The paper "Human Resource Development, Reflective Observation, Abstract Conceptualisation " is an outstanding example of a management essay. In our group, the first member was a native English speaker, the second spoke it fluently and very well, and for me, I experienced some language challenges since I am an international student. After we were assigned the task, our meetings were somewhat frustrating since some members would arrive late and reluctance to make contributions. I was confident because at least one member was a native English speaker that could confidently make a presentation in front of the audience.
I felt challenged to work with my group given that I had some difficulty with the English language. I concur with Campbell and Li (2008) that small group work in a cross-cultural classroom environment could be problematic because of unequal distribution of effort, lack of clear objectives, contribution disparity amongst the group members, and complexity associated with accommodating language as well as cultural differences in the group. As an international student, my language skills are inadequate and my interpersonal communication skills are still underdeveloped. As a group, we had selected a topic but after two weeks, the group leader decided to change the topic because she had more information for the PowerPoint presentation.
While in the group I learned a number of things; for instance, it came to my attention that a group can only function productively if the members fulfil their individual responsibilities. At first, the group members were less productive since they used to come less prepared and hardly contributed to the group interaction, but with time we all started supporting one another; thus, becoming more and more productive. Personally, I started to function productively in our group, when the group members started valuing my individual contributions.
The fact that the group leader changed the topic after two weeks it is a clear indication that as a group we were not able to make a better decision. Still, I noticed that questioning, constructive deliberation, different perspectives, as well as critical analysis could lead to improved performance and solutions. When working as a group, the performance is always high as compared to working alone. I was able to learn from other group members considering that we were from different backgrounds and culture.
Thanks to the group work, I can now work competently with people who disagree with me. As an international student, I managed to realise the significance as well as the value of group discussions. Group discussion not only enabled me to interact with members from different backgrounds as well as cultures, but also improved my cultural understanding, English language skills, developed my intercultural communication skills, and also enabled me to make new friends.
Still, people could feel desperate, helpless and disheartened to participate in group assignments which need them to complete tasks with shared marks established through the group performance. At first, I had generated some negative attitudes because of the group composition, but my attitude changed when I realised that the members were friendly and understood my shortcoming towards the English language. I experienced a lot from this group assignment, but most importantly my skills in time management, group communication, conflict management, problem-solving, and language skills were tremendously improved.
Campbell, J. & Li, M., 2008. Asian Students’ Perceptions of Group Work and Group Assignments in a New Zealand Tertiary Institution. Intercultural Education, vol. 19, no. 3, pp.203-216.
McLean, P., 2012. Customising management education: designing learning episodes using an open system perspective. In Annual ANZAM Conference: Managing for Volatility and Instability. Perth, Western Australia, 2012. Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management.
Mezirow, J. & Taylor, E.W., 2011. Transformative Learning in Practice: Insights from Community, Workplace, and Higher Education. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Popov, V. et al., 2012. Multicultural student group work in higher education An explorative case study on challenges as perceived by students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, vol. 36, pp.302– 317.