Army Crew Team Case Study Analysis
As a student of the Leading Teams in Organizations class at Lipscomb University, I’m required to answer questions regarding the Harvard Business School Case titled “The Army Crew Team”. The case write-up describes a coach’s dilemma regarding an underperforming Varsity Crew team. The Varsity team is consistently losing to the Junior Varsity (JV) team forcing its coach to consider taking drastic actions four days before the National championship. The coach is considering the following three options: switching the Varsity and JV teams, switching individual boat members, or intervening to improve the Varsity team’s performance (Snook & Polzer, 2004). The coach should switch the Varsity and JV teams and allow the more cohesive team to compete as the Varsity team in the National championship. The following are questions and answers regarding The Army Crew Team Case.
Why does the Varsity Team lose to the JV Team?
The Varsity team loses to the JV team due to several reasons. First, the Varsity team is not a cohesive group. Members of the varsity team focus on themselves and not the team as a whole. This is evidence by team members being critical of one another and not sitting together in team meetings. Conversely, the JV team is focused on team processes and doesn’t want to let team members down. For example, team members did not criticize one another individually during self-critique sessions. Instead, the JV team members made global comments that everyone needed to practice. Secondly, the Varsity team suffered from not having a clear leader in the boat that motivated the team, set the racing strategy, and corrected rowing technique. Thirdly, the Varsity team suffered from the presence of disrupters that prevented team cohesion (Snook & Polzer, 2004). Combined these problems prevented the Varsity team from experiencing the synergy that is necessary to defeat opponents.
What exactly should Coach P. have done differently earlier in the season to resolve the problem? At what point should he have intervened differently?
Coach P.’s training program should have focused more on psychological variables and group processes earlier in the season. Instead, training was focused on improving individual team member performance. The Varsity team comprised of the eight top individual performers (Snook & Polzer, 2004). Mistrust between Varsity team members began developing following spring break. Lack of trust and other related psychological issues prevented the Varsity team from synchronizing their rowing even though they were the top individual performers.
Following spring break, varsity team members became unhappy and critical of one another. These behaviors were an early indication of a lack of trust needed to be addressed immediately. Trust is paramount in crew. It is important for team members to trust others to correct mistakes, allowing the boat to regain balance and maximum speed (Snook &...