The Schoolboy Rookie:
Kent Sikes is a junior at State University. He has taken a summer job in the biggest factory in his hometown. He was told to report to the warehouse supervisor the first day at work. The supervisor assigned him to a small group of workers who were responsible for loading and unloading the boxcars which supplied the materials and carried away the finished goods of the factory. After two weeks on the job, Kent was amazed at how little the workers in his crew had accomplished. It seemed that they were forever standing around and talking or, in several cases, even going off to hide when there was work to be done. Kent frequently found himself alone unloading a boxcar while the other members of the crew were off messing around someplace else. When Kent complained to his coworkers, they made it very plain that if he did not like it, he could quit, but if he complained to the supervisor, he would be sorry. Though Kent has been deliberately excluded from any of the crew’s activities, such as taking breaks altogether or having a Friday afternoon beer after work at the tavern across the street, yesterday he went up to one of the older members of the crew and said, “What gives with you guys, anyway? I am just trying to do my job. The money is good, and I just do not give a hang about this place. I will be leaving to go back to school in a few weeks, and I wish I could have gotten to know you all better, but frankly I am sure glad I’m not like you guys.” The older worker replied, “Son, if you’d been here as long as I have, you would be just like us.”
problem 1: By using some of the theories, describe the possible reasons for the group formation of this work crew. What kinds of groups exist in this case?
problem 2: What role does the supervisor play in the performance of this group?
problem 3: What are the main informal roles of the crew members and Kent? What status position does Kent have with the group? Why?
problem 4: Why hasn’t Kent been accepted by the group? Do you agree with the older worker’s final statement in the case? Why or why not?