Centre for Open Education MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY NSW 2109 AUSTRALIA ASSIGNMENT COVER SHEET (For Open Universities Australia students)
The ‘Group 159’ News Assignment 2 group case study - Since 01/08/2011 ‘A Mir kiss’? What on Earth caused Mars behaviour experiment to fail! Psychologists at Moscow’s Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP), implemented an experiment to learn more about the effects of sustained isolation in space. A crew of seven males and one female (Judith Lapierre) were selected for an experiment involving sustained isolation inside a simulated Russian space station. Claims of violence during the experiment, and that Lapierre was unwillingly grabbed and kissed aggressively by a colleague have since surfaced, sparking international controversy. (above): Cosmonauts Inside the Russian simulator (inset right): Judith Lapierre
Group 159 Overview & Contents “Aliens made me do it”. Well, not quite, but it could have been one of the explanations put forward by a team of Russian Cosmonauts for some extraordinary behaviour during a recent scientific experiment at Moscow’s IBMP. To study the effects of long term isolation in space the Russian institute replicated sections of the MIR Space Station. In one section there were 4 Cosmonauts who were to spend 240 days performing tasks similar to the ones performed on the space station. After 120 days in isolation the Cosmonauts were joined by 3 international researchers, who lived in the second section. They were to spend 110 days working with the Cosmonauts, studying their behaviour. The whole experiment was controlled by IBMP scientists and psychologists. But, after only one month things went wrong. Allegations of violence, drunkenness and sexual assault started to emerge. The result was that the international researchers, fearing for their safety, barricaded themselves off from the Cosmonauts. After repeated requests for intervention from the IBMP controllers were ignored, one of the international researchers went home early. So what went wrong? Our hard hitting investigative team: ‘Group 159’, looks into the MIR KISS story and brings you a behind the scenes investigation into the events that occurred and the Organisational Behavioural implications arising from this story. • Contents • Introduction • Organisational Behaviour Implications • Experiment Set up • Integration • Team Development • Leadership • Staff Support • Mechanisms • Conclusion
Group 159 Group 159 MIR KISS CASE STUDY SUMMARY ORGANISATIONAL BEHAVIOUR IMPLICATIONS • A Group 159 special report • A number of events occurred during the MIR experiment that caused it to go off the rails. Here Group 159 looks into these events and highlights some of the Organisational Behavioural practices that were lacking, non existent, or just very poorly handled. • We ask: • Was the experiment set up properly? • What integration activities were put in place to ensure that the two crews worked well together? • Is throwing two groups of technical scientists together for the first time to spend 110 days in isolation the best form of Team Development? • Who was in charge? • Where was the Leadership? • What level of support was there for the crews when things went wrong? • Is Glasnost dead? • Read on to find out what our team discovered. • From Russia with love: • Here are some of the events that our team were able to uncover about the MIR KISS experiment: • The IBMP scientists provided alcohol to the Cosmonauts to celebrate New Year! • Two of the Cosmonauts became drunk and had a violent and bloody confrontation! • The international researchers hid the knives in their kitchen from the Cosmonauts for fear of more violence! • One of the international researchers, a woman, was kissed, not once, but twice, by the Cosmonaut commander! • The international researchers complained to the IBMP controllers and were told to sort it out themselves – as though they were actually in space! • The international researchers barricaded their living quarters to keep the Cosmonauts out! • The Japanese researcher went home early in disgust!
Group 159 EXPERIMENT SET UP Four Russian cosmonauts and four volunteer team members working in two separate chambers. Psychological patterns and behaviours form in isolation. To break these patterns, the two teams are given the opportunity to visit each other. The visits between them are monitored and then analyzed. Each team has their own workload and program to follow. They are to communicate in English. (Pronina, 1999) Pronina, (1999) states that the four Russians shared a smaller, 100 cubic metre chamber , they were in spent 240 days living there. They divide time up equally between work, sleep and rest. The Russian team were responsible for studying their own psychological and physiological effects. The international volunteers were only to stay 110 days (McShane, 2010). They had a 200 cubic metre chamber and had a longer work schedule, and concentrated on emergency situations that may occur in space (Pronina 1999).
Group 159 EXPERIMENT SET UP Extra, Extra: Rules Rule! The Russian psychologists seemed to think that all issues needed to be dealt with internally, as that would be the situation in space, hence; minimal boundaries in place, even when the international crew requested outside intervention. The international crew had to experience fear and danger before officials implemented a sensible boundary by “cutting off interaction with the Russians” (McShane, 2010). This situation highlights the need for non ambiguous rules. Should this experiment have been observational only? Mars missions will mean extended isolation from the rest of civilisation, in confined quarters such as the Mir space station (pictured above)
Group 159 Integration Integration of new members: • McShane(2010) discusses the styles of Integration that can occur when different organisational cultures merge, and suggests that the success of merging depends upon the style chosen. The dominant culture can be imposed in the style of Assimilation, or Deculturation, but this comes with drawbacks and weaknesses. • DOMINANT CULTURE • Dominant culture is imposed • Discard personal and cultural values • Difficult to adopt • Cultural intrusions delay and undermine goals • High conflict, exit and termination • An alternative that can be successful, especially when merging two strong and successful cultures is Integration. • INTEGRATION • Merges cultures into a new composite culture • Ideal when several overlapping values • Retains best features of all cultures • Existing cultures can be improved • Less conflict due to merged values and expectations Merging Organisational cultures brings challenges and potential difficulties. An issue affecting the success of the experiment was the integration of the various cultures. Their different cultural background also affected their experience of and expectations of gender roles. This proved to have an effect on the study, as seven participants were male, and only one female. The KISS itself was not the big problem, but is a symptom of the lack of understanding on successful integration between the teams and individuals.
Group 159 Integration The Russians had already been in the capsule when the newcomers arrived, and found it difficult to integrate. The researcher said "it took them at least three weeks to feel absolutely free when they appear in the room of another crew. , that is all stressful but that is not artificial that is real life like its real life in the space station“ (McShane, 2010) Integration with a new crew turned out to be extremely stressful and challenging for many of the crew. Cultural and Gender Differences affecting integration The John Grey (1992) publication; Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, highlights how gender differences can be perceived as being worlds apart… ..The Russians said the kiss was just a misunderstanding and that Lapierre was over reacting to the incident. It became a case of he said/ she said.
Group 159 Integration (click image to play) . • SHE (Lapierre) SAID: • Expected Russians to have similar values to the men from her culture. • She expected to be treated with respect • She expected to be treated as an individual with skills and weakness, regardless of gender • Expected to be working with another female, as she would in the "real world". • Was open to working with all male crew, (shared values organisational assumption McShane 2010, pg 539) • Did not expect to feel unsafe. • HE SAID: • Females on the crew should: • Be a caring mother • Junior assistant • One that men would like to save • One men would bear children with • Be non equal • Bad if feminist.
Group 159 Integration • Neither culture gives up their values, but both cultures are improved. • Merging the best of each culture into a new composite culture, and focusing each team member on the new culture, its goals and objectives. Was this experiment a failure? NO! Both teams learnt what not to do, and as a result can improve the likelihood that space missions may be more harmonious! How could they have better prepared for Integration? • Prepare, and take time! • Awareness of each others culture, in regards to gender roles, and work roles, BEFORE the experiment • Identify values of each culture in the merger. • Identify expectations of each culture merging. Integration, with hard work and dedication, "it won't happen overnight, but it will happen"
TEAM DEVELOPMENT Group 159 Group 159 Volatility of cosmic proportions: The experiment wanted two small groups to work together in long term isolation for 110 days, so they could see what effect this would have on the crew members involved. One team was made up of international Researchers, all from different cultures, and had previously never worked together. The other team of four Russian cosmonauts had already been working together in their chamber for 120 days, they had a reminder of 120 days when the second team joined them. These teams had no prior team development, nor were they provided any during the isolation. These two teams were living in a chamber the size of a train car. The two teams did not bond well together and one month into the joint venture, the doors between the Russian and international chamber were locked, at the request of the international crew who feared for their safety. They felt that violence within the Russian crew and “the kiss” were not dealt with appropriately by the external research team. The IBMP Psychologist in charge of the project said “If the crew can’t solve problems among themselves, they can’t work together” Vadum Gushin, McShane, S. O.(2010:615) Whilst the expectation that the crew would solve their own problems may be reasonable, they did not provide any team development to help them overcome any problems that arose.
TEAM DEVELOPMENT Group 159 Norming – During the norming stage crew members would have all come together and agreed to work collectively on the job at hand. This would not have occurred as the team was not functioning effectively. Performing – During this stage teams would start to perform together effectively. The Mir Kiss team never reached this stage as they were separated after one month. At this stage teams should be working independently without conflict with other members. Forming – During the forming stage crew members want to be accepted by the others in their team. It would have been this case in Mir Kiss’s Team as well. As the team members had to live and work together for 110 days, they needed to develop an effective working relationship. During the forming stage crew members would have been forming impressions of each other and the incidents of fighting and sexual harassment that occurred would have hindered this process. Some crew members would have been avoiding conflict, while others were obviously past this stage as they were getting into fist fights. Storming – When the team should have been moving into the storming stage where they would put forward their ideas from one and other, they instead, had to deal with the conflict that was taking place.
TEAM DEVELOPMENT Group 159 With all the international Researchers coming from different countries there should have been a lot of work put into the team’s cohesion as they all came from different cultural backgrounds, it would have been hard to create one unified identity. Team trust – There are three different types of trust Calculus – Based trust is based on the assumption that other team members will act appropriately , this will be broken at the first issue that arises. Identification – based trust is based on the emotional connection between team members, this would have been lacking within the crew members as no team development was conducted, they joined a team of four cosmonauts who had been in isolation together for 120 days with a group of three people from different cultural and life experience backgrounds. Knowledge - based trust is based on the behaviours of others within the team. From the fist fight and sexual harassment episodes the knowledge based trust would have disappeared from the crew members. Team norms – theseare the informal rules and expectations that different groups have and this is how the team works together. Norms are created at the beginning of teams forming. Events during the beginning stages of a group can affect the norms that are created in the group. The fist fights and sexual harassment that occurred would have created un-functional norms between the group. Team cohesion – This is when teams feel connected to each other, they feel they have a social identity, and create a team identity.
TEAM DEVELOPMENT Group 159 Face the future: pioneers for Mars Objectives of Future Experiments: How individuals could cooperate together, how the organisation could help them cooperate together, how to reduce conflict and how do reduce stressful situations to make the next Mir Kiss experiment work more effectively the following training should take place: • Team building exercises before the team goes into isolation and during isolation. • Team bonding activities – to help crew members from different cultures bond together. • Conduct pre group work activities as part of the selection process to ensure teams can work together effectively. • Provide a trained facilitator to observe crew members and their mental health. • Provide training so crew members can manage Cultural, Age and Gender differences. Help them identify how these could affect their particular group. The first crew at a press conference before the start of the experiment. from left to right: Habihožin Haider, Vladimir Karaštin, Vasyl Luk′ânûk, Anatoly Murašov The second crew at a press conference before the start of the experiment.from left to right: Norbert Kraft, Dmitry Sayenko, Judith Lapierre, Umeda Masataka
Leadership Group 159 Direction, control, accountability...What constitutes a good leader? A good leader works well in a team, can delegate responsibilities and has values which align with that of the organisation. (McShane, 2010, p. 224) In the SFINCSS-99 Russian experiment the following fundamental leadership issues were prevalent: Direction: Organisers failed to clearly communicate expectations across all of the teams participating. Structure: An Organisation needs clear positions and roles, the volunteers of SFINCSS-99 operated in the absence formally structured authority, “Shared leadership flourishes in organisations where the formal leaders are willing to delegate power” (McShane, 2010, p. 457). In lieu of structure, one person who ranks as a Russian commander informally imposed his own ideals (violence and desires) upon colleagues, much to their dismay.
Leadership Group 159 When behaviour of only a few of the participants began to cause others to feel unsafe, UmedaMasataka (Japan) stated his concerns and then withdrew (voiced than exit: EVLN model, McShane, 2010) when it became apparent the powers that be were unlikely to act appropriately. Umeda was then replaced by another Russian for the remainder of the experiment as the Russian officials felt the problem was due to culture clashes. “Shared leadership also calls for a collaborative rather than an internally competitive culture” (McShane, 2010, p. 247) Integrity: Baranov (IBMP official) stated that the volunteers “health and safety will be of prime importance aboard the new space station” (Pronina, 1999) yet officials allowed and provided for unmonitored alcohol consumption and then did not initially intervene when physical violence was observable, or when harassment was reported. “Integrity involves truthfulness and consistency of words and actions” (McShane, 2010, p. 459 Communication: For effective leadership “Good communication skills are important” (McShane, 2010, p. 224) The language barrier can cause difficulties communicating in a multicultural setting, not all participants were very fluent in English, which was to be a default language for communication, this issue should be given greater consideration for future exercises of this nature.
Leadership Group 159 Participants and organizers expectations should be clear, upfront and understood by all involved, “negative evaluations may go to leaders who deviate from those expectations” (McShane, 2010, p. 476), which is how the Russian Psychologists were eventually perceived. Lack of sensitivity towards all the cultures and genders involved meant that the wider communities of these people took a dim view towards the leaders of this project. Stating that the “kissing incident was tolerable compared to this response from the Russian scientists” (McShane, 2010) Not intervening appropriately and subsequently not supporting affected personnel are leadership flaws which subjected this experiment to global criticism and unnecessarily discredited several of those associated with it. Improvements in communication, structure, integrity and accountability should benefit those who will actually experience space isolation, maybe even on mars. Accountability: “Effective leaders also provide the information, support and other resources necessary” (McShane, 2010, p. 461), when organisers were again confronted after the experiment was completed; they were offended by how they were publicly portrayed and blamed misunderstanding, Lapierre's reaction and cultural differences . Lapierre was forced to personally defend her own reactions as being reasonable and not “too emotional” (McShane, 2010)
STAFF SUPPORT MECHANISMS Group 159 • A number of events occurred during the ‘Mir Kiss’ experiment that highlight the need for effective staff support mechanisms. • In chronological order the significant events were: • Two Cosmonauts fought with one another to the point where: • The walls became blood splattered. • A colleague felt it prudent to hide all the knives for fear of escalating violence. • The Russian commander grabbed the female researcher, dragged her out of sight of the cameras and kissed her, aggressively, twice. After being rejected he tried to kiss her again the next morning. • The international research team requested that the doors between their chambers and the Russian cosmonaut chambers be barred. • As a result of these events the international research crew complained to IBMP about the behaviour of the cosmonauts.
STAFF SUPPORT MECHANISMS Group 159 Response and analysis • Would they: • A) Have let the crew work it out form themselves and, if they had failed to find a solution, let them die, on the basis that ‘Mir is an autonomous object, far away from anything’ or, • B) Intervene in the overriding interests of the health and safety of the crew and on the basis of their duty of care? • Whilst the question remains rhetorical, we hope that the answer would not have been A), for two reasons: • Firstly, it would be inhumane, immoral and illegal (in any conscionable jurisdiction) to allow this to occur, even in the pursuit of science and • Secondly and more simply, as evidenced by the reaction of the international researchers to the lack of response from the Russian Institute, ‘If we had known …we would not have joined it as subjects’. • From this last statement we can start to draw the conclusion that the international researchers had a not unreasonable expectation that their participation in the experiment (organisation) will be underpinned by the basic duty of care that an employer owes to employees, including the prevention of harm; both physical and psychological and support mechanisms, including procedural justice, to resolve issues in the workplace. The response of the Russian Institute to the complaint was, apparently, to take no action. As we have seen in Team Development, their view was that the incidents were part of the experiment and they wanted crew members to solve their personal problems with mature discussion. This response gives rise to a question of perspective: “How would the Russian Institute have reacted if there had been a critical failure in the oxygen supply system in the experimental chambers, to the point where the lives of the crew (international researchers and cosmonauts) were threatened?”
STAFF SUPPORT MECHANISMS Group 159 A balanced perspective • Potential reactions: • Fear for personal safety in the workplace • Loss of confidence in Management to respond to and deal with issues • Confusion about the attitude of Management to workplace violence and sexual assault • Feelings of intimidation • Anger towards co-workers, Management and the organisation • Loss of self-confidence • Confusion over what is right and what is wrong in the workplace • These are just some of the potential reactions that the international researchers could have experienced as a result of the way they were treated by the Russian Institute. The international researchers came from: Austria, Canada and Japan. It is possible that their background experiences of working in their respective countries led them to have expectations in regard to their basic employment protections that were outside the norm in Russia. The international researchers believed that if they raised a genuine and valid concern with the organisational hierarchy in relation to their physical safety, they would be taken seriously and the issues would be taken up and dealt with. It is possible that the Russians reacted in the way that they did because in their experiences and the prevailing employment construct, such issues, regardless of whether they are the subject of a formal complaint, or not, are simply not taken up and dealt with by the organisation hierarchy, or those in positions of authority. Notwithstanding the Russian perspective, for the purposes of promoting sound organisational practices, let us look at the potential reactions of the international researchers to the incidents that occurred and the following of lack of response to their complaints:
STAFF SUPPORT MECHANISMS Group 159 An alternative path • Implement a grievance procedure. When the international researchers initiated a formal complaint they had an expectation that it would receive proper consideration. A well understood grievance procedure would ensure that all parties understood the process for dealing with a formal complaint and that, regardless of the merits of the complaint, their rights would be protected and that procedural justice would be applied. • Provide counselling, or an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Where employees have witnessed violence in the workplace and/or been sexually assaulted it is often more beneficial to the employees concerned to provide independent, professional counselling to assist them, rather than have a Manager try to deal with the employee’s issues. This is because a) most Managers are not trained to undertake counselling of distressed employees and b) independent counselling allows the issues to be dealt with on their own merits, without any fear of overspill into other areas, such as future promotion opportunities, which may occur if a Manager deals directly with a distressed employee. It is hypothesised that if the Russian Institute had adopted some simple, but well proven steps to dealing with the issues highlighted above, they could have prevented the eventual breakdown of the experiment and the acrimonious exchanges that ensued in the public domain. • Proscribe and apply a discipline policy. If two employees come to blows in the workplace, it should be dealt with as soon as practicable by Management. By intervening, breaking up the fight and separating the employees, Management would have gone some way to reassuring the other employees that they retained an element of control and order (this would be somewhat diminished by the common knowledge that Management had supplied the alcohol that fuelled the fight in the first place).
STAFF SUPPORT MECHANISMS Group 159 An alternative path cont’d • The above practices are often employed by organisations that recognise the importance of having staff support mechanisms in place to: • Provide mechanisms to deal with issues before they become problems • Resolve issues that do become problems in a well understood and workable framework • Reinforce the psychological contract between the organisation and its staff • Promote staff well being • Implement a conflict resolution model. Keeping people isolated for long periods of time is stressful. Given that this was a research experiment it might have benefited both the Russian Institute and the crew if they had a chance to explore and learn, rather than just endure. The implementation of a conflict resolution model might have afforded the participants the opportunity to explore and resolve issues before they became toxic.
CONCLUSIONS Group 159 Perhaps the most obvious lesson from the MIR experiment is that effective and productive organisational practice does not happen by chance. It takes planning and application. Well qualified, competent, experienced professionals can and will still get into situations in organisations that can lead to serious consequences. Sometimes they are deliberate acts, sometimes they simply unfortunate misunderstandings. Either way, if an organisation has in place the processes and foundations designed to shape and influence the organisational culture it desires and provides the leadership, coaching, guidance and support mechanisms for its staff, there is a much stronger possibility that the sort of incidents that occurred on the MIR experiment will either not occur in the first place, or, if they do, will be resolved quickly, calmly and to the satisfaction of all involved and allow the normal functioning of the organisation to continue as intended. This has been a Group 159 special investigation. Organisational Behaviour We can see from the events that occurred on the MIR experiment that without proper planning and implementation of organisational disciplines, procedures and structures, things can go very wrong. The IBMP was, for all intents and purposes, a technical scientific experiment. Our investigative team: Group 159 did not look into the scientific aspects of the experiment and it is plausible that these were set up are in a very detailed, orderly and proper fashion. Group 159 investigated the Organisational Behavioural aspects of the MIR experiment and, as we have seen in the preceding pages, what we found was clear lack of sound organisational practice from ineffective leadership to poor team development. A focus on management of the experiment and the welfare of the crews involved might have averted some of the incidents that occurred and saved the experiment from the humiliating public criticism that played out in the international press once the experiment concluded.
References: BIGGER BROTHER.mov . (2011, June 14). Retrieved July 2011, from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np_oB2kNv-E Grey, J. (1992). Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. New York, New York, US: HarperCollins. McShane, S. O. (2010). Organisational Behaviour on the Pacific Rim (3rd ed.). North Ryde, NSW, Australia: McGraw Hill Australia Pty Ltd. Pronina, L. (1999). Russian isolation experiment furthers space cooperation. The Russian Journal (6). Space sunrise: http://images.sixrevisions.com/2009/07/28-20_sunrise_in_space.jpg Storming/norming/performing: http://s3.hubimg.com/u/4558454_f520.jpg Team work: http://www.google.com.au/imgres?q=leadership&um=1&hl=en&rlz=1T4SUNC_enAU370AU370&tbm=isch&tbnid=87xtkzqxnPY5aM: Trust hands: http://www.clarionenterprises.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/Trust-Hands-275x182.jpg Russian Cosmonauts: http://www.astronaut.ru/exper/sfincss/foto/crew1_s.htm?reload_coolmenus International volunteers: http://www.astronaut.ru/exper/sfincss/foto/crew3_s.htm?reload_coolmenus Sign post: http://preview.canstockphoto.com/canstock5269643.png People building a puzzle: http://www.vallester.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/team.jpg Fight silhouettes: http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/paha_l/paha_l1004/paha_l100400059/6751016-fight-silhouette.jpg Lapierre: http://tvanouvelles.ca/archives/lcn/infos/regional/media/2000/04/20000410-082939-g.jpg Space man: http://www.google.com.au/imgres?q=cartoon+cosmonauts&hl=en&gbv=2&noj=1&tbm=isch&tbnid=-UIcROm_b_9iRM: See, speak, and hear no evil monkeys:http://www.flickr.com/photos/caminhodomeio/3239307579/ Path: http://www.google.com.au/imgres?q=yellow+brick+road&hl=en&gbv=2&biw=1920&bih=887&tbm=isch&tbnid=OviaUMzp3MuxiM: Pictures References (in order of appearance): Cosmonauts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np_oB2kNv-E Lapierre: http://tvanouvelles.ca/archives/lcn/infos/regional/media/2000/04/20000410-082939-g.jpg Flags: http://www.flags.net/ Simulator diagram: http://iss.jaxa.jp/med/about/health/images/1.2_04.jpg Mir Space Station: http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/mir.gif Man/Women scales: http://899alk.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/equalitymenwomen_eu981.jpg Men are from Mars women are from Venus: http://advice.lovedetour.com/wp-content/uploads/Men-and-Women.jpg He said she said: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np_oB2kNv-E Pantene Pro-V: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/50552_113918951953724_3395_n.jpg PowerPoint template courtesy of: www.presentationmagazine.com