Unwind through eyes of Organizational Behaviour

As the Unwind journey came to an end, it taught us a lot of important lessons and left us enriched with experiences. It was an experience which brought out the best and the worst in each one of us, but we over came our fears and left our inhibitions behind; in the end growing together as a family. The whole section is now one, and not just 61 people put together in a classroom.

We, the management students, learn a lot of concepts in our subject, Organizational Behavior. We saw the practical implementation of many of these concepts in the last 3-4 days. I am sharing some of those experiences here, relating them to the concepts we learnt in the classroom. Maybe, you could relate to a few of them! 

  • As Unwind began, we were divided into a team of 2, each forming an example of an organization (Bhokal and Atreyu), where we had a structured system with groups and individuals, working towards a common objective (of winning the trophy and getting glory to our team).

  • From selection of CRs (Richa and Anand) to represent the team to defining the POC's for each event, we had a clear division of labor. We matched the skill set and abilities of the individual to the requirements of the job, hence making the person-job fit better. Each event had 2 heads, an example of job sharing. This information was shared each member of the team through the mail, to avoid any confusion, hence, maintaining the transparency in the organization.

  • During the initial days of the event, we observed only a few people were interested in actually participating. We assumed Theory X to be true, and forced the people to work with us, without actually providing them the motivation or trying to find out the lack of interest among them for not working. This approach failed miserably, and failed to obtain the desired results in the initial stages.

  • As we proceeded we realized Theory Y is the one which actually works. As the Bhokal team succeeded in creating a wave in its first event (Unveiling Act), people got motivated to work, and the energy levels touched new levels and the engagement automatically increased. The events saw more participation from the individuals. 
What is remarkable is that this change came in a matter of few hours. We realized that under the right circumstances, each individual in the team accepted their responsibilities and that each one of them were fully capable of working productively when provided the right motivation. As our CR's motivated the team, and gave them clearly defined objectives, people worked harder without anyone forcing them to work.

  • The team practiced for the events together in the MDS Common Room. You could clearly see people rehearsing with more energy, when they realized that their team members are observing them. This demonstrates the Hawthorne effect.

  • We saw people coming from different cultures and different backgrounds (no work experience to people with experience of more than 5 years) coming to work together in the team. We had a few like Uppendar (GOD) , Satish (Team B6), Ejaz (footballer) who understood only English and faced difficulties while other communicated in Hindi. We unknowingly ignored this fact at earlier stages, but with time, we changed our language to suit theirs, so the communication is clear. Notice that this is similar to the effect of  globalization we'll observe in actual organizationswhere we'll have to work with people from different cultures and different backgrounds.

  • We all had individual differences and different personalities. Some were morning people, while other preferred working at the night. Some spoke too loudly to make themselves heard, refusing to listen and coordinate. Some worked well as individuals rather than being a part of the team. In the end, we evolved ourselves to suit our styles as per the demand of the job and worked to achieve our results.

  • The key learning of Unwind was the change in perception we felt for many our team members. We perceived others based on our own individual experiences (social identity theory), and through the attribution process assumed the reasons behind their particular behavior hence creating the first-impression error for many of our team mates. Initially, there were perceptual biases present. This affected our decision in the initial stages, but this changed when we got a chance to work together as a team. We recognized each others strengths, and worked together to meet our objectives, leaving our differences behind.
For example, many of us considered Anand, our CR to be aggressive, and difficult to work with, but after working with him we discovered how caring he was as a person. He made special efforts to keep the team motivated and keep them working in sync with each other. He displayed amazing anger management skills at crucial of times, maintaining his calm. Some instances include encouraging everyone before each event, making sure there were enough team members to cheer the ones participating in the event, arranging food and tea for us at midnight and making sure each one of us was well-fed, scolding us when we lost because of complacency from our side, but also appreciating us when we worked hard and brought glory to the team (performance appraisal). He maintained the discipline in the team (sometimes we slept at 5am-6am and woke up at 7am for the next practice), making sure everyone turned up for the practice on time. 

  • Everyday, we lost some events and won some. We experienced daily hassles and daily uplifts after each event. 

  • After winning each event, we celebrated as a team. We were proud of our team members for bringing us glory, which in turn made us feel overjoyed to be a part of the team. This is a subtle example of the concept of basking in reflected glory

  • There were a few instances during the event, when people who performed the best couldn't give the performance they were capable of delivering. Sometimes, there were external causes of behavior which hindered the individuals from giving their best, like in the mess night, the external factors were the unavailability of mic and sound system not being loud enough, causing the dance performances to deteriorate. While at other times, there were internal causes of behavior like lack of sleep, tiredness, etc which affected the performance on individual level. Some of us believed that there existed a fundamental attribution error while judging our performances.

  • Sometimes, I also observed the Halo Effect coming into play. When we saw people performing good in one-two events, it made us assume that they were good at overall management skills. More apparent was the team halo effect. For example, when we lost in dance performance even after having a lot of good dancers in our team, the dancers took the blame and responsibility on themselves (on individual level), rather than considering the lack of coordination and practice for the team as a whole. 

  • Many of us connected with each other because of the similar-to-me effect. For example, I on a personal level connected much more with my room-mate Richa when we shared our passion for the team on the whole, and for being a part of as many events as possible. We both ran together from one meeting to other, struggling together with our studies and exams. This strengthened our friendship in undefinable ways.

  • Our seniors gave us motivation on a regular basis. Their guidance and immense faith in us encouraged us to perform better than we thought. This is a good example of self-fulfilling prophecy (the Pygmalion effect). 

  • We experienced the learning goal orientation, desiring the trophy, the win and recognition of team efforts satisfying our interest of learning new skills which we hadn't tried before, and in meeting the challenges with all constraints (like time constraint, resource constraint, etc.).

  • There existed a stereotype that all from Bhokal team were aggressive and ferocious. Although, this was true in general sense, I believe we had a good mix of people in the team. Some were calm and composed, and managed to maintain the peace, while some others were aggressive, who motivated us and helped us work harder in our tasks.

  • In the whole event, many of us made efforts for impression management as an individual, trying to change the first-impression errors people had about us. 

  • We changed ourselves according to the existing conditions. At first, the focus of the team was on creativity and trying to bring out new ideas. There were many instances, when we failed to achieve the desired results, so we realized that more than creativity and innovation, traditional methods are rewarded (observational learning), we changed our approach while preparing for the events. This example demonstrates law of effect where the operant conditioning took place, i.e. where behaviors with negative consequences were avoided at a later stage (negative reinforcement). 

  • Many of my friends performed on the stage for the first time leaving their fears behind. They did so with confidence because they took training from the other team mates (who had prior experience) and actively learnt.

  • Continuous feedback from the team members helped improve the level of performance in the team. What was admirable was that the feedback was taken positively, and each Bhokali used the feedback to bring the improvement in his/her performance rather than taking it as criticism.

  • During one point of the event, we also experienced role conflict. Although, the roles were clearly defined earlier, due to role juggling by an individual, it became difficult to concentrate on one event. While some others took the charge of handling the event (although not formally) there came the problem of role ambiguity at some stages. Some were even followed by desk rage and disagreements among team members, but a little time-out helped calm down things and achieve greater outputs.

  • Soon the final results of the event was declared, and we lost by a margin of few points. This acted as an acute stressor for each Bhokali. We were unhappy and exhausted. You could sense the change of mood from the expression on the face of each team member. Our flight response was to walk away from the scene. Many of us also tried to change our displayed emotions, and act according to the display rules, but it was quite difficult to hide the felt emotions. Unwind hence taught us the importance of Emotional Stability

  • Unwind was a complete emotional roller coaster ride, where we experienced emotions varying from love, excitement, enthusiasm to being distressed, fearful, jittery (The circumplex model of effect) and what not!

  • In the end, I would like to conclude by saying that, although, it is still difficult to accept the facts, social support from the team has enabled us to be stronger in the situation.We had a great learning experience. The whole Unwind experience increased our cognitive and practical intelligence, but most of all it taught us time management skills and improved our emotional intelligence through its varied experiences.
These were some of the basic application of concepts we learnt through Unwind. There were many other concepts involved in the Unwind experience, which I will be sharing in the next post in the series.

Further motivation by our team-mate Gazzali :WATCH ON YOU TUBE