Interacting in teams effectively is an essential skill for many employees and managers that work in professional settings.  Indeed, understanding interpersonal dynamics and behavior is paramount for strong decision-making and relationship-building practices.

Currently in the field of Organizational Behavior, there are several hot topics being explored to help professional employees and managers understand key elements when working in teams, such as emotional intelligence, motivation, and communication.  This class taps into these subjects at a high-level, but now is your opportunity to conduct research that will help deepen your understanding of these distinct topics and to apply this newfound knowledge to theoretical scenarios in a professional setting.


Choose one of three scenarios and compose a 4-5 page paper that addresses the issues of each case, provides background information on the topical issues, and develops a theoretical action plan to correct the identified problems.

Papers should be submitted using 12pt, Times New Roman typeface; be double-spaced; pages should contain 1” margins; and be in compliance with APA standards, 6th edition.

The paper should also contain citations from at least five academically viable resources (such as peer-reviewed articles, academic manuscripts, industry reports, and professional magazines), in addition to the textbook.  A reference page listing all of the cited sources should be provided at the end of the paper (this page does not count towards the 4-5 page requirement).

Please refer to the Rubric in the addendum on how the assignment will be graded.  There are four main grading domains worth 50 points each.  A total score of 200 points is possible for the paper.

Scenario 1: Navigating the Rough Waters of Emotions

Denise and Xena work together in a team that you manage within a company’s Marketing Department.  Both are marketing leads for their respective areas—print and digital advertising.  They have been working together for one year, but over the course of time you have noticed disrespectful behavior erupt between them.  Denise often belittles Xena’s ideas about certain marketing strategies and campaigns, while Xena tends to minimalize Denise’s contributions to the Department.  This toxic behavior is affecting the quality of output among their work teams as their contention continues to grow between one another.

You know that these two leads started off as close colleagues, and would enjoy the occasional social “happy hour” together.  But one day that positive dynamic changed and their negative affect towards one another signaled that something deep and personal was now enveloping them.  Indeed, both hold soured mood towards one another based on their negative non-verbal cues.

As their manager, and before problems escalate further, you need to investigate the root cause of these issues.  Also, you need to engage in emotionally intelligent strategies to handle this situation with interpersonal finesse.

What are the principles of emotions and moods that you should keep in mind when approaching this situation?  What are the best emotionally intelligent strategies to employ when speaking with Denise and Xena about their deviant workplace behavior?  Lastly, how would you go about addressing the disruption and provide much needed relief to the work teams?

Scenario 2: Addressing Motivation Issues among Employees

Jon, Tom, and Pete are database administrators (DBA) in the IT Department that you manage.  Jon and Tom have been working steadily since they started working in the department two years ago.  Pete, the newest DBA, started working just a few months ago and has caught up to the workloads of Jon and Tom.  One day, Pete casually reveals his base salary to Jon and Tom, which is 15% higher than their own base pay.  Jon and Tom are disheartened by this discrepancy, and their job involvement began to diminish.

As their manager, you just did a job performance review and notified Jon and Tom about their recent low performance.  When Jon and Tom explained that their lacking work effort was due to their feelings of being underpaid, you told them that based on their recent work performance, any pay raise would not be justified.  As a result, Jon and Tom got more upset and angry, and their work suffered even more than before.  Peter had to pick up the slack from Jon and Tom, and now tension has been palpably noted in the Department on a daily basis.

As their manager, to avoid the contagion effect from their negative attitudes, you need to approach the situation between Jon and Tom delicately.  Not only do you need to decide how to address their diminishing performance again, but how alleviate problems with their job dissatisfaction.

What attitudes and values are at play here?  What motivation principles are also displayed in this situation?  How should their behavior be addressed?  What is the series of actions that you will take to course-correct the job dissatisfaction in the Department?

Scenario 3: Communication Nuances in Team Dynamics

In the Accounting Department for an organization you oversee, Amanda and Robert are managers of Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable, respectively.  Amanda, a veteran in the organization, is a very assertive, gregarious, energetic, and quick-talking person.  She instructs her team of two years to be fast and forthright about cash deposits, notes receivables, and other asset inflows through daily email messages to the other department managers about these activities.  The team has gotten down their analyses and reports down to a science and easily work together to accomplish this objective.

Robert, on the other hand, is relatively new to the organization, and is a quiet, reserved, stoic, and reticent individual.  Being unfamiliar with his also newly formed team, he does not imitate Amanda’s team’s communication activities.  In fact, Robert prefers his team to send out notices of accounts payables, notes, cash payments, and other transactions through detailed month-end reports to the managers.  He figures that the team needs time to get is footing together before he can make further demands with how these financial activities are reported.  Unfortunately, due to these discrepant communication practices, department managers are often confused about the transactional inflows and outflows of their accounts, never knowing their true financial balances.

As the Director of Finance, you recognize that there are personal and professional differences in the ways that Amanda and Robert communicate and lead their respective teams.  However, these differences trickle down into how they manage the activities of their teams, which cause further problems for other departments that need to get a better handle on their financials.

What are the personality and communication dynamics at play here?  How do you make Amanda and Robert aware of these differences?  Also, what kind of team dynamics are at play in this situation?  What will you do to reconcile all of these differences so that the teams are on equal footing in how the organization is notified of the respective financial activities?


Student Name _______________________________            Total Score __________________

 ExcellentGoodFairNot Passing
Identifies key OB principles that are present in the scenario and provides background on the topical issues(50-44 points) Expertly identifies and thoroughly explains at least four OB principles and topical issues in the scenario(43-37 points) Identifies three OB principles in the scenario; some concepts and ideas are not addressed in the topical issues(36-30 points) Identifies two OB principle in the scenario; a few concepts and ideas are not addressed in the topical issues(29-0 points) Identifies only one or no OB principles in the scenario; the concepts and ideas of the topical issues are not explained  
Formulates a viable and feasible action plan to address the OB issue and effectuate change    (50-44 points) Masterfully develops an action plan that addresses the OB issues and will spur effective change(43-37 points) Develops an action plan that addresses most of the OB issues and may lead to some change(36-30 points) Develops ideas for action that address some of the OB issues and gives some hints of possible change(29-0 points) Does not really develop coherent actions or a plan to address the OB issues or incite change
Use of current research to develop content and supplement ideas in the paper    (50-44 points) Cites and references at least 5 academic sources in the paper (not including the textbook)(43-37 points) Cites and references 3-4 academic sources in the paper (not including the textbook)(36-30 points) Cites and references 1-2 academic sources in the paper (not including the textbook)(29-0 points) Cites and references sources that are not academically sound (except for the textbook)
Appropriate number of pages, paper formatting, and APA compliant citations and references    (50-44 points) Composes a 4-5 page paper, is appropriately formatted, and is APA compliant(43-37 points) Composes a 3-4 page paper, is mostly appropriately formatted, and is mostly APA compliant(36-30 points) Composes a 2-3 page paper, is somewhat appropriately formatted, and is somewhat APA compliant(29-0 points) Composes a 1-2 page paper, is not really formatted correctly, and is not really APA compliant


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