation.

Reference ListAlge, B.J., Wiethoff, C. and Klein, H.J. (2003), ‘When does the medium matter? Knowledge-building experiences and opportunities in decision making teams.’ Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 91: 26-37.

Bosman, R., Hennig-Schmidt, H. and van Winden, F. (2006). Exploring group decision making in a power-to-take experiment, Experimental Economics, 9(1): 35-51.

Deparis, S., Mousseau, V., Öztürk, M., Pallier, C. and Huron, C. (2012). When conflict induces the expression of incomplete preferences, European Journal of Operational Research, 221 (3): 593-602.

Honert, R.C. van den (2001). Decision power in group decision making: a note on the allocation of group members’ weights in the multiplicative AHP and SMART, Group Decision and Negotiation, 10(3): 275-286.

Lakshmi, N.V. (2008). Personality profiling of introverts and extroverts, ICFAI Journal of Soft Skills, 2(3): 60-67.

Robert Jr., L.P., Dennis, A.R. and Yu-Ting, H.C. (2009). Individual swift trust and knowldge-based trust in face-to-face and virtual team members, Journal of Management Information Systems, 26(2): 241-279.

Peterson, R. and Harvey, S. (2009), ‘Leadership and conflict – using power to manage conflict in groups for better rather than worse’, in Power and Interdependence in Organisations, eds D. Tjosvola & B. Wisse, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 281-298.

Politis, J. D. (2004). The influence of managerial power and credibility on knowledge acquisition attributes, Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 26 (3): 197-214.

Saari, L.M. and Judge, T.A. (2004). Employee attitudes and job satisfaction, Human Resource Management, 43(4): 395-407.

Sarker, S., Ahuja, M., Sarker, S. and Kirkeby, S. (2011). The role of communication and trust in global virtual teams: a social network perspective, Journal of management information systems, 28(1): 273-310.