This essay sample on A Mir Kiss Case Study provides all necessary basic info on this matter, including the most common “for and against” arguments. Below are the introduction, body and conclusion parts of this essay.
A Mir Kiss Case Analysis: Organizational Behavior and Culture
Davenport University 01/09/11 I. The Situation: In preparation for an expedition to Mars, a joint international studies program, Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP), set up a replica in Moscow where three international researchers were joined with four Russian cosmonauts.
The three researches were from Japan, Canada, and Austria. None of the participants spoke English as their first language, however they each communicated in English at varying levels of proficiency during their stay. The replica was no larger than the size of a train car.
As part of the study, the researchers were asked to join the Russian cosmonauts for 110 days, after the four Russians had already completed almost half of their 240 days in isolation. Only one female, Judith Lapierre, was invited to participate in the experiment.
She had a PhD in public health and social medicine, and had previously conducted isolation research in Antarctica. It should also be mentioned that this would be her fourth trip to Russia enabling her to learn the language. Lapierre claims that the Japanese and Austrian participants viewed her as something favorable.
Lapierre created a comfortable environment by rearranging furniture, hanging posters and putting down a tablecloth on the kitchen table. Lapierre explained that the Russians only viewed their environment as something to be endured.
It was during a New Year’s Eve party, when an event ensued that created tension between the participants in the study. After drinking vodka, two of the Russian cosmonauts engaged in a fistfight and had to be restrained by the other men. The two involved generally did not cope well with each other even before the incident.
Soon after, the Russian commander grabbed Lapierre and dragged her out of view of the cameras, where he proceeded to kiss her aggressively. Lapierre fought him off, however, her message was not received and he tried to kiss her again in the morning. Though complaints were raised, the IBMP took no action, rather, they explained that they wanted the crew members to solve their own personal problems with mature discussion. They further explained after the project had ended that “If the crew can’t solve problems among themselves, they can’t work together. Ten days after the fight the doors between the Russian and the international crew’s chambers were barred. This request was made by the international team. Lapierre later explained that this action was taken for fear of violence, not the incident involving her and the general.
II. Key Issues: An experiment to study isolation, in preparation for space travel ended in controversy. Judith Lapierre, who was 32 at the time of the study was the only female among several males. The New Year’s Eve party rapidly turned sour when vodka became part of the mix with the international crew.
A violent fight broke out between two of the Russian cosmonauts, and a kiss between the Russian commander and Judith Lapierre. The two Russians had apparently settled their differences within minutes of the disagreement. However, Lapierre had later said “An unwanted French kiss when the woman says ‘no’ is completely unacceptable” (Warren, 2000). There are many key issues at hand in the described text. Firstly, there was limited space for the participants to live and cope with one another. Secondly, with an extended stay in isolation tension as well as mental status will tend to rise and fall on a daily basis.
Thirdly, there is a group of international crew members with different cultures, none of them with a common language. Finally, adding alcohol to the mix might have been the boiling point for a frustrated crew (Warren, 2000). The biggest rift appears, however, to have been the violence that Lapierre witnessed the night of the party. The men looking at pornographic websites she could understand and deal with. Understanding that she was to be the only woman, she knew that she would ultimately be coming to a man’s place, but the violence had crossed the line.
The project’s supervisors have conceded that they were thoughtless and gave Lapierre a lack of support. Conversely, they still argue that she should have been a little more tolerant herself. Furthermore, they have claimed that Lapierre had placed psychological stress on the Russian crew members, and that she would have done well to study the Russian culture further (Warren, 2000).
III. The Problem:
Although the conflict was in many ways, a boiling point, the problem arose with the way the study was conducted.
There are several problems that stem from a lack of cultural understanding and tolerance. With several cultures you have variations of morality, beliefs and identity. Little is known of exercises that were performed beforehand or during the isolation that enabled understanding of the individual crew members. Additionally, the crew members would obviously have trouble communicating to each other. It specifically states that none of the crew members had a common first language, and they all had a varying level of English language comprehension.
One could assume that such a language barrier would cause frustration among the crew members. Again, little is known about how much support the crew members had during the experiment. But by the feel of the article, one could assume that they had very little, with the goal of the experiment being for the crew members to work out differences on their own. In addition, little is known about the personalities or the disagreement that had stirred the fight during the party. All that is known is that the two Russian men did not get along with each other.
The reason for their conflict goes unmentioned, and over the course of the experiment may not matter. The overall goal of the study was to see how or if crew members could cope. This would mean that whatever conflicts arose, would have be solved by mature conversing between the members. It could also be suggested that the crew members had not received training in dealing so closely with other individuals.
One could almost deem a communication skills building course necessary before the experiment had ensued. This would allow conflicts that arose during frustration situations o be explored and extinguished by conversing with each other. Should they have had better communication skills no such disagreement would have been an issue.
The final problem was a trigger, the alcohol, which lowered the inhibitions of the participating Russian men involved in the conflict. Generally well received alcohol provides a release factor generally enhancing the mood one has previously to drinking. Should any of the crew members had been frustrated, as suggested above, the alcohol would have had a profound effect on the men.
It should never have been approved.
IV. Alternative Solutions:
Individuals are always going to disagree when working together in groups, and conflicts are going to arise. The result of conflict in the workplace is essentially the responsibility of the person in charge. It is not known if someone was at the head of the research group within the Mir replica. Regardless, there are practical ways to dissolve conflicts in the workplace. Firstly, the issue at hand should be known which would allow the problem to be discussed among the party involved.
Every person should be able to clarify his or her perspectives and opinions about the conflict. Diving into the thoughts and processes of the crew members allow for understanding of each other leading to tolerance. Issues need to be identified and discussed openly among members of the group. This is something that can be done to keep issues from becoming problems. A process for resolving conflicts should have been set ahead of time by the members of the experiment. An agreement should be made in case there are differing viewpoints and then compromises should be made (Anonymous).
V. Recommendation: Conflict usually sparks negative associations leading to arguments, hatred, anger etc. Conflict has been defined by a process that begins when one party perceives that another party has negatively affected or is about to negatively affect something the first party cares about. That is the definition as written by Stephen Robbins, author of Organizational Behavior. Dr. David G. Javitch describes conflict as tension, stating that conflict itself is neither good nor bad.
But by adding our own personal experiences to conflict, we give it value. This value can be either positive or negative based on your thinking or understanding of the conflict. Javitch continues by saying that people often respond to conflict in different ways. Sometimes people tend to shy away from such situations, where they do not want to get involved in challenging conversations with heated debates. Some people try to overcome fear of conflict by overcompensating, and react in ways that are often considered offensive, thereby creating their own conflict.
Then again, some realize that conflict is not always negative and can provide an opportunity to communicate with fellow peers open-mindedly. This is the one solution that should have taken place for the members participating in the isolation training. They should have kept an open mind, resolving their conflicts with communication rather than acting out in frustration. The researchers, including Lapierre, and the Russian cosmonauts should have viewed their conflicts as an opportunity to communicate and resolve the issues at hand.