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Case Study

Teams work to save lives in Tsunami-Striken Asia

When one of the most powerful earthquakes in history struck deep beneath the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004, more than 2,25,000 people were killed in the floods than the resulting tsunami unleashed.  Almost immediately, teams of relief workers from around the world were on their way to Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and other areas in southern Asia.  Beyond the immediate need of providing food, water, and shelter to the more than 5 million individuals left homeless, help was needed in identifying and disposing off bodies and providing healthcare services to the wounded and vulnerable.

In such immediate response situations, a common problem is team co-ordination – both within and between teams.  For ex, in the Indonesian province of Aceh, 175 tons of supplies waited at the airport for distribution because the proper equipment wasn’t there.  In addition, food distribution experts were lacking, and there was even confusion about where the food should be sent.   “The aid is here but we are having trouble coordinating” said Kace Kaihulu a worker in a medical relief agency.  Anticipating such problems in India, IBM installed a complex computer system to coordinate aid among relief centres.  The system used police radio sets to gather calls and then log information onto software for tracking purposes.  This system helped set priorities so relief workers could respond quickly to the most needy sites.

Even world leaders had to learn to be team players.  When the tsunami first hit, many nations obviously wanted to send help.  President Bush wanted a “core group” of countries – India, the United States, Australia and Japan to coordinate the relief work.  France said that it would oversee aid to Sri Lanka and British Prime Minister Tony Blair proposed that the United Kingdom since it was the Chair of the G8 group of industrialized nations would coordinate the relief work.  But to be truly effective these nations and their leaders had to work together as a team.

This tragedy illustrates both the necessity of teamwork (obviously, no single individual, organization or nation could provide all the help needed) and the challenges of coordination within and between teams.

Source :, December 30, 2004

Task – 1 (Approx. Words = 2000 words)

Assume you are heading the relief work in the above case study scenario. The task ahead needs to be completed, keeping this in perspective:

a) Describe the characteristics of successful business teams.

b) Assess the importance of team roles in successful business teams.

c) Analyze the value of using theoretical models when building successful teams, and select the best model which would suit the environment of the case study. Justify your selection.

d) describe the stages of team development.

Task –  2 (Approx. Words =  3000 words)

You are presenting a committee represented by multiple countries undertaking relief work.

Your task should include the following :

a) Draw a plan to motivate team members to achieve given objectives.

b) How would you encourage open communication between team members to support team development.

c) Evaluate ways of resolving conflict between team members.

d) List out the objectives which you recommend for the team, based on the above case study. Give your recommendations on how the Top Management should monitor the performance of a team against given objectives.

e) Recommend how to improve performance against given objectives.

Management Theories, Management Studies

  • Category:- Management Theories
  • Reference No.:- M91819

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