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In Class Case Analysis A MIR KISS

By Corene Procope Tuesday 11th March, 2014

Moscows Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP) set up a replica camp with a team of researchers from Japan, Canada, Austria, French-Canada and Russia all of whom speak varying proficiency levels of English. Amongst the researchers was only one female, Judith Lapierre, who not only came along with significant qualifications and experience in the Russian atmosphere but also a kind personality. The experiment took a turn for the worst at the New Years Eve party where the use of alcohol resulted in a fistfight and sexual harassment or stolen kiss against Lapierre. This resulted in the quitting of the Japanese team member who was replaced by a Russian researcher, the Russians being separated from the rest of the team and public uproar over the sexual harassment issue.
Q1. This case shows evidence of several OB issues which all resulted in the Conflict

during and after the experiment. The dynamics of the team saw 1. Difference in cultures due to members being from five(5) different countries 2. Gender inequality with only one female being a part of the team 3. Barriers to Communication issues as the members spoke varying proficiency levels of English 4. Lack of Leadership within the crew whereby the Russian Institute wanted the crew members to solve their personal problems with mature discussions 5. Absence of Team development gathered from the fact that the international researchers were newly isolated in the chamber along with the four Russian cosmonauts who had already completed 120 days All of which these issues can be juxtaposed to the Fishbone Model of Conflict resulting in a Disruptive environment inclusive of violence, sexual harassment and public scrutiny.

Q2. Conflict appears to be at the forefront of IBMPs dilemma with symptoms such as

sexual harassment claims, aggressive behaviour, cultural differences and communication barriers as identified in the case. The crew was formed with persons from varying countries with differing views, there was only one female participant and the crew did not speak the same language. IBMP must now seek ways to amend this problem.

Q3. Should IBMP continue the research they should first ensure that during the

selection process involves training and team bonding as they will be placed in conditions such a chamber the size of a train. In addition, the crew should also be speaking the same language or have the same level of proficiency of a similar language in order to avoid barrier

to communicate. To address the cultural differences, IBMP can ensure that crew member are aware of the varying cultures they are expected to face, this can be realized during the team bonding recruitment process or through written biographies of each member for distribution. Most importantly to address the issue of sexual harassment and violence, IBMP should ensure that policies are in place for low tolerance to such actions whereby crew member are required to agree to the policy prior to commencing the experiment as they can be punished for violation of the policy. Lewins change management model will be most suitable to this scenario as the persons involved in this strategic change have not created a bond or a culture amongst each other therefore the challenges to implement such changes may not result in significant opposition. IN addition, given the nature of the instances whereby the public is now involved, a rapid change is required to protect the credibility of the experiment and IBMP.