International team building

This course is part of the training Bachelor in Business Management.

ECTS
2

Course level
Introductory

Course prerequisites (start competences)
At least student in second year
students are able to work in team
students are generally able to adapt to foreign cultures
students are able to contribute to discussions in English
students are able to fluently read and write English
students are willing to learn German and give the German/Bavarian culture a chance
enthusiast, willing to learn
open minded
flexible
critical, yet not arrogant
eager to function in a multicultural environment
longing for international experience
willing to give and receive feedback; able to cope with negative feedback
stress resistant
dynamic
motivated and not easily giving up
having an own opinion, while at the same time being able to listen to others

Course description & goals (final competences)

Globalisation demands that managers possess the basic skills required to work together in international teams. Many companies actively encourage the development of these skills through teambuilding or team development programs. Especially for change management, team development plays an increasingly important role. Here the critical goal is to optimise how the group members work together as a team. Key factors affecting a team’s success include organisation, structures, processes, culture and relationships.
International Team Building is conducted at the beginning of the semester as a three day off-campus seminar. The hands-on, outdoor training gives the students intensive exposure to the multifaceted nature of group dynamics.
By working together to solve complex problems and through structured feedback sessions, the participants become sensitised to the rolls they assume in group interactions, to the limitations imposed by the German and their own cultures, and to the conditions required for effective team work.
The course supports the integration of foreign students into campus and social life and helps build lasting working relationships among all participants.
The skills of giving and receiving of feedback are learned in the protective atmosphere of small groups through intensive exchanges between instructors and participants.  This leads to improved observation and communication skills.
Moreover, the group members continually switch roles. This promotes a deeper understanding of social interaction, helps members to reflect on their contribution to the group process, encourages members to experiment with new behavioural concepts, and improves the group’s capacity to co-operate and perform. Final feedback rounds offer the possibility to align the members’ self images with the perception others have of them,  to reduce “blind spots”, to increase  self confidence and their ability to reflect.
The capacity to give appropriate feedback in various situations, to monitor one’s self image as well as the consequences of one’s own behaviour  form the basis for a successful career in management.

Table of contents

Group dynamics, processes and structures in groups
Roles in groups (roles in tasks and supporting roles)
Group leadership
Effect of one’s actions in groups
The “give and take” of feedback
Self image and how others see you
Communication levels (content versus relationship)
Conditions for successful co-operation
Cultural influences on teamwork
Note: The main emphasis of this course is not the conveyance of theoretical knowledge, but rather learning directly from experience.

Teaching method

This course is organised as an interactive experience and activity based training program. With the help of complex tasks, timed interaction activities combined with elements of surprise, classical outdoor training exercises, moderated feedback and reflection sessions, participants are taught the necessary conditions for effective teamwork.
The teaching methods are based on the principles of self-organised learning. The instructors define their roles in terms of Schein’s model of process consulting. They intervene by questioning the participants in a manner designed not only to examine their perspectives, but to introduce new perspectives and stimulate the group’s creative process. The responsibility for these process remains with the participants.
In the context of the learning environment, the students enjoy the opportunity to increase their observation, communication, co-operation, self-reflection, teamwork and management skills as well as their self-confidence.
In addition, the course offers the students the chance to network and develop sustainable work relationships at the start of their studies.

Course material

Baron, R. S.: Group Process, Group Decision, Group Action, 2nd. Ed., Buckingham, 2003
Buchanan, D., Huczynski, A.: Organizational Behavior, 5th Ed., Harlow, 2004

Evaluation

Written report and evaluation of individual contributions to group activities.

Retake

Any retake of the courses is generally only possible during the period of July 8 – July 31 following the winter term in which the RIBA courses have been taken the first time. Individual arrangements may only be fixed in direct contact between and mutual agreement of the failing students and the responsible lecturer. (Both the academic and institutional coordinators (Prof. Dr. Nagengast and Dr. von Randow) have to be informed.)

Information lecturer
Prof. Dr. Johann Nagengast
Prof. Dr. Rainer Waldmann