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West Coast Transit Case Study

West Coast Transit Case Study

Criteria for Evaluating Effective Team/Group Work

The three criteria for team effectiveness evaluation include task performance, members’ satisfaction, and team viability. Teams are formed to perform diverse tasks, some of which may be formal or informal. Also, teams are composed of individuals with different personalities and capabilities, creating different interests within the group. To that end, an effective team should accomplish an assigned task effectively despite the differences (Schermerhorn, 2012). The team should also be able to accomplish specific goals within the pre-determined time and deliver the required quality and quantity outcomes. For the case at hand, the West Coast team should formulate a marketing strategy within six weeks ahead of the launch of the new aircraft. The team’s effectiveness will be evaluated based on the ability to deliver within the stipulated time.

The second criterion is members’ satisfaction. Team members are satisfied if they believe their participation and experiences are positive and meet critical personal needs (Schermerhorn, 2012). In this case, members’ personal needs may include the desire to feel a sense of work/life balance. Another source of members’ satisfaction is if they are comfortable with the tasks assigned to them. Besides, members’ satisfaction is judged based on whether members are comfortable with the existing relationships within the group (Schermerhorn, 2012). On the West Coast, it is apparent that the team is ineffective based on this criterion. For instance, some members are concerned with the lack of overtime pay despite the complexity of the upcoming project. Mohoney and Tanney are concerned about the lack of overtime pay. Also, Tanney is having strained relationships with the team leader for downgrading her problems.

The third criterion is team viability, which encourages team members to work together on an ongoing basis. Where there is team viability, members proceed to the next task together after accomplishing one task harmoniously (Schermerhorn, 2012). The ability of team members to collaborate gives key insights into the team’s potential. Team viability is lacking in the West Coast project team as members seem to lack a common sense of purpose.

Tuckman’s Five Stages of Group Formation

According to Abudi (2010), the five stages of group formation include forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. In forming, members are recruited into the team and assigned different tasks. At this stage, members also start to get acquainted with their colleagues in the team. The lingering questions among group members at this stage may include: how will the group benefit me? What are the group’s expectations of me? Team members also learn what is acceptable in the group and what is not. For West Coast’s case, Denson Pete had already recruited qualified members to the team poised to draw the marketing strategy.

Another stage evident from West Coast’s case is the norming stage. At this stage, group members express emotionality and disagreement. There is a chance of coalitions and cliques since members are competing to impose their preferences on others (Abudi, 2010). At this stage, outside pressures such as premature individual expectations may also create tensions as they pressure the members. Notably, members get to understand each other’s personalities and styles of work, which will inform collaboration in the future. One of the instances of emotionality visible in this case is when Tanney expresses her reservations about Pete Denson’s decision to address her problems as complaints.

The third stage of team formation is the nominal stage, also known as the initial interaction stage. Team members experience a relatively harmonious atmosphere at this stage compared to the forming stage. The turmoil experienced in the norming stage plays a key role in helping members understand one another better to work together (Schermerhorn, 2012). Members may ignore some misunderstandings at this stage since they focus more on holding the group together than fulfilling their interests. A sense of team maturity sets in, but members should be careful not to assume that the group is fully functional.

The next stage is the performing stage, also known as the total integration stage. Here, the group is mature and effectively composed to perform its functions (Schermerhorn, 2012). Members are also better equipped to handle complex tasks and manage internal conflicts. Besides, at this stage, the team should be able to adapt to emerging opportunities and challenges. Members continually strive to improve relationships and performance.

The fifth and final stage of group formation is the adjournment stage. Here, members are required to adjourn once the group’s goals are accomplished (Abudi, 2010). The adjournment stage is particularly critical for specific groups, such as project teams and task forces. Such groups work on projects under a tight deadline, and the group’s success is based upon members’ willingness to adjourn and reconvene later if required.

Schein’s three behavioral profiles 

Schein’s three behavioral profiles include the tough battler, friendly helper, and objective helper. Firstly, the tough battler handles the rest of the team in an aggressive manner. There is an underlying conviction that one does not fit in the team; hence, one may likely exhibit insubordination (Schermerhorn, 2012). On the West Coast, these characteristics effectively describe Tanney’s behavior. The solution to such a profile is to let one offer their specialized skills and talents.

On the other hand, the friendly helper is associated with uncertainty, lack of confidence, insecurity, and dependence on the rest of the team. In most cases, the friendly helper is likely to help other team members gain acceptance or affiliate with a certain clique (Schermerhorn, 2012). Mahoney perfectly fits the profile of a friendly helper based on his behavior. At some point, Mahoney encourages team members to see the bigger picture and stop complaining about the lack of payment. The best way to support a friendly helper is to help them gain confidence.

Finally, there is an objective helper who mainly focuses on their strengths. An objective helper seeks to align the group’s objectives with their interests. Other characteristics include passiveness, reflectiveness, and independent thinking (Schermerhorn, 2012). Lea Jing exhibits characteristics that fit this profile. The best way to support an objective helper is by supporting them to ensure an alignment between individual and team roles.

Effective Communication

The communication level among team members was not effective. One of the reasons for the team’s poor communication is the limited time allocated by the company for the team to converse on some issues of interest to the group (Ahmed et al., 2010). The team only had six weeks to deliver the marketing strategy document; hence, there was no time to engage during the norming stage. Another existing barrier to communication is that team members did not have a prior working interaction. The managers were drawn from different departments, meaning they did not have prior experience communicating with one another.

Two Main Types of Conflicts

According to Schermerhorn (2012), there are two main types of conflicts: substantive and emotional conflicts. On the one hand, a substantive conflict occurs when group members disagree on the team objectives and plans to attain the objectives. On the other hand, emotional conflict refers to the mistrust, dislike, fear, or insecurity occasioned by the group’s diverse personalities. Substantive and emotional conflicts are evident in the West Coast case study. A substantive conflict occurs when Mahoney and Tanney express reservations about the possibility of completing a strategic plan within six weeks. On the other hand, the tension between Denson Pete and Taney regarding Pete’s language use is emotional.

Direct Conflict Management Approaches

The conflict facing West Coast’s strategy planning team may be resolved using direct or indirect conflict management strategies. The most viable indirect conflict management strategy is to encourage the team to focus on their common goals. West Coast risks losing its competitive edge and customers, a development that may lead to employee layoffs. Based on the risk of losing employment, team members should look at the bigger picture and collaborate (Shariq et al., 2022). The manager may also adopt a direct conflict management strategy such as the win-win strategy. The win-win strategy is characterized by assertiveness, collaboration, and problem-solving, with the company objectives and team members bound to benefit. If the management adopts the win-win strategy, they must review the team members’ concerns about overtime pay.

Leadership and Maintenance Activities

One of the maintenance activities recommended for the West Coast strategy team is reconciliation. The tension between Mahoney and Tanney threatens the attainment of the group’s objectives. The recommended leadership task is information sharing. It is incumbent upon the manager to provide up-to-date and regular information to team members to enable them to create a good strategic plan within the stipulated time. Disrespect is the most disruptive behavior that should be avoided in the West Coast team. There is obvious disrespect between Denson Pete and Tanney regarding Pete’s language use. Given Tanney’s reaction, disrespect is a disruptive behavior that threatens to prevent the team from attaining its objectives.

Motivation Strategies

The West Coast case shows that Jing is motivated, having reviewed the objectives and drawn her recommendations. The actions show that Jing has personal initiative (Schermerhorn, 2012). The existing motivation problem for Jing is that she is likely to be transferred to another department soon. Mahoney should consider delegating some leadership roles to Jing since she has already proved her leadership capabilities.

On the other hand, Tanney and Mahoney lack motivation. Mahoney’s motivation factors include influencing and persuading colleagues and personal growth. Denison can fulfill his desires by listening to him more and assuring him that his opinion will be impactful on the team. Also, overtime payment will motivate him if such a plan is feasible. On the other hand, one of the motivation strategies that will suit Tanney’s interests is to reschedule her tasks to help her attain a work/life balance. Also, Tanney expressed the desire for overtime pay, and Denson should do so if feasible. Finally, Tanney’s behavior showed that she needs power, and Denson may fulfill this by applying the acquired needs theory.


Abudi, G. (2010). The five stages of team development: a case study. Project Management, Project Smart.

Ahmed, Z., Shields, F., White, R., & Wilbert, J. (2010). Managerial communication: The link between frontline leadership and organizational performance. In First Annual Genera Business Conference Conference Proceedings (Vol. 69).

Schermerhorn, J. R. (2012). Organizational behavior. John Wiley & Sons.

Shariq, S., Bint-e-Zain, S., Mirza, M., Akram, H., & Saleem, M. F. (2022). Conflict Management

Strategies And Employee Performance In the Banking Sector Of Pakistan. Webology (ISSN:1735188X)19(3).


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The purpose of this assignment is to analyze methods of poor communication and its effect on motivation, teamwork, and effective conflict management and resolution.

Write a paper (1,600-1,800 words) in which you address the following based on the information provided in the “West Coast Transit Case Study” resource.

West Coast Transit Case Study

West Coast Transit Case Study

Describe the three criteria for evaluating effective team/group work (as stated in the textbook) and use the criteria to analyze the effectiveness of the team.
Review each of the five stages of group formation. Determine what stage(s) are evident in the case and provide a justification of your response.
Apply Schein’s three behavioral profiles to specific members of the team. Identify how the profiles are demonstrated in the case.
Evaluate whether the communication among the participants in the case was effective or not. Justify your answer by considering any existing barriers to communication.
Review the two main types of conflicts described in the textbook. Explain how each type of conflict is evident in the case.
Propose how Denson should resolve the conflict in this case using one direct conflict management approach. Justify your response as to why this is the most realistic direct conflict management approach given the existing dynamics between and among team members.
Identify one specific leadership activity and one specific maintenance activity that should be encouraged. Identify the most significant disruptive behavior that should be discouraged.
Identify a significant motivational problem experienced by each individual: Jing, Mahoney, and Tanney. Describe how Denson should motivate each person. Be sure to provide a specific motivational suggestion for each person based on their motivational needs. Ensure that you have at least one suggestion from each of the motivational theory/techniques: content theories, process theories, and reinforcement strategies.
You are required to use at least two external scholarly sources in addition to the textbook and the case study resource.

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.

You are required to submit this assignment to LopesWrite. A link to the LopesWrite technical support articles is located in Class Resources if you need assistance.

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