Being a business major in college has led me to realize one thing: that working in teams provides an education in patience and not productivity.

Formation:
Groups are either randomly assigned, or created with the remnants of students that don’t have three other friends in class.


Makeup:
The basic makeup is often very similar. There’s a self-elected leader, the one person (usually female) that has a high GPA to uphold, and doesn’t want to rely on teammates that she views as remedial. Then there’s at least a pair of friends that want to share all responsibilities of their share of the project. This is usually allowed because together they only form one functioning brain. Finally, there’s the lazy guy who never speaks up or offers any insight. Their goal (usually a guy) is to fall between the cracks, and hopefully have as little work delegated to them as possible. A successful group should be between those two extremes, but that rarely occurs when not in a professional atmosphere.


Problems:
  1. No three members have coinciding schedules, there’s always at least one member that has a job that seems to fill all possible meeting times available.
  2. All decisions are either made by the leader’s dictatorship, or they’re made in an extremely slow and prolonged democratic system. Where a few people hesitantly provide a few alternatives, and each person votes on his preferred method. The biggest hindrance being the consistent response, “I’m okay with whatever you want to do.” Which is replied with, “Well, I’m okay with whatever too.”
  3. Sometimes a project cannot be evenly distributed among teammates. Often times, there’s at least one section that requires much more depth and work than all the others. Also, there may be three distinct sections and four group members, meaning that someone is blessed with simply “putting the paper together” and writing the 1-page introduction.
  4. 4. Without fail there’s a team member that begins to act condescendingly towards the other members because they feel they’re doing the brunt of the work. Obviously, this usually occurs to the self-elected leader. They place themselves in charge of correspondence with the teacher and the overall group. By sending out at least two emails a day, they believe they’re single-handedly holding the group together. They also spend a great deal of time on “research” and other miscellaneous activities, without actually making any noticeable progress on the final paper itself.
  5. 5. You (fellow E2 noders) are usually the only tech-savvy individual in the group. Meaning, for the sake of efficiency, you’re forced to “volunteer” for all computer intensive duties, which is the majority of many non-research projects.

Unfortunately, this process will continue to be used by all colleges for years to come because of one fact – it’s exactly like the real world. The group of mostly comprised of people who don’t really care how this project turns out, they simply want to do just enough to not get in trouble. Furthermore, managers are often as inept as a self-appointed group leader. They’re placed in a position of leader without the consent of the group, and therefore they have little respect for that individual. They’re main concern is with the “boss” (teacher) because he’s in charge of passing out the checks (grades). In a synergistic and oblique way college is a useful gauge for what our futures hold. The workplace is not enjoyable, rarely fair, and never efficient.

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