Sunday, October 28, 2012


Some people love school projects and others dread them. I find school projects bearable only if the people in the group are friendly and easy to work with. I really believe that it is not about the task being assigned but the dynamic of the people in the group.

One project that I was a part of was with a group of 5 people. The task was to organize and event on campus. The whole thing turned into a great mess. Firstly, we had much disagreement on the theme of the event and basic ideas on how it should look like. After we finally managed to agree, we divided up the tasks. Things started going even more downhill when people responsible for their tasks were not doing their work. The person who was supposed to be in charge of publicity, did not make the posters. The person who was in charge of reserving the space for the event had difficulty doing it and did not tell anyone or asked anyone for help. There were also others frustrated with the process and did not put effort into the event at all. They did their assigned task but to such a minimum state that, others had to pick up their slack. The final event was fine, people came and everything that needed to be done was done. The professor  was satisfied, but none of us were happy with the event. Some were frustrated and angry at the people in the group and did not even care about the final product.

Another project I was engaged in was composed of 5 people as well. We had a product and needed to conduct research about the brand. It required interviewing people as well as writing reports. The group right away was very efficient and quick to agree on the brand to be researched. The work was also divided efficiently and always people would do their part on time and well. What helped with this project is that we used Google docs to keep track of all of our documents and communicate. That means we would meet as a group, but also communicate online if a problem arose. All of the group members were eager to respond and help. The project was accomplished well and we obtained good grades for it.

The first group was unsuccessful because of the lack of communication within the members. Our personalities clashed and too many people wanted to to control the group. We had great ideas, but no one wanted to execute them. Also, people when they became frustrated, they got even less motivated and started doing less work, leading to greater frustration.

In the second group, leaders emerged but there were also those who were willing to listen and compromise. Also, everyone was very communicative when things were going wrong. In the second group, I also knew one of the members in advance which gives me a biased view of the situation. Regardless, from the dynamic of the group, everyone seems satisfied with the group.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Is Sharing Caring?

There is a very simple example that comes to mind when thinking about team production. A couple years ago when I used to live in the Residence Halls, there was a program where we made ice cream from scratch. There was an ice cream making machine and we had special mix that we got to put in it. The ice cream was formed when an individual cranked the handle, creating motion, making the substance freeze and take on an ice cream viscosity. There were two people needed at a time, one to hold the machine and the other to crank the handle. Our group of people consisted of about twenty so most people just sat around and watched the few individuals at work. From time to time, the pairs would switch and someone else had a chance to work. Not everyone in the group got a turn, so some people still remained bystanders.

When it came to eat the product of our hard work, everyone was open to sharing the made product with the rest of the group,even the members that did not do any of the physical labor were more than welcome to have the ice cream. The observations that can be made here are similar to the claims of the article. If a group creates something, the members of the group are much more willing to evenly share the product with each other.

The tricky part was when other people were passing by and wanted to eat the ice cream as well, not part of the group, not there during the creation of the good. The group was hesitant and even hostile to the idea of people outside of the group having any of the made product. Despite this unwillingness to share, the product was still given to those that were not part of the group but wanted some of the ice cream.

The individualistic character of people especially in this country make sharing difficult. Outside of the group setting, sharing is not often seen. While there are exceptions of course, I agree with the observations of the article that product made by the group is much more easily shared equally amongst the members of the group than otherwise.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Transfer Pricing

Transfer Pricing is quite commonly found in the society today. The example most commonly used is taxation. The suggested Illinibucks have the potential to work in the same way, but could be based on very different criteria. One could be year in school of the student, a lottery system or distributed evenly amongst students. Such system is already used within the University on some levels. One might consider credits in the cafeteria a form of Illinibucks that one purchases at the beginning of the year. The purchase reflects a family's affluence and the preference of the student. Another form of Illinibucks that is already used is even being a part of an organization or a club. Everyone pays dues, or a flat tax per say and because of this, they can partake in events planned by the organization. Even our ability to enter the ARC and use the bus system can be classified as a transfer pricing system being in use.

If Illinibucks were to be implemented, one could probably use at all the places mentioned in others' posts such as the cafeteria, Mckinley, Krannert and any other facility owned by the University. The market could even develop where students would exchange these tokens with each other. For example Illinibucks might be exchanged when one student does homework for another.

Transfer pricing does affect the University setting if one views the University as a entity with many separate parts that need to interact with each other. A common system such as the Illinibucks may serve this purpose. The need for such a medium of interaction has already been somewhat addressed with people using credits at the cafeteria and I-cards with limitless Illinibucks per say to ride the bus. Nonetheless, more unity could be arranged between these University institutions to have them all use the same system, and who knows, maybe it even should be called Illinibucks.