Observation of a Community Group
Observation of a Community Group
Every human being feels the need to accomplish some objectives in life. Some of the goals can be achieved at a personal level while some can only be attained through cooperation with others. Therefore, forming or joining a group is important so that members can achieve better results through interaction and exchange of ideas. Group formation requires written or unwritten agreement that seeks to guide members throughout their interactions. These methods involve proper guidance and participation by all the members. As such, this paper seeks to explain the observation of Arcadia Performers group dynamics which is located in Hampton three miles from Towson, Maryland. The group primarily deals with raising money for charity purposes.
My interactions with the group yielded very useful information on its inception and development. First, the group was formed back in 2009 with the aim of offering charity services and donations to the poor around the community town. It currently has eleven members in total with each member being assigned a task that they must accomplish on a weekly basis. Second, during the formative stage of the group, the members had to get familiar with each other since they were from different places and had only met in the town during their college years. I did also observe that the group holds informal meetings in which they talk politely to each other and share a lot of basic about themselves and their visions for the future. Some of the members remained quiet during the early days of forming listening to their active counterparts. Nonetheless, I did not understand their motive as they seemed to be of different opinion from the rest of the members. Over time, I noticed that on some occasions, some members did not show up in meetings despite the fact that they needed to have approval from their leader. But during meetings, there was active participation by most of the members although it was uneven. They seemed to avoid controversy at all costs.
I also found out that the group’s critical moment came during their selection of a leader. It took several three successive meeting for members to select their leader. They took a month after the group’s registration to resolve their differences how to appoint group leaders. However, the members conducted the meetings well through written agenda and agreed on the scope of objectives and commitments of the group. Some of the suggested activities included raising fees for needy students.
Towards the middle of 2010, the group seemed to have entered the norming stage where some members had begun showing signs defiance. However, the group leader kept to his mandate of steering the group forward. This is the reason they needed to have one leader and the rest assigned specific duties such as secretarial, financial management, and event organization. Eventually, the group almost collapsed since some of the members wanted to have all the credit for the achievement. This did not go well with some members since it appeared like a competition. Nevertheless, some suppositions were reached through compromise rather than a consensus.
The group showed sign of maturity since 2011, and the attitudes of the members had changed significantly. For instance, I attest to the fact that the members’ cohesion was higher because there were reduced disagreements and quarrels instead of collaborative discussions. Members had over time felt the need to understand the reasons behind each other’s arguments. As such, they learnt to use questions to seek clarification. This enabled the group to discuss their problems to find the best solutions. Most important the group seemed to have a clear leadership structure that embraces teamwork as a strategy for their success.
I identified several strengths in Arcadia Performers group. First, operating as a group has helped them brainstorm and come up with useful ideas as well as concepts. For instance, to get the attention of the parents whose children needed help, they introduced kids’ functions during weekends where they could quickly identify those who could not afford to pay for certain games despite the prices being lowered. Secondly, I recognized that group members had time to exercise their ability for critical thinking to find a solution which they had been assigned. This was essential since the group had to come up with unique methods to achieve their objectives, which required obtaining sufficient information. Thirdly, I noted that the interpersonal relationships among the members had improved as compared to what had been described to me to have happened during the formative and storming stages of the group. They had become more tolerant with each other through using polite words and appropriate gestures. Finally, all the ideas of the group were thoroughly scrutinized through probing. This enabled the members to be more open with each other and commit to their roles to the group activities.
I noted that the group also had some weaknesses. First, when some of the members were asked too many questions about an issue, they thought they were being investigated or blamed for their ideas. Consequently, they reacted through reserving some of their thoughts instead of causing a conflict. Secondly, reaching decisions always takes time since every member must be comfortable with suggestions that are to be accepted by the group. Finally, some cheeky members were said to avoid working as hard as possible when an assignment was to be conducted by all the members. This allowed other members contribute and reduce the burden to the most active members.
It was also notable that Arcadia Performers group operates within a set of norms so that they will remain ethical and avoid conflicts within themselves and with the authorities. Some of the most dominant patterns were that no member was supposed to work or participate in group events under the influence of alcohol. They had to be sober all the time, especially during the group meetings and events. Moreover, the members were required to be smartly dressed so that they look smart to the clients and the society. Also, the members were prohibited from participating in any acts of violence so that they can take part in group activities and avoid being in conflict with the police. Also, all members are expected to be respectful of each other at all times and not talk ill about another member. Finally, members were supposed to have tangible progress in their ordinary lives through the initiatives of the group. Some of the expected changes were that they have respect and enough time with their families and that, they must be pursuing a course aimed at community development.
It became apparent that the group had entrusted two people as the group leaders, a chairperson, and her assistant. The rest of the members had specific duties, which were supervised by the two. The main purpose of the chair was to hold the group together and offer direction so that they remain focused on the objectives. Moreover, the chairperson chaired all the meetings, but her assistant would take over if in her absence. It was also notable that the leadership in the group is democratic since all the members contribute to the wellbeing and success of the group through hitting targets on their assigned roles. Moreover, although the chairperson acts as the key decision maker, she seeks the intellectual input of each of the members so that the decisions reached are acceptable. To maintain the standards of the group, the members were planning on enrolling into leadership courses so that they become more efficient in carrying out their duties and offering direction and guidance in the community.
I also deduced another aspect of group’s dynamics. The group observes communication keenly. They believe that when there is effective communication, there is more satisfaction as well as improved performance. They said their leader was more proficient in passing on messages to the group members despite the occasional differences in opinions. Furthermore, she was a good listener who is willing to listen to anybody in the group. More so, that when making difficult decisions on behalf of the group, she encourages participation by all the members and offers sufficient and inclusive feedback as quickly as possible. Furthermore, the group has established sites on social media platforms where they interact with each other as well as other members of the public. This has enabled the reduction of unnecessary meetings and sharing of a wide range of ideas when the group is not in a position to meet.
Since working in groups often leads to a conflict of interests, Arcadia is not exceptional. There are times when their disagreements were too much, and the group was unable to progress until the problems were resolved. I sought to find out their conflict resolution structures and how effective they were by tactfully posing hypothetical scenarios to the members during our interactions. First, the group identifies the source of the problem and all its pertinent information. Secondly, the members involved in the conflict are asked to trace the beginning of their misunderstanding so that the cause can be identified. Thirdly, all the members of the group are involved in seeking solutions through brainstorming in the absence of the members involved in the conflict. A mediator is then found, and the members present their case. After the discussions, the judge who is the chairperson presents the solutions by other members and lets the aggrieved parties decide on the one that they feel is more practical and applicable to their situation. Finally, an agreement is reached, and the two members shake hands as a sign of working together again.
There are several lessons I took from the group. Regarding the administrators who interact with the members of the group, there is a lot of compliance with the legal and ethical requirements. More so, the group exhibits the success of effective leadership concerning conflict resolution, communication, as well as adhering to the norms and goals of the group. Additionally, they proved that it is possible to handle projects through holding the group together and reaching a decision through consensus rather than compromise. On a more personal level, the group challenged me to be able to work together with other members of the groups to which I belong. Furthermore, I have learnt the important of sticking to and doing assigned tasks to the best of one’s ability. This is instrumental in enhancing one’s critical thinking skills, beating deadlines and consulting with others.
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