Based on information from experts and Bradford R. Glaser’s real-life experience on the Appalachian Trail, Black Bear demonstrates the concept of team synergy — the belief that decisions made by groups are better than decisions made by individuals acting alone (Michaelson, Watson, & Black, 1989). Groups bring a greater sum total of knowledge and information to the discussion of a problem, as well as a greater number of approaches and perspectives. Black Bear can also demonstrate “process loss.” This phenomenon occurs when a knowledgeable group member outperforms the group, indicating that the member’s knowledge was lost sometime during the group discussion. In order for group decision making to work, unique information must be shared and absorbed by the group (Stasser, 1992).
How It Works
This realistic roundtable simulation challenges groups to rank five strategy alternatives and 10 backpack items — first as individuals, and then as a team. First, as the facilitator, you’ll introduce the adventure scenario. Participants will then rank the alternatives and items on their own, using pressure-sensitive scoring forms. Next, each team conducts the same ranking process as a unit. Finally, you’ll lead the participants into a group action planning discussion, providing the team with the opportunity to apply the learning to the workplace.
Uses for Black Bear
• Illustrate the concept of team synergy
• “Break the ice” among new or conflicted teams
• Give teams a non-threatening opportunity to work together
• Help teams practice consensus decision-making
• Improve active listening, probing, and confronting behaviours in a realistic setting
• Train team leaders in team facilitation skills
• Open or close a learning session
• Introduce an organisational change, such as the transition to self-managing teams
• Interject a fun activity into an otherwise serious agenda
• Assess group member competence
• Supplement outdoor experiential learning
What to Order/Product Contents
Order one Facilitator Guide per trainer and one Participant Guide per team member.
Note: Black Bear works best when participants are divided into teams of seven or fewer per table.
Facilitator Guide includes:
• Administrative guidelines
• 2-hour workshop design NEW!
• Expert rationale
• Experiential learning/training methodology
• Training design options NEW!
• CD-ROM containing Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentation, reproducible masters, and color slides of scenario location NEW!
• Updated page layout NEW!
• Sample copy of Participant Guide NEW!
• 2-hour workshop design with detailed preparation checklist and step-by-step facilitator instructions
• Convenient binder format NEW!