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  • Row With the Communication

    Posted on February 21st, 2013 laurencatalano No comments


    As I was sitting at my desk trying to decide how to relate something to our unit of team processes ideas filled my mind.  There are so many times in my life where communication has affected a teams outcome or how the lack of cohesion amongst a group kept them from achieving a goal.  As my mind flooded we these thoughts I found them all to be lacking something unique.  I found myself looking down at the cover of our textbook, Group Dynamics for Teams.  You may or may not have noticed but the picture on the bottom is of two different rowing teams.  Until recently, I had never heard of the sport, rowing.  Whenever I heard the word I usually thought of the classical children’s song “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”.  Anyways, rowing is a sport! I first learned about it after starting a group exercise class of rowing at McComas last fall.  My friend proceeded to tell me about how the team of nine works together to race in a “sweep oar eight” boat to the finish line.

    You would think it’s pretty simple right?  Just row at the same time.  As easy as it might sound the amount of practice and communication it takes to successfully do this is much more than imagined.  The coxswain is set at the stern (back) of the boat facing the bow (front) and is in charge communicating steering directions.  They are the primary leader in this team.  The other eight members of the team are facing the coxswain which makes their back towards the destination they are trying to go.  From the set up of the boat and the task the team is trying to complete this is the perfect example of centralized chain communication.  This type of communication is usually used in situations where information needs to travel fast and have a more accurate flow.  Without the coxswain the group would have never even started off in the right direction!  This video also exemplifies the chain of communication. When the coxswain decides the way the boat should be moving, she communicates this to the first girl.  The command is then passed down to the other rowers by body communication.  Since it is hard to hear the coxswain make the initial command body communication within the chain helps pass along the information from the coxswain.  Without effective chain communication the earlier group of rowers might turn out like these rowers.

    Trying to relate this back to the Yellow Team I found myself thinking of several concerns.  I cannot imagine trying to use chain communication in our group.  I try to picture someone yelling commands about our project and my head spins.  In the work we are trying to complete decentralized communication is going to be a lot more productive.  Specifically open communication because this allows us to share ideas amongst each other.  It also alleviates a lot of the middle man seen in other centralized communication.  The different line connections between the different circles depicts how anyone in the group can talk to each other.  If we use open communication, I believe we will be able to form a strong group cohesion which will help us complete the goals we plan to set in our group contract.

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