LIU MBA Students for the North Shore Animal League Organizational Behavior For the group project our group chose option A, to design and implement a community service project. We chose to help the North Shore Animal League based in Port Washington, New York.
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After our initial meeting in class we brainstormed some ideas on how to fundraise via e-mail. We decided to do a combination of things to raise money for the North Shore Animal League. First, to spread the word, we created a Facebook page to share our project with our friends, family and acquaintances. The page is also viewable to friends-of-friends so it reaches a wide scope of people. The page tells the viewer about the league and our project; the page features pictures and a link to a fundraising website.
The fundraising website was created through North Shore Animal League and gives viewers the opportunity to donate using a credit card. These donations go directly to the league and are tracked through the website. We tried talking to the campus bookstore to see if they would donate some merchandise we could then sell for the cause, but they were unable to. We decided to purchase some snacks in bulk from Costco to sell to raise money. We made the decisions to target a highly populated area with a large amount of foot traffic, in order to reach the most people.
Therefore, we orchestrated a fundraising day in Flushing and Hunter’s Point where we passed out fliers, collected donations, and sold the snacks. To reach a larger scope of people, we talked with a local pet store, located in Northport, and they allowed us to set up a table and solicit donations for the league from customers go in and out of the store. We thought this was a good location because we would likely be reaching animal lovers who would be sympathetic to our cause and therefore more likely to contribute. We also distributed fliers while at the pet store, which included the address for our undraising website so the customers could donate to the animal league when they got home. Psychological contract is defined as individual beliefs, shaped by the organization, regarding terms of an exchange agreement between individuals and their organization (Rousseau). According to the project's instructions, we have 400 points to split amongst the four group members. Our group's psychological contract is that as long as each group member attends each meeting, participates in the fundraising activities, and completes their share of the work equally, each group member will receive 100 of the 400 points.
However, if someone cannot fulfill their share of the work, the other group members can deduct points from this member and add them to their own grade. The psychological contract depends on the trust between the group members. In our group we valued the promise to every member to share the work equally and did not violate our contract. Every member was able to express their opinion freely, if someone felt that a group member’s performance was lacking, they can talk openly with the other members and discuss redistributing the points.
Our group's psychological contract could not be violated easily because we all wanted to share the work to ensure we got the best grade possible. Through the learning of psychological contract, we built a strong and efficient team. With an effective performance system and strong trust among our members, we reached great achievement. It is very important to figure out how you can motivate the members in a group since it will increase the productivity of the group. The four members in our group have different personalities and personal goal; therefore, the methods to motivate them are totally different.
There is that minority which is challenged by opportunity and willing to work hard to achieve something (McClelland). For our project we all needed to be part of this minority because we had such limited time. In McClelland’s discussion of Motive A, he talks about setting “moderately difficult, but potentially achievable goals… tasks to make them stretch themselves a little. ” Our group decided early on to set a goal of raising $250, which we thought would be a good amount to strive for considering our time constraint.
We found this amount to be difficult, but do-able. Something else McClelland discusses is how the nAch person is constantly spending their time thinking of how to do things better. Through trial and error we were able to figure out what worked for our group. For example, we had a not so successful day fundraising in Flushing, raising only $20 in about 4 hours, and were able to use this experience to find a better way to do this next time. The expectancy theory could be used to help outline how we made decisions on how to behave in our group.
To begin, you can look at the concept of performance-outcome expectancy, which states every behavior has an associated reward or punishment. For example a group member could have chosen to sit back and let the other members perform, or could have chosen to make a genuine effort. The consequences are that we won’t receive the best grade and won’t raise the most money possible; or our group will flourish with everyone’s involvement. The concept of valence, the idea that each outcome has a specific worth to the individual was apparent as well.
Luckily, we all want the some outcome, to raise the most money possible for the animal league and to be graded fairly by our peers, so this wasn’t an issue when it came to motivating our group. Lastly there is effort-performance expectancy, which states that every behavior has associated with it a certain probability of success. With this concept we all needed to understand that our efforts would be rewarded with donations. Once we started to receive donations we used this as motivation to get more.
Ethical dilemmas are very complex for individuals, according to textbook, “the notion that its easy to be ethical assumes that individuals automatically know that they are facing ethical dilemma and that they should simply choose to do the right thing. ” However, the definition of “doing right thing” may be different for different people, depending on their culture or background. In our project, we have two ethical dilemmas. First, are we going to donate the exact total amount of money we have raised to North Shore Animal League.
The first spot we were collecting donations was in Flushing, where we explained our project to pedestrians and they were usually rude, impatient and less willing to listen to us. Because of this we decided to move to another spot, a park in Hunters Point where the people were more patient. We collected 20 dollars in this spot, which is much more than we were able to collect in Flushing. We quickly saw that people in these two spots have different characteristics; the people in Hunters Point were more willing to trust us and believe that we were being ethical.
The people in Hunters Point stopped and ask us about our project, and about our cause. The people in Hunters Point believed in the good side of people and were more willing to trust us and in return donate. The people who donated to us believed that every penny they were giving us was going to help the animals at North Shore Animal League, therefore, we cannot let them down and we have a responsibility to deliver all of the money we collect. The second dilemma is whether or not we should deduct the cost of the products we sold from the donations we collected.
We bought Lays and Doritos for twenty cents per package and bottled water for sixty cents per bottle; we then sold the items for one dollar each. The person who bought the products could say that they should take back some money to compensate themselves for the cost of buying the items. In this case, it is a grey area. If the person does not request to get their money back, one could say they are a person who really cares about the cause they are raising money for. If they did ask to get some money back, one might say they are doing this activity just for a grade.
Also, if the person who purchased the goods decided they wanted to be reimbursed, they could embellish the cost and get back more than they paid. This is similar to the activity we did in the classroom where employees were compensated for meals while out on the road. As long as the amount did not exceed eighty dollars per day, they would be reimbursed for food and they did not need to show receipts. In our case, people donated their money to us based on the idea that we will forward all of the money to the North Shore Animal League Our behavior was very important, as it dictated how others made judgments about us.
As mentioned in the textbook, some factors of behavior include: tone of voice, body language, gestures and the words we say. People could be led to believe that we are a group of people doing good or committing fraud based on these factors. We found that certain things helped increase the level at which people trusted and believed we were doing good. Our image and the overall passion we conveyed were important factors to ensure other people’s trust us. People were more willing to trust us if we had an advertising board, Facebook website, and a donation website with the North Shore Animal League.
Overall, we needed to appear as professional as possible to have the best results. People tend to doubt people they are not familiar with, especially in New York City; thus, we were able to gain their trust by conducting our project in a professional manner. The way we were asking people to make donation was also important. We needed to put our message in a way that conveyed the right meaning. It is not easy asking another person for money, people were less willing to donate if they felt they were not getting anything in return.
We decided to sell something to deal with this issue, so we could make donors feel that they are donating to a worth cause while buying something. The way that we asked them was also important, if we said, “Excuse me, would you like to make a donation to support our program? ” people usually walked right past us. However, if we said, “Excuse me, would you like to purchase a bottle of water or a bag of chips to support our program? ” people would generally stop and listen to what we had to say. In this assignment, the ability to communicate across language barriers was key.
Our group of four consisted of a male (Alex) and female (Danielle) from New York, a male from China (Yunjie), and a male from Taiwan (Wei). Alex and Danielle were unable to speak any Chinese, and while Wei and Yunjie’s grasp of the English language was exceptional there were still times when communicating proved to be difficult. However, our group was able to continually overcome these communication barriers. For example, in situations where Wei was unable to understand certain English words, Yunjie would explain it to him in Chinese, and vice versa.
Also, Alex and Danielle would try and clarify any confusing language by using the simplest English possible. By using the above-mentioned techniques our group was able to consistently overcome any language barriers and communicate effectively to achieve our goals. In addition to communicating across language barriers, our group was also faced with the challenge of communicating across cultures. This difference in cultures was most evident when the group attempted to raise funds for the North Shore Animal League by selling potato chips and water bottles in Flushing, Queens. In the U. S. selling lemonade on the street is almost considered a right of passage for many young children. Many American children take the idea of capitalism for granted, having been instilled with the idea of a free market economy from a young age. However, capitalism is not practiced throughout the world. Consequently, Wei and Yunjie had no prior experience selling goods to customers on the street. At first, because of their inexperience, Wei and Yunjie had a difficult time selling potato chips and water to customers. They were unable to reach out to customers and convey the fact that all of the proceeds from the sale would be going to charity.
However, after being instructed on various selling techniques and following the example set by their fellow team members, Wei and Yunjie began reaching out to more and more customers. They fully embraced the fundraising concept and acquired the ability to effectively connect with customers to achieve our goals. Aside from highlighting our cultural differences, the fundraising experience in Queens also taught our group about the “Ladder of Inference”, as described by Rick Ross in his article The Ladder of Inference. While fundraising we noticed that many potential customers were extremely cautious about our group’s intentions.
Many people did not believe that we were raising funds for the North Shore Animal League and instead thought that we would pocket the money for ourselves. People would take one look at our group and our surroundings and would automatically assume that we were “conning” them without actually taking the time to see what our true intentions were. This is an example of these potential customers climbing “The Ladder of Inference”. After we became aware of this we started to hand out fliers for the North Shore Animal League hoping that it would make our position more believable.
While this did alleviate some customers concerns there were still many people who simply did not believe us. This was an extremely frustrating obstacle that was difficult to overcome. During a team meeting following our fundraising efforts we discussed how we could overcome this obstacle in the future. Our conclusion was that in order to establish trust with potential customers and thereby prevent them from negatively climbing “The Ladder of Inference” we must make ourselves appear more presentable and official.
In the future we would dress in uniforms with nametags. In addition, we would apply for permits to fundraise on city grounds such as parks and playgrounds. It is our belief that by implementing these tactics we would gain the trust of potential customers and become more effective in our fundraising efforts. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we were unable to implement these changes, however, through this process we learned a great deal and can use this experience in our future endeavors. In our group there was not one decisive leader.
We all needed to be leaders; as we learned from our leadership discussion, leaders are generally the ones who are finding new ways to do things. We all needed to come up with ideas on how to fundraise, and needed to figure out how we could actually get it done. During our class lecture on leadership, we discussed characteristics that all great leaders appear to have. Characteristics that came up over and over again included determination, well liked, personable, persuasive, and someone who has a good support team.
By working hard, and working together, we knew we would achieve the best results. As discussed in “Level 5 Leadership,” a good leader knows that the cause is bigger than them. We used this idea when fundraising; we couldn’t simply go through the motions just to get the grade. We needed to really care about the cause, as great leaders are generally passionate about what they are doing. This is why it was important for our group to visit the Animal League. We thought it would be good to see what they do first hand, and tour their facility.
This was an enjoyable experience because we were able to see some of the animals that we are helping, and were able to use our visit as motivation to raise more money. Our group worked together extremely well. We kept in contact through e-mail, weekly meetings before class, and a group text message on our cell phones. Each member offered ideas on how go about the project. We freely critiqued each other’s ideas to find out what would work best for our group. We recognized each other’s strengths and weaknesses and assigned tasks for each group member accordingly
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