group b wisdom of crowds

Chapter 9
Committees, Juries, and Teams

The Columbia Disaster and how small groups can be made to work 
Chapter nine discusses how groups can be ineffective and what mistakes are made when this happens. The example in the book is from 2003 when the mission management team (MMT) for NASA mission sts-107 held a teleconference. The meeting was the second since the shuttle’s launch, five days prior. When the shuttle was ascending into the atmosphere a large piece of foam hit a part of the left wing. The teleconference took place between the MMT and Don McCormack. Prior to the meeting McCormack had been briefed by several organizations concerning the piece of foam including NASA members, Boeing, Lockheed martin, and the Debris assessment Team. The Debris Assessment Team (DAT) reached no conclusions concerning the foam, but made it clear to McCormack that there was no need to panic. McCormack then had the teleconference with the MMT and did not even mention the piece of foam until two-thirds of the way through. When it was finally mentioned, and Linda ham asked for an update, McCormack responded with “his people were investigating the possible damage and what could potentially be done to fix it, and added that when the Columbia had been hit by a similar strike during mission STS-87, five years earlier it had suffered “fairly significant damage”. This is how Ham answered: “And I really don’t think there is much we can do so IT’S not really a factor during the flight because there is not much we can do about it.” This is very important because Linda Ham decided that the foam strike was irrelevant, she also decided this for everyone else in the meeting. The meeting then moved on to another topic. This is an example of how groups can actually make people less intelligent and less productive. This is very important because small groups are a major part of American life. We use juries to decide citizen’s fate; small groups are used in work environments, board of directors shape companies across the US, so it is important to know and understand how to work well in a group to best utilize the group member’s assets. “A successful face-to-face group is more than just collectively intelligent. It makes everyone work harder, think smarter, and reach better conclusions than they would have on their own.” This is a good point but some elements must not occur in order for this to happen. The three main elements included polarization of the group, member status, and talkativeness. For a group to be truly most effective and efficient they need to have an even playing field, which can be achieved by avoiding the three elements mentioned previously.
All of this affects fashion directly because the industry is all about collaborating with people, ideas, cultures, and influences. It needs to be fair group in order to come up with the best ideas, and the most effective way to implement them. Although in fashion it’s often times one person’s designs, that are implemented, it takes a whole team to get them ordered, shipped, delivered and other aspects of product development. It also takes a team of people to come up with a way to market and advertise the product to the public, a great deal of a company reputation is their brand image which is made up mostly of its advertisements and marketing, how the public perceives the company. If group work is not utilized, then the most effective plans and ideas cannot be reached. Group work is used a lot in this industry, but managers need to ensure that they are not using any of the negative elements in their group discussions. This is very important, because if these are being used then the group work can be less effective than individual work, depending on which and how many of those negative factors are occurring and how often. Overall, the group work can really help especially in such a creative and diverse industry as the fashion.

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