GROUP WORK PAYS OFF FOR BIZ STUDENTS

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By Karon Liu

Arts & Life Editor

Dread doing group assignments at school? What if it pays $1,000?

Three teams from Ryerson, two from the University of Toronto and two from York University participated in the day-long Organizational Behaviour Case Competition at the Ryerson Business Building Saturday.

The teams of three were asked to solve a case study from a company experiencing workplace conflicts. Though a team from York University won the $1,000 prize for first place, the two Ryerson teams tied for second place, splitting a $500 prize.

“Organizational behaviour is understanding how a company works,” said Maria Garadakhlian, president of the Human Resources Student Association at Ryerson. She came up with the competition along with U of T’s Organizational Development Alliance.

“There’s a lot of psychology involved, like how people in a company would react when there’s a merger, how to solve workplace conflict and anything else that deals with the workers themselves.”

The teams have a day to study the scenario, pick out the problems and brainstorm solutions. On the day of the competition, they are given a list of questions about the scenario and an hour to create a presentation that will solve the workplace dilemma.

Immediately afterwards they have to present in front of a panel of judges. Judging criteria was based on how well they applied their classroom know-how to real-life situations.

Business professors Pat Sniderman from Ryerson, Ann Armstrong from U of T and Ingo Holzinger from York judged the seven teams from all three schools. Teams varied in solutions and presentation styles.

Team #2 from U of T suggested coworkers should form sport teams to build friendship while Team #1 from Ryerson suggested that everyone should find a common goal. Team #5 from York even had laser pointers and business cards to hand out to the judges.

While most teams were relieved to finish their presentation, fourth-year business management students Tina Chreppas, Sandra Sindaha and Ian Birney were trying to calm their nerves as they were the last team to compete.

Their presentation started off strong as the team outlined the consequences of the workplace problems and suggested new codes of conduct. But with only 10 minutes to cover seven topics, they had to skip over a few points to finish on time.

Judges were impressed by the team’s use of visual aids and theoretical concepts.

However, they were also impressed by Team #1’s ability to diagnose a scenario and answer questions.

None of the judges could pick between the two, so both placed second.

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