This assignment is designed to get you to think about how you would function as a leader in a situation where there is cultural conflict among people who are from various parts of the world, but who must work together as professionals.
Assume you are the leader of a six-person team, and all team members work out of an office in New Jersey. The team is a diverse group, including people from different backgrounds, ages, and perspectives. Your team comprises the following individuals:
• John, a 43-year-old African American man has lived in New Jersey his whole life
• Julie, a 22-year-old Asian American woman who just graduated from a college in California
• Tom, a 50-year-old white American man who grew up in a small town in the Midwest
• Jinsoo, a 30-year-old South Korean national who maintains close ties with his homeland
• Darius, a 32-year-old man, now a U.S. citizen, who came to the United States from Iran 10 years ago
• Harpreet, a 30-year-old woman who came to the United States from India with her parents as a young child.
The team is working together on a project for a health care client, called the Monitor Project. This effort has the goal of developing a mobile software application for patient monitoring, and it is due to be delivered in 30 days. You, as the team leader, have a lot riding on this project, including a promotion and a bonus.
But you are having a problem with team dynamics. Darius and Harpreet, the newest members of the team, joined the team three months ago, and each was hired to bring a specialized skill set that is required by the project. The rest of the team members have been together for a year.
All team members, including Darius and Harpreet, need to work together closely. However, these two team members do not get along, and they have been arguing and complaining about each other for the last month. Today, Harpreet complained to you that Darius, as a Muslim, has been deliberately undermining her and does not respect her because she is a woman and a Hindu.
The rest of team is becoming distracted by the situation, and their performance has begun to slip. Your ability to keep the project on schedule is also becoming compromised. You are concerned that the situation will undermine productivity and create an unpleasant work environment.
What do you—their team leader—do? What types of leadership will you use? Describe how you would manage the situation. Your response should take the form of a 4-page double-spaced essay.
Your essay should fully address each of the following components:
1) An assessment of the situation. What is happening, and why?
2) An identification of the general options for addressing the situation. What are the different approaches for dealing with the problem? What leadership behaviors and methods will be needed?
3) Your decision on what you will do and why. What are some options? What is your preferred solution, and why will it work?
4) A description of the specific steps you will take. How, exactly, will you implement your solution?
5) Your expectation for the outcomes of those steps. What do you expect will happen if your solution is successful?
6) A “Plan B.” What will you do if your initial approach does not work out?