Prominent B schools across the world believe in preparing their students in problem solving through group assignments. This is because, in organizations many problems are far too complex for any one person to resolve alone, they depend on others. If students are used to working on assignments solo, they are less prepared to be a good team player, and find it difficult in their jobs to mingle and solve problems. To perform well in a group, business school experts suggest students must use several strategies, which is possible in groups assignments only.
Group assignments also prepare for real life exercise, because, in personal life and professional life, solving problems becomes easier in collaboration with others. Learning and working effectively as part of a team or group is an extremely important skill in life. No human can solve problems all by himself. The experiences can be refined and used throughout a person’s life. Group assignments should be among the most valuable and rewarding learning experiences for students, however, they can also be frustrating at times. Because, in life we come across all types of people; silent, introverts, aggressive, assertive, procrastinators, ditchers, backstabbers, attentions grabbers and controlling freaks. When students do group projects they come across most of these types and it helps them in working with them while finding problem solution.
Learning in groups means that one needs to share his knowledge and ideas with other students. There are two benefits from doing this: before sharing the idea one needs to think carefully about his own ideas in order to explain them to others. The other benefit is that one needs to expand the idea while taking other’s viewpoints into consideration. The idea must appeal to all. Each one perceives an idea or a problem differently.
When students work as a group on a project or assignment, they get the opportunity to draw on the different strengths of group members. One doesn’t get that benefit while working on his own.
To do this effectively you need to learn group work skills, which are an extremely important part of your professional development. In most professions people are required to work in multidisciplinary project teams or teams with a responsibility for a specific task. Many professional organizations and employer groups stress the importance of interpersonal and group skills, such as communication, negotiation, problem solving, and teamwork, sharing and caring. These skills can be as important as knowledge of a subject in enabling a person to be an effective professional. In most organizations before hiring an individual they check team working aptitude of his.
Group assignments develops both interpersonal and processing as management skills. It helps in developing communicating effectively in meetings, negotiating to agree on tasks and resolve conflicts and accommodating people with different cultural orientations and work habits. It also helps in improving the process management skills such as: identifying group goals and dividing work (to improve division of work), planning and complying with meeting schedules and deadlines, managing time to meet group expectations, monitoring group processes and intervening to correct problems etc.
Group assignments also help to improve the listening skill. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with group mates, no matter how confident they may seem to be about what they are saying. When a member disagrees, he/she must have constructive ideas which help to focus on the issue rather than on personal vendetta. Each person’s opinions matter for a constructive outcome of the group task. Team work raises morale of members. Information is shared among the team members, maximizing the levels of knowledge and learning for the whole organization. The stronger team members effectively improve the weaker.
In many researches it is found that while working in groups employees feel more emotionally secured and positive, and are better at sharing knowledge, they take responsibilities easily because they experience personal security of being part of an effective team. On the other hand, when employees work on their own, they feel lonely and lesser productive. This is the reason organizations appreciate people who can work effectively in teams. This is the reason, B – Schools adopt pedagogy of giving group assignments.