Re: Making group work palatable

Subject: Re: Making group work palatable
From: Len Olszewski <saslpo -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 1996 22:08:11 GMT

In article <01BBE130 -dot- 1CC9FD20 -at- eric -dot- engagenet -dot- com>, Eric Haddock
<eric -at- ENGAGENET -dot- COM> writes:
|> I don't know why, but I don't like group projects in the school setting.
|> It's an odd quirk because I play well with others out in the real world.
|> It's just group+school=distaste.


Collaboration, in reality, is an exercise in taking a mix of different
skills in order to get a better product, or getting a product in a
shorter amount of time. If the collaboration yields neither, there is
recourse in the form of performance appraisals, process adjustments, and
so on.

In the academic world, collaboration is often a good student doing all
the work while the slackers who maneuvered to be on the good student's
team doing as little as possible. Teams are usually assigned
arbitrarily, with no real goal in mind, or based on preferences of the
participants. There is no recourse if things develop badly. I agree with
Eric. I've been on the short end of a lot of these kinds of projects.

Real collaboration serves a business purpose. Class collaboration is not
instructive of the way real collaboration occurs. You need to define who
is going to do what, how each of the collaborators is going to
contribute, and then develop working processes to have the work
intelligently distributed to make use of all of the strengths of the
contributors. If the collaboration is a matter of arbitrary convenience,
none of that is possible.

Even in reality, collaboration is often not palatable, depending on how
well key contributors work together. In an academic setting, it may not
be possible to make it palatable.

Len Olszewski, "A professional does his best work when he doesn't
saslpo -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com feel like it." Alistair Cooke
919-677-8000 x7487 *********My opinions; you go get your own.********

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