Essays on Group Failure - Lack of a Central and Authoritative Leadership Case Study

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The paper "Group Failure - Lack of a Central and Authoritative Leadership" is an outstanding example of a management case study.   John Mathews, a young executive was selected by his manager to attend a two and half week executive development retreat at a remote camp in Northern Minnesota. The major objective of the retreat was to provide relax and enjoyable surroundings to the participants. The total size of the retreat was 60 executive males selected from various from other corporations for spending fifteen days working, living and competing with one another while living in the retreat.

The participants were divided into five groups, each group was provided by a group leader and the total size of each group was of twelve members. In each group, the members were engaged in a variety of athletic and academic activities. The group's activities were arranged in the form of educational activities, physical training and athletic competitions, inter-group and intra-group activities. All the five groups had participated in the activities and at the end of the whole process, the performance of the groups was evaluated. The group performance to which John Mathews was belonging remained unsatisfactory in terms of academic results on an overall basis, in athletics and sports events.

These unexpected results are due to a combination of factors including strong leadership, sincerity in the group, lack of final objectives and targets, poor level of integrity as shown by some members. However, the final results of the group are encouraging as the group had succeeded in the maintenance of harmonious relationship among the participating members. Such type of events is singular importance in the development and growth of human personality as these events help in the development of inter-group and intra-group feelings, provide a chance to the individuals to understand their strengths and weaknesses and to compare their faculties with diverse groups and individuals.

Such type of events also helps in the promotion of understanding and tolerance among individuals of different backgrounds. The participating members can share their experiences and also learn from the other’ s experiences. The corporations/organizations should emphasize the need for the existence of such groups as these groups help in the creation of teamwork spirit among the participating members.

A teamwork spirit is an essential requirement for the success of a joint task to be completed by the team members for desirable results. Johan Mathew’ s group in the executive retreat could not achieve the desired results due to the reason as dismal performance in academic was the result of the existence of central leadership with participatory leadership skills in the field of academic, defeat in the field of sports was the result of prevailing disorganization and de-motivation in the group. The target of twenty-five miles was simply not secured due to the prevailing of a breach in integrity in the group and similarly, the group was lacking a centralized mechanism for the promotion of cooperation and communication without strong top-level leadership. Background Section John Mathews as an executive had participated in a two and half week retreat held at Northern Minnesota.

The total numbers of participants were sixty male executives registered from all other organizations for the retreat. This sixty executive were divided into five groups with twelve members in each group and a separate leader was provided to look after the activities of the group.

The activities of the group were mainly consisting of academics, sports, discussion and twenty-five miles running. All these groups performed their jobs during their stay in the retreat. The group of John Mathews did not give desire results as the group had not adhered to the direction as given by Mr Mark as the guiding principles, which were mainly consisting of three fundamental tools as practised by the leadership in their organization “ is ‘ Think – Communicate – Cooperate’ for their adoption by the group for ensuring their success as the success of the group depends upon the acceptance of the rules as framed by the top leadership.

The executive retreat as organized for the executive was representing a mini informal organization and the success of the group members was chiefly depending on the collective performance of the group members. The non-committed attitude of the group members, lack of strong central leadership, the casual response of the members of the group were the chief reasons as resulted in the failure of the group’ s performance.



1) Robert B. Duncan, “Characteristics of Organizational Environment and Perceived Environmental Uncertainty.” Administrative Science Quarterly 17 (1972), 313-327.

2) Jay R. Galbraith and Robert K. Kazanijan, Strategy implementation, Structure, Systems and Process, 2d ed (St: Paul, Minn: West, 1986)

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