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Distance Learning Assignment

Posted on November 8, 2006 by under Reviews, School.    

Brian thought I should share this with everyone. It’s not that great but it is about one of our most favorite TV shows. I wrote it to satisfy my distance learning assignment in Dr. Graham’s Organizational Behavior (MGMT 862) class. Anyway, since Brian wrote a long blog entry I figured I might as well post this one. After all, I’m not one to be outdone. 😉

Show Information
Episode Title: Fannysmackin’
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Episode Number 145, Season 7
Aired October 12, 2006 at 8:00 PM

[ Sidenote: This is the episode with Kevin Federline aka Mr. Britney Spears. It is his first TV gig. Not that he is of any importance but I thought I would share that bit of trivia. ]

Character Analysis: Leadership Style
The character I have selected for this analysis is Gil Grissom. Grissom is the night-shift supervisor of the Clark County, Nevada CSI team. The team works closely with detectives and the county coroner to investigate crimes in the Las Vegas area.

Based on this episode and other episodes of the show, Grissom’s leadership style would fall under delegating—a style that is both low in relationship or supportive behavior and low in directive behavior. This suits Grissom’s personality quite well because he is dispassionate and anti-social. He provides minimal supervision to his team members and allows them to work independently. Fortunately for Grissom, his team consists of high-performing crime scene investigators who have the necessary skills, willingness and confidence to perform their jobs so the delegating leadership style works effectively. This style of leadership would not be effective or be appropriate for a low-performing group that does not possess a high level of follower readiness. Readiness is a follower’s ability to set high but attainable task-related goals and willingness to accept responsibility for reaching them. Follower readiness is an important consideration when selecting the best leadership approach to use.

There aren’t specific scenes where you witness Grissom delegating tasks to his subordinates but delegation is implied. Members of his team often investigate crime scenes and conduct interrogations on their own, without much supervision or guidance from Grissom. Scenes in this particular episode where Grissom’s team members perform their jobs independent of his supervision include Catherine interviewing Cha Cha, one of the suspects; Sara photographing one of the victims and collecting evidence; Greg heading to the liquor store to bag a sweatshirt; and Nick and Warrick processing a crime scene among others. Grissom is not present for any of these scenes. Grissom trusts each team member to perform their duties. The team members are aware of their responsibilities. This level of trust and delegation is consistent throughout most of the episodes.

There are times when Grissom employs the other leadership styles—participating, selling, and telling. Even though he generally uses the delegating approach, different situations call for different techniques. In other episodes he has used the participating technique when facilitating crime analysis. He often asks questions to get the team members thinking, sometimes outside the box, to come up with possible motives and methods to solve various crimes. He has also used the selling technique to encourage individual team members to follow the evidence in past episodes. Sometimes the investigators tend to go by their emotions or their instincts, which can be deceptive and misleading when we have strong emotions over a subject, and therefore they need more guidance and motivation to remain objective.

In this particular episode Grissom used the telling approach to instruct Greg to collect the sweatshirt evidence from the liquor store. Grissom ordered Greg to “Lose the monkey suit.” And when Greg asked if anyone would be going with him Grissom responded with, “You’re a big boy. You don’t need a wingman.” Grissom was very direct in this interaction with Greg, which is characteristic of the telling style—a low relationship or supportive behavior and high task behavior approach. Grissom is able to effectively use this approach with Greg because Greg is the youngest and most inexperienced field investigator of the team. This approach probably would not be as effective if used with one of the more senior, experienced members Grissom’s team.

It is important to remember that, although leaders have a specific style of leadership that they predominantly employ, effective leaders will use a variety of styles based on the different situational factors. The telling leadership style is more ideal for situations consisting of low follower readiness. The selling and participating leadership styles are suitable for situations consisting of moderate follower readiness. And the delegating leadership style is best for situations consisting of high follower readiness. These leadership styles are valuable tools to have in one’s leadership repertoire. Effective leaders have a good understanding of these tools and know when they are appropriate to use. We must strive to do the same.

Analysis of Conflict Handling Styles
The prevailing interpersonal conflict handling style used is the forcing style—a highly assertive approach to conflict resolution. This is used in interviews and interrogations and is evident in the scene where Catherine interviews Cha Cha. Most of the time the forcing style is necessary in order to extract information from potential suspects or witnesses who are otherwise not forthcoming with information needed to solve crimes. In other episodes I have watched, other styles are sometimes used particularly when interviewing children or individuals who might be emotionally unstable, but in general investigators are very direct and forceful.

One of the scenes that displayed conflict between characters is a scene involving Warrick, Nick and some hecklers—one of these belligerent hecklers happens to be the leader of the fannysmackin’ mob (we don’t find this out until the end of episode, however). As Nick and Warrick process the crime scene they are confronted by hecklers. Despite cautions from Warrick, Nick shouts back at them and ends up punching one of the hecklers in the stomach—forcing style. The heckler continues and even asks if someone videotaped the assault at which point Warrick steps in. He forcefully talks to the heckler and threatens an investigation so the heckler finally backs off. Even though Warrick was aggressive and forceful, I would classify Warrick’s interpersonal conflict handling style in this particular situation to be collaborating because he was able to achieve a win-win solution between themselves and the hecklers. He was able to get the hecklers to back off and avoid being investigated. His approach is far more effective than the physically aggressive approach that Nick used.

Another interpersonal conflict that exists—we don’t get to witness it but it is implied based on Grissom’s conversation with Greg at the hospital—is the conflict that exists between Greg and his mother. Greg has chosen the avoidance style to deal with this conflict. He never told his overprotective mother that he was promoted to field investigator because he wanted to avoid the confrontation that would ensue. He knew that she would disapprove and therefore he felt it best to withhold the information from her and avoid the situation altogether.

Teamwork Analysis: Task, Relations and Self-Oriented Roles
The task-oriented role of a team member involves facilitating and coordinating work-related decision making. The relations-oriented role of a team member includes team-centered feelings and social interactions. The self-oriented role of a team member involves a person’s self-centered behaviors that are at the expense of the team or group.

Grissom’s core team of crime scene investigators consists of Catherine, Warrick, Nick, Sara and Greg. Overall task and relations-oriented roles are common but self-oriented roles are rare, if existing at all. An excellent example of a scene showing both task and relations-oriented roles is the scene between Greg and Sara.

Greg was severely injured by the mob beating that took place the night before. Sara arrived at crime scene. Despite the extensive training she has received and even though she is told that he has been stabilized, her first instinct is to check on Greg and make sure that he is okay. This is an example of the relations-oriented role. She was concerned for Greg, a fellow team member and friend, because there were no paramedics tending to him when she arrived. She expresses her concern for him before tending to the task at hand. Greg, on the other hand, is focused on task-oriented roles. Despite his injuries, Greg calmly tells Sara to process the evidence: the skin cells under his nails, the saliva on his vest and the paint-transfer on the Denali.

While Sara processed Greg, Nick and Warrick processed the rest of the crime scene. Nick’s reaction to the hecklers can be considered self-oriented but this is a stretch. One could classify it under the self-oriented because he failed to consider the consequences of his actions on the team. He could have ignored the hecklers and continued processing the scene but he chose to respond negatively therefore delaying the work that needed to be done. Warrick, exhibiting task-oriented roles, attempted to keep Nick on task and discouraged him from responding.

Teamwork Analysis: Team Diversity
Grissom’s team consists of a diverse group of crime scene investigators, each with their own specialty or area of expertise. Grissom’s expertise is in forensic entomology—thus the “Bug Man” nickname. Not much is known about Grissom because he is a private person and is rather anti-social. His interactions with team members are limited and usually direct.

Catherine is a blood spatter analysts with excellent leadership skills. She briefly worked as swing-shift supervisor before returning to the night-shift team. She acts as an informal leader in the group. She looks after the team when Grissom is not available or on leave. On a personal note, Catherine is a single mother who worked as an exotic dancer before pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology.

Sara is a self-described “science nerd” who has a Bachelor of Science degree in Theoretical Physics from Harvard University and a Masters Degree from University of California, Berkeley. Her forensics specialty is materials and element analysis. Having undergone some traumatic experiences herself, Sara has a tendency to identify closely with victims.

Warrick’s official team role is audio/visual analyst but, as with all other team members, he performs a variety of other tasks depending on what the situation calls for. Street-wise Warrick knows the ins-and-outs of Las Vegas, being the only team member born and raised in there. His colorful background includes a past gambling addiction. Warrick has a degree in Chemistry from University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).

Nick is the team’s hair and fiber analyst. He received a degree in Criminal Justice from Texas A&M University. Affable and easy-going, Nick is good friends with Warrick. Nick has been a victim of various crimes throughout the series and has a natural empathy toward victims.

Greg is the youngest member of Grissom’s team and is their newest field investigator. He has a degree in Chemistry from Stanford University. He began as a resident lab rat before graduating to investigating crime scenes on his own. Greg is optimistic, always cheerful and has a plethora of interests outside the crime lab.

Not only do the team members differ in age (Grissom is older and experienced as opposed to Greg who is their youngest member and inexperienced in the field), gender and cultural background (Warrick is black and was born and raised in Las Vegas, while Greg has a Norwegian heritage) but they also have diverse personal backgrounds (Warrick is married while Catherine is a single mother), life experiences (Catherine previously worked as an exotic dancer, Sara grew up in an abusive household—her mother eventually stabbed her father to death and was subsequently institutionalized—and Nick has been a victim of various crimes), and interests. Despite the extensive diversity the team has learned to work together seamlessly and effectively. They have learned to welcome these differences and utilize each other’s areas of expertise to efficiently solve crimes.

Teamwork Analysis: Norms
Norms are the rules and patterns of behavior that are accepted and expected by members of a team. Grissom does not enjoy paperwork and tries to avoid job politics at all costs, so the establishment and enforcement of norms are essential for the team to achieve its goals. Everyone has to clearly understand the role they play without much direction from Grissom and they do. Catherine’s role as second-in-command to Grissom is an example of an accepted norm. Grissom doesn’t specifically say that he is putting her in charge when is away. She assumes this role and everyone understands it. The team consists of skilled, talented, high-performing, autonomous individuals who know they are expected to work independently at times. They know that they are expected to perform their jobs well and they do.

Teamwork Analysis: Cohesiveness
Overall I would rate Grissom’s team high on cohesiveness. Cohesiveness is the strength of members’ desire to remain in a team and their commitment to it. The core team members have worked together for several years now and have developed a good level of trust and understanding. Even though Greg is new to field investigations, he has been part of the team from the very beginning—just in a different capacity (he worked primarily in the crime lab before moving on to do field work). By watching previous episodes you can see how the team has gone through the various stages of group development: forming, storming, norming and now is at the performing stage. Through the forming and storming stages the team members had to overcome personal conflicts with one another. For instance, Sara and Catherine did not originally get along when Sara initially joined the team in second episode of the first season. Now in the performing stage, team members sometimes disagree with one another’s theories but they work effectively together, using each other’s knowledge, experience and expertise, to solve crimes.

In this episode cohesiveness is displayed when Grissom goes to visit Greg at the hospital. The visit shows his concern for Greg. While processing the crime scene, Sara also showed her concern for Greg. And at the end of the episode, Sara told the others that she is going to Roberto’s to pick up food for Greg and asked if anyone would like to come along. Not only do they work together to solve crimes but they also stick together outside of work.

In another episode—the season five finale—when Nick was abducted and buried alive, Warrick who has developed a strong friendship with Nick over the years pushed the team as hard as he could in their search for Nick. These team members have formed strong bonds and a great level of trust so they are able to be open and honest with one another.

Character Analysis: Receptivity to Feedback and Willingness to Self-Disclose
The team members are good about providing constructive criticism to one another. For the most part everyone is receptive to feedback given by the other members. After all this is a highly cohesive team—one in which the team members know each other really well and know how best to approach one another with feedback. For this section I’d like to present a comparison between Grissom and Greg on the area of self-disclosure.

Self-disclosure is any information that individuals communicate (verbally or nonverbally) about themselves to others. Greg’s character exemplifies a high level of self-disclosure. He is friendly and outgoing. He is always cheerful and he readily shares information about his hobbies, interests and personal life. As a result, avid fans of the show like myself, know a lot about him. We can learn a lot about Greg by watching his interactions with other characters. In various past episodes, we know that he is into surfing, scuba diving, and numismatics (the study of money). We also know that he likes Marilyn Manson, porn, supermodels and latex.

In this episode, for example, we found out that he had exciting day at court. It was his first time seeing a case from the crime scene to the courtroom. His testimony was a significant part of the court case and they were able to get a conviction. He said he was so good that the prosecutor took him to dinner.

It is also in this episode that we found out that he never told his mother about his promotion to field investigator. He told Grissom that his mother wanted four children and only had one. Being an only child, his mother never allowed him to play any sports. She didn’t want him to get hurt. She would never have allowed him to do field work or approved of it.

Grissom, on the other hand, is a very private person. He is not fond of office politics and tries to avoid it at all costs. He has limited contact with his co-workers. He doesn’t share much information about himself and his life. As a result, we know very little about him. However, that is part of his mystery. It’s why a lot of viewers find his character so interesting. In any show there is always a mysterious persona—a character that you want to know more about. It’s what keeps viewers coming back for more.

Nonverbal Communication Cues
Nonverbal cues were used throughout this episode to convey emotions. Examples of expression and gestures include Greg’s eye contact with Demitrius’ brother. Right after Stanley Tanner (one of the victims) thanked Greg for saving his life; Greg heard the screams of Demitrius’ mother in the next room. Demitrius is dead. Greg looked on as she continued to cry out. Demitrius’ brother caught Greg’s eye. Feeling bad, Greg turned around with his head down and walked away. Demitrius’ brother had a look of anger and disgust on his face.

Another example of this is when Warrick shook his head at Nick to discourage him from retaliating to the heckler’s verbal abuse. The message Warrick tried to convey was obvious but Nick failed to heed the warning. The stern look that Warrick gave to one of the hecklers as he told him to go home and not to intervene with the investigation was an effective nonverbal cue.

Another scene showed two men who claimed to have been attacked by the same fannysmackin’ mob that attacked the other victims. When Brass and Sofia met with the two men, they shook their heads and looked at one another as if to say they did not believe the men’s story.

When Catherine interviewed Cha Cha, she exhibited several nonverbal cues including not wanting to look at Catherine (she was looking every which way in the room except directly at Catherine), she had her arms crossed in front of her on a couple of occasions, she fidgeted, laughed nervously and dismissively (not taking the investigation seriously), looked at the floor and at one point she even stood up and moved away from Catherine. All these cues sent an uncooperative message. Cha Cha was very reluctant to give any kind of information.

When Nick walked out of Tara’s house, he saw the car. He looked at Tara as if to say “I know this car was at the crime scene.” He then looked inside where he found one of the victims’ wallet and cell phone. After confirming that the wallet did belong to one of the victims, he looked at Tara again. Tara was looking at him but she turned away. The look on her face seemed to say, “I know I am busted but I don’t care.”

During the interrogation with Brass, Tara was very uncooperative. She refused to speak and had a permanent scowl on her face. At one point she even stretched her arms out and presented her wrists to him, basically asking him to cuff her.

When Sara went to process Greg at the crime scene, she touched his hair to express her concern. She also expressed concern through her tone voice.

Other examples of how voice was used as nonverbal cues during the episode were how Brass used different tones of voice when interviewing the wife of one of the victim’s and Stanley Tanner. He also used a different tone with the two loud-mouths who were filing a false claim.

The liquor store attendant’s rapid rate of speech as he was being interviewed by Sofia was also a nonverbal cue. It conveyed a sense of urgency and panic. Grissom’s tone when speaking to Greg during his visit conveyed concern. Greg’s tone when telling Grissom that his mother had no idea he was doing field work expressed worry.

Brass also used proximity effectively. In one scene he stooped down to talk to the children so that he could be at eye level with them as he told them that the police officer would be driving them and their mother home. And in another scene he leaned in toward Tara as he was aggressively questioning her to exert his dominance and to pressure her into cooperating.

There were many other nonverbal cues used throughout the episode like the physical environment (the sparse interrogations rooms are sparse to eliminate possible distractions and they are purposely not made to be cozy because you don’t want the person you are interrogating to be comfortable; the cold interrogation room is bare to make subjects feel uneasy and intimidated so that they relinquish information more readily), relative orientation, contact, eyes, etc. Nonverbal cues go hand-in-hand with verbal communication to enrich the interaction and make it more meaningful. Effective dialogue cannot take place without both but some nonverbal cues are so subtle that we often take them for granted.

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Pierres Service » Blog Archive » distance learning assignment  on November 28, 2006

[…] brian thought i should share this with everyone. itÂ’s not that great but it is about one of our most favorite tv shows. i wrote it to satisfy my distance learning assignment in dr. grahamÂ’s organizational behavior (mgmt 862) class. …Read more: here […]

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