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MGMT 1001

Everest Simulation Report


Weighting: 30%

Student Name: Lisa VU


Student ID: z5062280
Course: MGMT1001
Tutorial Time: Wednesday 12pm
Tutors Name: O Fettahlioglu
Date: 15th May 2015

Report Focus
A report reflecting on the experiences of the Everest group simulation with reference to concepts
and theories encountered in this course and through research

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Executive Summary
This report provides a comprehensive analysis of the Everest simulation experience that
requires students in randomly allocated groups, to overcome challenges and work as a team in
relation to frameworks including decision-making, perception and attribution theory. Each
participant is assigned a specific role, including personalised characteristics and individualised
goals. Participants are confronted with the ultimate goal of maximising team goal achievements
whilst avoiding rescue. However, team members are faced with a variety of consequential game
mechanisms such as oxygen scarcity, fluctuating health conditions and unpredictable weather.
Subsequently, team members face the predicament of either avoiding rescue, or possibly losing
the opportunity to reach the summit.
As the first simulation was virtually conducted, it was evident that there was restricted
understanding of each group members personalities and roles, and essentially the game
system itself. Due to no preceding relationships amongst group members, perceptions were
often made which consequently lacked group cohesion and led to our ambiguous decisionmaking, identifying a interrelation between conflicts and poor group performance. However,
these experiences allowed the team to search for methods to improve for the second
simulation, especially within the areas of decision-making and to rectify our perceptions of each
individual member. We were able to establish stronger team connections and rapport through
communicating sessions during tutorials and debriefing sessions on social media via Facebook.
Due to a greater familiarity with each team members behaviours, individual goals and improved
understanding of the simulation system, this enhanced group cohesion and improved overall
percentage of team goals achieved.
Therefore the Everest simulation experience encapsulates a variety of management
frameworks such as factors influencing decision-making, perception and attribution theory. It
discusses how the different managerial theories and factors of both individuals and as a team
had differing impacts on the performance outcomes, and how specific methods catered for
overall improved team performance.

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Table of Contents
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ........................................................................................................................................ 2
TABLE OF CONTENTS .......................................................................................................................................... 3
INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................................................... 4
ISSUES DURING EVEREST .................................................................................................................................. 5
ISSUE 1 ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 5
ISSUE 2 ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 5
ANALYSIS OF THE EVEREST EXPERIENCES .................................................................................................. 6
EVEREST SIMULATION 1: VIRTUAL ........................................................................................................................................ 6
EVEREST SIMULATION 2: FACE-TO-FACE ............................................................................................................................. 8
LEARNING REVIEW ........................................................................................................................................... 10
CONCLUSION ....................................................................................................................................................... 12
REFERENCES ....................................................................................................................................................... 13
APPENDIX ............................................................................................................................................................ 14
EVEREST TEAM CONTRACT ........................................................................................................................... 15

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Introduction
The Everest simulation was conducted in randomly allocated groups of five or six. All teams
were given the opportunity to complete two attempts of the simulation, whereby participants
would virtually ascend Mount Everest to maximise team goals achieved whilst being presented
with numerous challenges. Each member was distributed with a role that included individualised
goals that often conflicted with one another, imitating the complex dynamics of the
contemporary workforce. Due to the lack of pre-existing relationships between team members,
this catered uncertain decision-making conditions that influenced ambiguous decision-making
through bounded rationality in the first simulation. Indeed, there were many factors that had
influenced team performance, stimulating strategic changes to the consensus-based policies
and minimising perceptual distortion guided by the attribution theory that improved the way the
team understood respective behaviours and reasons for poor work performance. This facilitated
significant improvement in the second simulation that was also coordinated by several
advances such as defined team goals and effective decision-making policies, which improved
group cohesion and rapport. This report critically analyses academic research that implicate the
importance of concepts such as decision-making, attribution theory and perception and how
strategies accompanied these frameworks to improve overall team performance.

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Issues during Everest


Issue 1
Due to being placed in randomly allocated groups, none of the team members knew one
another due to a lack of prior interaction during tutorials. This made it difficult to communicate
comfortably, where it was very noticeable that each team member shrouded his or her opinions
unless only approached by the leader. We decided to do a virtual simulation first, using the chat
system and Skype as a way to communicate. Members restricted in voicing their input due to
unfamiliarity with one another and did not want to come across as disrespectful. There was a
clear gap between introverts and extroverts within the team, resulting in a lack of information
sharing and discussions. As the second simulation was opened a few weeks after, the group
got to know each other a lot better during tutorial sessions and outside class. By meeting faceto-face, this provided an easy-going atmosphere that allowed active discussion, interpersonal
communication and information sharing.
Issue 2
There were some technological glitches during the first simulation as some members had very
disruptive background noise that affected the way information was delivered. Also, everyone
was unfamiliar with the Everest simulation and did not research it enough to completely grasp
what their role was, how to play and how to react to certain problems that arose such as falling
health, and calculating the number of oxygen canisters needed. This caused several goal
conflicts within the team that caused a clash in individual opinions. However, as we met
physically for the second simulation, we were better prepared for the program, having
documents analyzing trends and patterns as well as strategies that the team came to a
consensus to. By communicating openly, equipped with a whiteboard, the team could visually
analyze everyones opinion and there were no technological difficulties that prevented effective
information sharing which correlated in better decision-making.

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Analysis of the Everest experiences


Everest Simulation 1: Virtual
We decided to do the first simulation virtually through the utilization of the in-built chat system
and Skype. Being assigned the role of the observer, it allowed me to recognise the
inconvenience of virtual modes of communication in regards to decision-making and the teams
perceptions of one another. Despite the fact that Gera (2013) argues that virtual communication
technology is time-efficient and breaks down geographical barriers, it is also noted that certain
challenges arise if there is no camaraderie within the team (p. 1). This was evident as all
members were unfamiliar with one another, each coming from different high schools as well as
having no pre-existing relationships during the tutorial sessions.
As our team utilized Skype as the main communication medium, there were a variety of barriers
that hindered effective interpersonal communication that correlated to poor decision-making
(Francis, 2011, p.55). This was also influenced by the way we perceived one another, exhibiting
the halo effect by generally connecting the singular significance of our assigned role as
identical to our own behaviour and personality. Portraying the role of the observer, I felt
particularly insignificant because of the lack of roles and qualities that the observer had. Thus,
this relationship between our personal ability to process information, given the resources, can
impact the way our co-workers negatively perceive us (Lord and Smith, 1983, p.52). By having
no individualised goals and information, it restricted my ability to process what was going on
and to provide effective input for group decision-making, which negatively affected the way the
team perceived of my behaviour. Thus this theory links to Martinko and Garners (1987)
fundamental attribution error as leaders are more likely to make internal as opposed to external
attributions for poor member performance (p. 240), epitomizing when the leader criticized my
lack of input in the decision-making process, without taking into consideration the shortage of
information I was virtually accessed to.
Consequently, these perception distortions affected team cohesion in regards to decisionmaking. There was a deliberate shrouding of personal information, as our team was
uncomfortable with responsively discussing issues and opinions due to our unfamiliarity with
each other (Dawson-Shepherd, 1997, p.163). Furthermore, there was evidence of information
overload that became overwhelming with repetitive questions being asked and constant
interruptions over Skype. Alison et al. (2015) critiques that when the decision problem involves
multiple participants and the clarification of team goals are lacking, these barriers hinder teams

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from prompt and efficient discussions on decisions and active implementation which
consequentially leads to decision inertia (p.1). This was evident as it took a while for the leader
to gather everyones thoughts of either staying or moving up base camps, which led to
redundant information being passed continuously.
According to Gera (2013), virtual teams are characterized by demerits like slow feedback, lack
of emotions and visual contact (p.2). Hence, the leader applied the ineffective decision-making
method of bounded rationality due to these barriers. The leader was limited in processing
everyones opinions, which lead to satisficing decisions and accepting alternatives until an
acceptable threshold or least worst option was met. Essentially, the uncertain conditions
surrounding the Everest program such as the unpredictable weather forecasts and the
fluctuating health statuses was particularly demonstrated through the environmentalists rapidly
deteriorating health from strong to critical during camp 1 to 2. Due to not having sufficient
understanding of dealing with falling health situations, the team was unable to virtually assist
one another, which led to the implementation of a minimax choice. As the team tried to come
to a consensus of who should move up to camp 3, there was a miscommunication in which
Francis (2011) describes it as delayed responsiveness (p.56). Thus, the physician accidently
moved up to camp 3, causing severe frostbite that led to her rescue and leaving the
environmentalist by himself in a critical condition with no access to medical supplies.
Furthermore, Kayworth and Leidner (2002) argue that team members can interpret virtual
information based on intrinsic biases (p.9). This may lead to miscommunications,
misunderstandings and perceptive distortions that resulted inefficient decision-making
processes, ultimately leading to poor group performance of achieving only 43% of team goals.
Thus, these virtual communication errors further complicate the conflict between individual and
team goals that essentially impact a teams ability to implement decisions effectively.

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Everest Simulation 2: Face-to-face
For the second simulation, the group recognized the high degree of group interdependence and
the mechanisms of the Everest program to purposely challenge personal and team goals, thus
organising a face-to-face interaction in a study room. During the time period between both
simulations, the team became more comfortable with one another due to the familiarity of
interacting as a group during tutorial sessions and debriefing meetings.
Sharma (2010) analyses that when leaders emphasise shared values, this allows employees to
focus on organizational priorities which ultimately guides their behaviour, influencing their desire
to contribute more to the team if they perceive as having values akin to their own (p.98).
Likewise, face-to-face communication allows members to be persuasive and expressive through
voice and body language, which minimizes any perceptive distortions from their intended
meanings (Gera, 2013, p.3). These benefits were demonstrated during the second simulation,
whereby the leader was perceived to exhibit high self-confidence, empathy and interpersonal
skills that gave the group a sense of proficiency and empowerment (Sharma, 2010, p.98). He
fostered what Gera (20130) stated as a knowledge culture (p.3) whereby our previous failures
in the first simulation expanded our variety of potential behaviours, allowing the team to amend
the previously ineffective practices, highlight mistakes, enhance skills as well as encouraged
brain-storming and informed opinions.
Additionally, attributions are the mechanisms through which individuals justify the actions of
others. Yamakawa and Cardon (2015) hypothesized that if the individual believed internal
ascriptions were the causes of previous failure, then the person will have a greater capability to
achieve a desirable outcome through a greater sense of personal control (p.799). In this case,
the team recognized the poor results of 43% in the first simulation were mainly due to the
groups insufficient knowledge and our inability to communicate clearly. Therefore, the team
came to the session prepared with their personal goals to be written on the whiteboard, with
documents opened containing the strategies the team came up with. This gave each individual
member a high level of accountability, utilising knowledge from the past simulation to ensure all
other members were conscious of the forthcoming challenges. By building on the foundation of
the attribution theory, the team recognised that our behaviours and lack of team cohesion in the
first simulation were due to internal ascriptions. Thus, this encouraged the group to pursue
counterfactual thinking that allowed us to imagine different outcomes, an important
entrepreneurial aptitude that has a profound impact on consequent decision-making
(Yamakawa & Cardon, 2015, p.801).

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Furthermore, it was within the dynamics of the program to have conflicting personal and group
goals. Therefore, the leader took it in advantage as task-related conflicts can stimulate the
discussions of ideas and innovative group thinking. DeChurch and Marks (2001) identified that
groups who use active conflict management benefit from open discussion on different opinions
and exchange information (p.7). The leader encouraged a consensus-based policy,
encouraging each participant to go around the circle and state his or her own opinion. Each
member also wrote their personal goals on the whiteboard whereby the team could visually
assist one another in choosing which personal goal should be sacrificed for the benefit of
maximising team points. Active discussion through asking questions and receiving feedback
enhanced team performance (Vora & Markoczy, 2012, p.2377), whereby the team came to a
consensus that it was better for each member to avoid rescue to achieve the 3 maximum points
each instead of reaching the summit. Thus, this helped the leader integrate effective information
sharing; fostering successful decision-making (Francis, 2011, p.56). Furthermore, Alison et al.
(2015) recognised that shared mental models facilitate effective team decision-making, whereby
all members must hold a common goal to clearly coordinate and communicate decisions
(p.301). The teams main goal was to improve our overall percentage points of over 60% that
led to the group trying to achieve the bonus points. This fostered discussion in regards to
analyzing the formula for the correct number of oxygen canisters needed as well as helping the
physician provide the right medical supplies when needed; delivering the environmentalist the
asthma puffer before his health would have fallen to critical. Therefore, face-to-face
communication promoted an information sharing culture, which allowed the team to improve the
decision-making process, benefitted by our improved perceptions of one another that ultimately
increased our team points to 65%.

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Learning Review
Being assigned the role of an observer, it was clear that I had the least significant role that
essentially shows how job involvement can affect my level of satisfaction as part of a team.
However, the group made sure that I did not feel excluded, which enabled me to learn more
about how such dynamics are applicable to the contemporary workplace. I felt that my ability to
openly communicate with the group was determined by the leadership style and behaviour of
the leader, as well as the relationship it fosters within the culture of the team. In the first
simulation, I was very quiet and avoided providing my own opinions because I did not want to
give the team the perception that I tried to control or forcefully involve myself beyond the
characteristics of my role. In MGMT 1001, I learnt that managers/leaders should expect that
employees would look to their attitudes as models and how it can impacts their own behaviour
accordingly. This was clear as when I noticed the charismatic and confident characteristics of
the leader, it guided the team to encourage a knowledge culture (Sharma, 2010, p.103), which
ultimately influenced me to open up and collaborate with the team. Such communication
channels are paramount because it ensured participation and involvement (Vora and Markoczy,
2012, p.2337), encouraging me to also have a vote within the consensus decision-making policy
as well as feel a sense of job satisfaction. Thus, I learnt that when leaders adopt a democratic
style, it encourages me to involve myself within group discussions that essentially enhanced my
enthusiasm and performance within the team.
Furthermore, considering the complicated challenges within the design mechanisms of Everest,
I also came to a comprehensive understanding of how important everyones role is in regards to
providing their individual information and opinions. In preparation for the second simulation, it
was evident that a strategic direction was needed to help guide the team in improving our
overall percentage points above 60%. This facilitated into a contingency planning approach
whereby we developed various alternative plans to adapt to any potential challenges (Alison et
al., 2015, p.300) such as the physician leaving an extra asthma puffer and Gamow bag in case
the mountaineer would experience any critical health issues. Thus, by stressing that the
simulation had no universal rules or procedures, it is also through the framework of the systems
theory that emphasizes the importance of teams to take in consideration the inputs from
members that are essential in achieving goals. Therefore this contributed to a shift in the
decision making process from bounded rationality to a consensus policy (Alison et al., 2015,
p.301) which embraced the opinions from each member that benefited in offering new
perspectives. I learnt as part of a team that my ability to understand the program was due to the
various opinions by other members. Without them I would not have been able to thoroughly

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understand the simulation and figure out the formula for the calculation of oxygen canisters and
the relationship between HAPE and the Gamow bag. Thus, by blending both analytical and
intuitive thinking approaches (Francis, 2011, p.56), this gathered a lot of relevant information
and informed opinions which enabled my ability to learn and contribute more to the group based
on improved understanding. By embracing a workplace design fostered for collaboration and
learning, the team worked cohesively and developed a camaraderie that allowed me to learn
that I could contribute more productively and actively when placed in a cooperative team.

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Conclusion
The Everest simulation acts as a model that imitates an organizational environment, allowing
participants to experience the dynamics of the contemporary workforce. Various challenges
throughout the program were designed to highlight the interdependence between individuals
and team relationships, emphasizing on the importance of effective decision-making skills and
how certain perceptions and attributes impact it. Reflecting upon my personal and teams
experiences, it was made evident the various key attributes that contributed to the improvement
from the first simulation to the second simulation. It was found that face-to-face interaction
fosters a knowledge culture that encourages active discussion and more input from each
member in comparison to virtual simulations that hindered these benefits. Furthermore, the
team became more trusting of each other over time that developed camaraderie between
members, joined with the effective consensus-based decision-making policy that improved
overall group performance. Although the team was faced with various issues, we developed an
understanding of the significance of effective communication and how such strategies
interplayed with improving our ability to make decisions and attribute our perceptions of one
another and our behaviours. Thus, this report discussed the main issues and improvements that
influenced performance and how certain frameworks covered in MGMT1001 were displayed
throughout the Everest simulation.

Word Count: 2742

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References
Alison, L., Power, N., Heuvel, C., Humann, M., Palasinksi, M., & Crego, J. (2015). Decision
inertia: Deciding between least worst outcomes in emergency response to disasters.
Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. 88(2), 295-321.
doi:10.1111/joop.12108
Dawson-Shepherd, A. (1997). Communication in organisations operating internationally. Journal
of Communication Management. 2(2), 158-166. Retrieved from
http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/eb023456
DeChurch, L.A., & Marks, M.A. (2001). Maximizing the benefits of task conflict: the role of
conflict management. The International Journal of Conflict Management. 12(1), 4-22.
Francis, S. (2011). The most insidious operational risk: lack of effective information sharing. The
Journal of Operational Risk. 6(1), 55-68. Retrieved from
http:///www.thejournalofoperationalrisk.com
Gera, S. (2013). Virtual teams versus face to face teams: A review of literature. Journal of
Business and Management. 11(2), 2319-7668.Retrieved from http://www.isorjournals.org
Kayworth, T.R., & Leidner, D.E. (2002). Leadership effectiveness in global virtual teams.
Journal of management Information Systems. 18(3), 7-40.
Lord, R.G., & Smith, J.E. (1983). Theoretical, information processing, and situational factors
affecting attribution theory models of organizational behaviour. The Academy of
Management Review, 8(1), 50-60. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/257167
Martinko, M.J., Gardner, W.L. (1987). The Leader/Member Attribution Process. The Academy of
Management, 12(2), 25-249. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/258532
Sharma, S.K. (2010). Examining the relationship between organisational culture and leadership
style. Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology. 36(1), 97-105.
Vora, D., & Markoczy, L. (2012). Group learning and performance: the role of communication
and faultlines. The International Journal of Human Resource Management. 23(11),
2364-2392.
Yamakawa, Y., & Cardon, M.S. (2015). Casual ascriptions and perceived learning from
entrepreneurial failure. Small Business Economics. 44(4), 797-820.
doi: 10.1007/s11187-014-9623-z

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Appendix
Role: OBSERVER
Simulation 1

Simulation 2

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Everest Team Contract


Team Name: Neverest

Name

Role

Contact

Laurentiu Unguroiu

Leader

O430176563

Charlotte Owen

Mountaineer

0423979605

Joanna Cheng

Physician

0420246323

Lisa Vu

Observer

0433402911

Adam Soetrisno

Environmentalist

0468709880

Lucas Lim

Photographer

0413978018

Team Procedures
1. Day, time, and location of team members for Everest 2:
The second Everest simulation will be completed on the 8th of May between 3-7pm. The team
will meet at the main library in room 412. This room is sound-proof to allow for active discussion
and it has whiteboards for recording information. The meeting will begin at 3:15pm sharp.
2. Preferred method of communication before and during Everest 2 (i.e., e-mail, mobile,
chat function, face-to-face in a specified location).
A. Before the climb
Prior to the climb, the group will liaise through the Facebook chat group. Significant files will be
uploaded to the Google Drive.
B. During the climb (Note: Everest 2 has to be conducted face-to-face in a specified
location during the exercise)
Everest simulation 2 will be completed face-to-face which will allow for both written and verbal
communication. Furthermore, the team will be able to interpret a range of non-verbal signals
from members.
C. After the climb
Following the climb, the team will complete a quick debrief in person. Further collaboration can
occur in the following tutorial (Wednesday 13/05 12-1pm). Most communication will continue
through the established Facebook chat. Files will be uploaded to a Facebook group to ensure
all members have easy access to information.

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3. Team goal for Everest 2:

Achieve a goal completion percentage ranging between 60-70%. Higher attainments


would be desirable, but we feel that this is a reasonable aim to set based on our last
performance.
Aim to have no team members rescued
Aim to prioritize the group goals over individual goals
Develop better communication skills
Get to know each other better

4. Decision-making policy (By consensus? By majority vote? By team leader?):


Each member of the team will be given the opportunity to present his or her individual
information and opinions. Following this, the possible decisions will be presented and voted
upon with opposing sides being granted a final opportunity to argue their case. Votes to decide
will be decided by majority vote if consensus cannot be achieved. In case of a stalemate
between sides, the leader will make the final decision.
Team Participation
1. How will we resolve conflict?
In case of a conflict, each side of the conflict will be able to present their opinions and back their
cases with relevant information. Everyone will be asked to present an opinion on the conflict
and alternatives available. Following this, the decision will be put to a vote that will be decided
by the majority vote. Once again, in case of a stalemate, the leader will step in to make an
arbitrary decision.
2. Strategies for encouraging/including ideas and debate from all team members :
One major issue that occurred in simulation 1 was the prevalence of Group think. To avoid this,
the leader will not present their opinion until all others in the group have done so. Each member
of the group will be required to report aspects of their information for each round and during this
period will be able to propose their decision for the direction/action of the group. In a way this
forces participation by all group members. However, with an open atmosphere we believe it
should be a positive addition to our methods of functioning.
Decisions will be determined by goals. The group will evaluate the goals, see which goals
overlap and this will provide justification to possible decisions being made.
The attitude we wish to adopt is one of openness. There is no such thing as a bad idea, is one
of the mantras we hope to utilize in this simulation in hopes that this encourages a wider range
of discussion and possible actions.
3. Strategies for achieving our goal:
To reach our overall goal (60-70% of goal completion) we will need to have individual goals in
the forefront of our minds (goal clarity). To ensure this occurs, each member of the group will
write up all their goals on the board in our meeting room. Constantly having the goal present will
avoid a previous issue, which was that we did not know what everyone had to achieve.

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Goals will be the drivers for discussion from which we will aim to make rational decisions that
incorporate the opinions of all team members. As a team, we seek to be open to all ideas and
will strive to achieve the highest goal attainment possible.
4. Preferences for leadership (team leader only, shared leadership):

The leadership style of our group will avoid laissez-faire style as this style tends to result in
the lowest level of productivity and is typically effective when employees are skilled and
motivated. Instead, the team will adopt democratic leadership style to encourage all team
members to share ideas and participate in the decision making process. As a result, the
team hopes that everyone will feel more engaged.

Personal Accountability
1. Expected individual attendance, punctuality, and participation at Everest 2:

Each member of the team is expected to arrive on time to the simulation and be prepared
to undertake the exercise.
Each team member must be committed to the simulation without external distractions or
the need to attend other commitments.

2. What are the consequences for lack of engagement in Everest 2?


Lack of engagement in Everest 2 will result in a lack of information being passed on. As a result,
the team will be hindered in achieving the set goals and we may fail to perform as planned.