Sample Business Studies Paper on The Playground Case

Given the need to renovate and improve, Ithaca Community Park authorized Ithaca Special Projects Task Force (ISPTF) to come up with strategies for improving the park. Both groups saw the need to better the lives of those living around the park, which would be done by dealing with issues concerning their common playground. The two groups convened to discuss and present ideas on how to improve Ithaca Community to the city council in order to draw funding consideration. The Ithaca Community Park taskforce comprised of members of the park, members of the Recreation Department, as well as community volunteers. The discussions that ensued were facilitated by Amy.

Each group had enough time to go through the playground case and come up with ideas to present at the debate. Thus, each group arrived at the discussion table well prepared to present their ideas and to convince potential opponents. As a member of the Park and Recreation Department, I was involved in proposing several decisions, including: ensuring that seniors who reside in Titus Tower were unaffected by the noise of children playing in the park or teenagers who frequent the park; increasing the distance between the children’s playground and the rest of the park so as to enhance children’s safety; and improving overall safety at Ithaca Community. To achieve these goals and objectives, we began by identifying the stakeholders of the playground. Secondly, we subdivided the group to make it easier to research and gain in-depth knowledge about Ithaca Community. Upon analyzing factors like crime rate, diversity, and ethnicity, we accrued plenty of data which proved informative about the community. From conducting our research about Ithaca College, we found that over two hundred students were engaged in volunteering activities for the community. Additionally, based on data provided by the FBI, Ithaca’s crime rate is higher than the 86% of the state’s cities and towns (Ithaca, NY Crime Rates and Statistics – Neighborhood Scout).

As a counter-strategy, it was established, through our meetings, that two of the four baseball fields would be removed. In their place, a food trucks area, maintenance department, monitor tower, security guard, restroom, bike rental station, emergency department, surveillance cameras, a pet’s area, and a sidewalk would be added. It was also decided that the operating hours for children would be set to run between 7 am and 7 pm, while that of other visitors would be between 7 am and 10 pm. Based on the nature of these changes, it was observed that the plan would take up the entire budget, but we opted to go with it anyway. However, we received crucial information from the facilitator, Amy, who informed us that the governor’s son was hit by a vehicle while cycling on State Street. This information made us reconsider our plan. We opted to dedicate $27,000 towards a bicycle lane project. We decided to reduce the budget from $63,750 to $36,750. The new budget necessitated that we remove volleyball court and kid’s swimming pool.

The two groups were tasked with investigating the concerns of the community that were related to the playground. Based on the information provided by community volunteers, it was established that members of the community who resided near the playground were concerned about issues like noise, overcrowding, as well as gang activities. Members of the community made a number of recommendations, including covering the basketball courts with special material to contain noise within the park, reducing crowding, and addressing issues relating to safety. The groups saw it necessary to cover the basketball and baseball courts as recommended by members of the community. It was also proposed that league schedule would be shifted from Monday and Wednesday (4 pm to 8 pm) to Tuesday and Thursday (4 pm to 8 pm). Thirdly, the groups proposed setting operational hours for the park to be between 7 am and 8 pm. Next, it was proposed that the sitting area would be tailored to allow parents to watch their children playing. Lastly, it was proposed that the food truck area would be put up for lease.

The Park and Recreation Department had established the importance of ensuring children safety and maintenance of the playground. The department had come up with three primary goals and objectives, namely:  relocating the sitting area to the space under the trees next to Titus Tower (seniors would find the sitting area more suiting here and closer to residential area); renovating the equipment in the park; and enhancing the park while keeping up high standards of cleanliness. High standards of cleanliness would be made possible by engaging volunteers to keep the park clean, especially whenever large crowds happened.

As it turned out, both groups agreed on the need to work on a proposal that would ensure safety for children, reduce crowding, and reduce noise. To increase safety within the park, both groups agreed upon installing surveillance cameras that would be directly connected to the police department. Considering that relocating the basketball court would cost between $10,000 and $15,000, and given the need to minimize cost, the groups agreed on not moving it. However, the groups saw the need to reduce noise and thus agreed on covering the basketball and baseball fields with a sound-absorbing material. Both groups agreed on uninstalling the emergency and security tower to minimize cost further. This would be replaced by a pet’s area in the following year. It was also agreed that the playground and sitting area would be renovated in order to give the park a cleaner and more decent feel. In order to generate profits, both groups agreed upon leasing the food truck area which fits three food trucks. Based on statistics provided by the community volunteers, it is estimated that the park will generate around $6,000 each year.

Despite the teams’ inability to come up with a concrete proposal for a playground structure, they agreed that working together was fruitful. Every individual was encouraged to come up with opinions in support of the ideas presented by their groups. After thorough negotiations, the group that had adamantly opposed covering up the fields on the grounds arguing that the idea was exorbitant finally conceded that doing so would be advantageous to the community.

By utilizing a task force, it was understood that the idea of diving members into groups has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. One of the main challenges was that members took a great deal of time to agree on decisions. This was particularly evident when one group attempted to convince the other that the idea of covering the basketball and baseball grounds was feasible. It was also noted that individuals with similar ideas would contribute in the response fragment. Since the opinions raised by some individuals were not included in the final proposal, there was a connotation of bias. The members who were loud were also likely, consciously or subconsciously, to intimidate those who were either quiet or nonparticipating. One of the advantages observed was that there was an increased possibility of brainstorming and coming up with a wide range of creative ideas. Members who participated were also observed to demonstrate excitement and happiness and were also likely to participate in future group or community activities. In future, such members were also likely to bring in friends or family members to participate in finding solutions.

In the event that an assignment required the participation of individuals with diverse backgrounds, the importance of group dynamics ought not to be overlooked. Some members are likely to be motivated by the necessity of participatory involvement regardless of environmental factors. At the same time, some may lack the motivation to participate while some may still fear the consequences of participating and refrain altogether. Group thinking may also prove distracting if it becomes the object of focus, especially when settling basic decisions. According to the group dynamics theory, for a group to achieve significant progress, it is pertinent that it undergoes a series of procedures and phases of development. From this case, it is evident that if the groups had more time, they would be better prepared for the challenge. With more time, it is likely that they would come up with concrete ideas such as a better investment in the park and better savings on the budget. For group work to be effective, it is important that all members are comfortable with working with others. It is also relevant that people know each other and that they have faith in each other.

Other than allowing the groups more time to come up with ideas for the park, I feel that it was possible for the groups to come up with better solutions for the park. Most importantly, I feel that it was possible for the park to come up with a more affordable option for covering the basketball and baseball fields. I also feel that it was possible for the groups to come up with a more profitable investment in the park. With more time being allowed, the facilitator would be required to arrange meetings to discuss new opportunities as they emerge. One method that I feel would be effective, given the limitation of time, is dividing the case aspects into multiple subtasks. Each task would then be assigned to a single individual to work on. With the coordination and input of the facilitator, it would be possible to come up with more ideas and suggestions. With a task checklist to track progress, it would be easy for work to be organized better.

In conclusion, both groups had enough time to get prepared. The discussion based on the proposals presented by each group proved fruitful. However, following the discussion, it was felt that more would have been achieved if the groups had been allowed additional time to work on the case. Collaboration and readiness to listen to each group’s perspectives brought the groups close. However, it was felt that there was room for improvement in future discussions with respect to interrupting each other. Moreover, by coming up with realistic suggestions, members would make it possible for the team to come up with the best possible decision much easier and faster. Both groups achieved their objectives by relying on the diverse backgrounds, experience, and expertise of individual members. The diversity of groups also made it possible to come up with various ideas. The entire experience was beneficial to members as it informed them on the importance of negotiation and the consequence of fearing negotiations. The experience and skills accrued from this task will be beneficial in handling future assignments and in approaching real-life situations.

 

 

 

Works Cited

“How Does Ithaca College Rank Among America’s Best Colleges?” U.S. News & World   Report. U.S. n.d. Web. 28 July 2017.

“Ithaca,.” Ithaca, NY Crime Rates and Statistics – NeighborhoodScout.N.p., n.d. Web. 28 July       2017.