Case-lets on Teamwork Management for Group Brainstorming and Presentation



Brainstorm the issues within your group and present the same after deciding your solutions/strategies to the questions.

(1) Abdul, Malik, Salim and Rahim were working in different departments of the same company. They were the only Arabs to work in that company comprising of employees of many nationalities as it was a multinational company. The four knew each other, but hardly met as they had different working hours as well as departments and sometimes even different locations. Things were going smoothly for a year after their joining when Abdul realized that he was being discriminated on the basis of his nationality. Malik was the best performer in his department; however, he wasn’t given reward as his boss preferred a British employee, only because he himself was a citizen from the United Kingdom (UK). Salim always depended on the food available in the office canteen as he was a bachelor. For the first six months he compromised with whatever food was offered in the canteen, but gradually realized that the foods available were more suitable for the Europeans, which formed the majority of the employees in the organization. Rahim was always an outgoing personality and he was free and frank in discussing everything with his colleagues and seniors. To his surprise he realized that his free and frank behavior was being wrongly utilized by his peers in earning a bad name for Rahim in front of his colleagues and also the seniors. He didn’t realize this development until he was being reprimanded by his boss on the basis of the informal talk he had with the informal group of colleagues in the office cafeteria. Abdul approached the vice president of his department with his complaint, but it was turned down politely saying there were some problems with his own thinking about others. Malik sent a written complaint through electronic mail to his senior manager, but didn’t get a response even after six months. Salim telephoned his boss about the developments, but he was given a cold response saying he should learn to adjust in a multinational working environment. Rahim wrote to the senior of the human resource department many a times, but was always told that his issue was being noted, which continued for a year without any action on the part of the human resource department. All their strategies failed to resolve their issues and finally they decided to meet together to discuss and resolve each of their issues collectively.



Issues for Discussion

(1)   What do you think was the reason for the developments with Abdul?

(2)   What do you think was the reason for the developments with Malik?

(3)   What do you think was the reason for the developments with Salim?

(4)   What do you think was the reason for the developments with Rahim?

(5)   Why were their cases turned down by their seniors every time by giving some excuses?

(6)   What do you think they could have done to resolve the cases individually?

(7)   What do you think would happen after they decided to meet and solve their problems collectively? Explain with reasons.

(8)   Even though they were from different departments, how do you think team work would have solved their problems?

(2)Shamsa, Aliya, Fatima and Rahma finished their bachelors in business and joined a government college as junior lecturers. After working there for two years all the four were selected for their masters in a university in the United States of America (USA), which was to be funded by their organization. They had to opt for the two year master’s program as their professional growth in the organization and even in other companies would depend upon their qualification. All the four therefore had no other choice but to join the program. Although they were working together and had known each other personally they did not share a very good interpersonal rapport with each other, mainly because they were always concerned about their own interests. This behavior of theirs wasn’t a problem while working as they were in their home country and never really felt the need for teamwork. On reachingUSA, they realized the university campus had students from all over the world and mostly they had informal groups, which at times even helped them in personal and professional issues. They were staying in separate hostels and met in the campus although their university timings were different. At times there were needs to assist each other, but none of them approached the other as their old relationship was to work individually, rather than as a team. As time passed they realized the students in the campus had informal groups based on the region or the country they represented and this unity helped them to solve many of their problems. Shamsa was ill and none of the other three came to help her. Aliya had problems in solving her assignments, but she didn’t approach any of the other three.Fatimawent through a difficult phase in her life after her father expired, but none of them came to motivate her and that led to health related problems for her. Rahma was finding it difficult to adjust with her room partner who was from a different culture, but none of the other three suggested her to join them. These interpersonal strains in their relationships were observed by others and quite often their peers used to take advantage of the absence of teamwork between them. Finally, things became so bad that three of the four had to leave the program midway and return to their country, which also led to them being removed from the job. Shamsa stayed there, but suffered from loneliness which finally affected her health badly.



Issues for Discussion

(1)   What do you think was the reason for their behavior while working together?

(2)   Why did they not understand the importance of teamwork while working together?

(3)   What could they have done before leaving for theUSA?

(4)   What do you think was the reason for the absence of teamwork in their organization?

(5)   Why were they not approaching each other in theUSAwhenever they had problems?

(6)   What do you think they could have done to complete their masters program successfully?

(7)   How do you think teamwork could have saved them from the issues they were facing? Explain with reasons.

(8)   How can teamwork be developed in such an environment where there is no prior experience of working in a team?

(3)Ali, Javed, Fahim and Mohammed were aspiring to be football players. They had good football skills and often played for different clubs in their country. Their individual aim was to play for the European clubs as it would give them recognition and would also help them to earn good money. Ali’s brother was working in theUK. Ali requested his brother to talk with some football clubs there for him. Ali’s brother approached a second division club and they accepted his offer to consider his brother for test before selecting him as a player for one full season. They however, put a condition to it and that was they would need at least 3 to 4 such prospects before choosing any two of them on the basis of their abilities and performance. Ali’s brother informed him to talk to Javed, Fahim and Mohammed about the same so that he along with the others gets an opportunity to play in theUK. Ali wasn’t interested to discuss the offer with them as he feared their participation in the competition would reduce his chances of selection. Javed, Fahim and Mohammed went to play for a friendly match in theUKand were approached by another club for a trial before being selected to play a season there. All the three were asked if they know any other aspiring footballer in their country, to which they spelt out the name of Ali. Ali was called to join them in theUK. After testing the abilities of all the four, Ali was the only person to be selected to play for the club and all the other three were rejected. At that point in time, Ali asked them to contact their brother and negotiate about that old offer from the club. On approaching Ali’s brother they were shocked to know that Ali had not followed the advice of his brother to inform the three about the selection chances in that club. Although they were disappointed, the three went ahead for the test in the old club and all the three got very good offers from a first division club with better monetary benefits, only because of their team playing skills and coordination, which are essential for succeeding in a team game like football. Ali meanwhile was rejected from the team after a season as he was unable to perform and returned home.

Issues for Discussion

(1)   What do you think was the reason for Ali’s behaviour?

(2)   How was Ali different from the other three footballers?

(3)   Why was Ali a failure and the other three succeeded although they had the same playing skills?

(4)   Why do you think teamwork is important in sports even though a player has individual skills?

(5)   Why did the three footballers feel bad after talking to Ali’s brother? What they might have thought about Ali at that point in time?

(6)   How can players be taught teamwork management?

(7)   Do you think team playing abilities is learnt from childhood or can be acquired after becoming an adult? Explain with reasons.

(8)   How can teamwork be developed in such an environment where there is no prior experience of working in a team?

(4)Rayya, Nadira, Salma and Suaad were close friends from the childhood. They were from the same village and went to the same school. Most of the times they were together during their school days as they studied in the same class and at times even discussed all their school related matters together in their home or in the school. It resulted in all the four getting very good grades in the twelfth standard. Their relationship motivated them to join the same college and interestingly all three selected the same branch of study, i.e. engineering. The environment in the college was different from the school as the competition here was more than that of the school. All the students wanted to score good marks as all of them wanted very good job offers from the companies and ministries. The four friends were staying in different hostels with different roommates, but their bonding was intact for the first few months. Soon after that this feeling of competition entered their minds and they stopped meeting regularly and even discussing their college related matters with each other. They had changes in their behavior as well as one became happy when the other failed and became sad when the other succeeded. This individualistic thought was completely opposite to what they had experienced in the school. Soon it was seen that their performances dipped from the second year onwards. They were unable to identify the reason for this poor performance although individually they were working very hard.  This compelled them to ask their course tutors and advisors about the change in their performance. The advisors and course tutors told them that they had individual brilliance, but wasn’t successful in groups and most of the assessments were group activities. They felt that the bonding and teamwork which had brought them good performance in the school was now absent. Now, they realized it was very difficult to come together as a wide space separated all the four from each other.

Issues for Discussion

(1)   Why was there a change in their behavior?

(2)   How do you think that the students learnt the art of working in a team?

(3)   What would you have done to improve your performance in the college even after the development of a wide gap between the friends?

(4)   Do you think school/college was responsible for the presence/absence of teamwork in the organization? Explain with reasons.

(5)   What stopped them from not reaching out to each other even after their poor performance in the school?

(6)   How do you think family values teach teamwork?

(7)   Do you think competition reduces/increases teamwork? Explain with examples.

(8)   How can teamwork be developed in such an environment where there is no prior experience of working in a team?

Case-lets prepared by Dr. Manishankar Chakraborty

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About manishankarscribbles

A management trainer, consultant and faculty with experiences in South Asia, Middle East and Australasia. I am also present in and apart from .
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