All posts by Amber

Reflection of Blogging & Participation

  1. On a scale of 1-5 (5 being consistently), how consistent were you with submitting your blog posts in a timely manner?
    • 5 – I submitted my blog posts in a timely matter every time.
  2. On a scale of 1-5 (5 being consistently), how consistent were you with posting at least one thorough comment on a peer’s blog?
    • 5 – I consistently submitted one thorough comment to a peer’s blog for each post that was due. I took the time to read through several of my peer’s blogs and, I wrote thoughtful comments that included references to course concepts.
  3. One a scale of 1-5 (5 being very well), how well did you integrate class concepts into your posts about the Survivor show?
    • 5 – I feel that I did an excellent job of integrating class concepts into my posts about the Survivor show. For every post, I included various concepts from the chapter that corresponded with the post, and I also included concepts from chapters that had been previously covered.
  4. Please describe what you think your strengths were with regard to blogging and
    • With regard to my blogging and participation, I feel that my biggest strength was in applying course concepts to the show. I would review the chapter before watching the show and, then I would take notes as I was watching each episode. This really helped me to apply the course concepts to what I was seeing. In addition, I made it a point to read several of my peers’ blogs and, I always submitted thoughtful posts and comments in a timely manner.
  5. Please describe how you think you could improve on your blogging and
    • In order to improve upon my own blogging and participation, I could have given myself more time to complete some of my posts. I procrastinated on doing some of the posts and, I feel that this makes a difference in the quality of work that I am able to put out. Also, I could have posted comments on more of my peers’ blogs. Since I consistently read more than one of my peers’ posts, I could have left comments for the other bloggers as well.
  1. What did you like about blogging?
    • I liked having an online venue in which to express my opinions. When I sit in a classroom, I am not typically the one to raise my hand and offer my input but, blogging gave me an outlet in which I was more comfortable to express my thoughts.
  2. What did you dislike about blogging?
    • I experienced some internet connection issues throughout the course of this semester and, at times, it was frustrating that I had to wait until I was at a place with internet access to get the blogging assignment done. Also, two episodes had aired before the first blog was due and, this resulted in some students being an episode ahead of others. It wasn’t always easy to find a peer’s blog that was about the same episode that I had watched and, this made posting comments more difficult.
  3. What suggestions do you have for this assignment in the future?
    • In the future, I think it would be best to make sure that the whole class is watching and blogging about the same episode. Also, it might be a good idea to have students take a screenshot to prove that they watched the episodes. I know that some students were just reading other people’s blogs to find out what the episodes were about and, they would just go off what other people had written about. I feel that this unfair to those of us who actually took the time to watch the episodes and provide thoughtful responses.

 

Expect the Unexpected (Episode 9, Chapter 2)

Going into the last Tribal Council it seemed like the alliances had been pretty securely formed and, both seemed to be operating with an established set of group norms. This is worth noting because, as the text points out, the creation of norms is an influential factor in a group’s ability to pass from the forming to the performing stage. The performing stage is exactly where I thought Jeremy’s alliance had settled into until people started making some very unexpected moves. That being said, many people in this episode did things that surprised me.

For starters, I was not expecting Reed’s behavior in this episode. When Reed returned from seeing Josh sent home at the last Tribal Council, he commented that he didn’t “know who to turn to now” and, he just had to worry about himself from this point on. From these comments, I thought he was going to try to align himself with Jeremy and the stronger alliance but, instead, he chose to take the route of nonconformity. Although Reed was resisting the group norms, his decision resulted in constructive nonconformity because it kept the group from ignoring the important fact that Keith was holding onto an Immunity Idol. In this way, his nonconformity was still working to promote the overall group goal.

In another unexpected move, Jeremy and Natalie decided to give up the trips they had won from the Reward Challenge in order to give them away to Jon and Jaclyn. Both Jeremy and Natalie said that they had made this decision in order to show their gratitude to Jon and Jaclyn for joining their alliance and supporting them at the last Tribal Council. As newly formed alliances, they were trying to motivate Jon and Jaclyn to stay true to their alliance by using an extrinsic reward. However, as the episode progressed, Jeremy and Natalie began to have doubts about the new couple’s loyalty.

Perhaps it was for this reason that, at Tribal Council, Natalie encouraged her alliance not to be distracted from their long term goals. She used team talk as she spoke about “our” goals and, her sentiments seemed to allude to a sense of meaningfulness created by the alliance’s meaningful goal. She knew that each member in the group wanted to make it as far in the game as possible and, she was doing her best to promote the group goal of making sure that happened. This is part of the reason why she chose Jon to take her place for the reward. He was a strong member of her alliance and, he needed food. By meeting Jon’s need for sustenance, Natalie was promoting a sense of meaningfulness in the goal her alliance was pursuing. However, that wasn’t all she was promoting. This move also allowed her a chance to balance the group goal with her own hidden agenda of moving forward in the game. As Reed point out, this wasn’t “selfless giving”.

It follows that, despite their strategic moves, Jeremy and Natalie seem to have a hard time keeping the members of their alliances motivated. In part, this could be due to the fact that motivated group members feel that they have a sense of choice. With Jeremy and Natalie running the show, the other members of their alliance may not have felt like they had any power to help make decisions. The text points out that group members are motivated when they feel “a greater sense of personal control and responsibility.” It is for this reason that I believe Missy and Baylor followed Jon’s lead to vote Jeremy out of the game. In a new alliance with Jon and Jaclyn, Missy and Baylor will share a more equal share of the power. They will have more decision-making power and, thus, they will be more motivated to promote the group goal.

It seems like a whole new ball game now that the two emergent leaders are both gone. Will it be dog eat dog now or will new leaders rise up from the stubble? I guess we’ll find out next week….

Josh v. Jeremy (Episode 8, Chapter 5)

By now, it is quite clear that the Huyopa tribe is dominated by two emergent leaders: Josh and Jeremy. Jeremy’s personal power has led his alliance to believe in his skills and knowledge whereas Josh has come up through the ranks with his charismatic power. That being said, I don’t think Josh appeared to be very likable in this episode.  When he tried to use coercive power to regain an alliance with Baylor, it seemed that his hidden agenda was all that mattered. He tried to be an autocratic leader by telling Baylor that she “owed him” but, when he realized that she wasn’t going to obey his orders, he said he was “done with her”. From that point on, Josh was set on getting Baylor voted out.

According to the 5M model of Leadership Effectiveness, Josh is ineffective in the first task of modeling leadership for Baylor. The text says that a model leader works to “build a climate of mutual trust between the leader and group members”. Josh failed to do this with Baylor. Early on, Baylor had been a willing follower but, Josh voted for her at a Tribal Council and this brought about mistrust. Keeping in mind that Josh’s leadership was derived from personal power rather than position power, he would have done well to remember that his power came from an earned status. The text points out that “followers have a say about where they are being led” and, Baylor did not want to be led into an alliance where she couldn’t trust her leader.

On the other hand, Fiedler’s Contingency Model of Leadership Effectiveness can be used to identify Jeremy as a task-motivated leader. For now, this style is causing him to shine in his role as a leader. He is enjoying good leader-member relationships, there is a clear task and, he has a lot of power. With regard to leader-member relations, Jeremy’s alliance seems to have positive group members who are friendly towards one another and loyal to their leader. One reason for this may be that Jeremy treats his members with respect. Missy commented on this when she stated that “Jeremy and Jon are the only gentlemen.” While the other male tribe members paraded around with bad manners, Jeremy took care to maintain his level of personal power by not joining in with the poor behavior.

It follows however, that not all of the power in this game is personal. Jon and Jaclyn have been repeatedly looked upon as a “power couple” in this game but, this episode makes it clear that all of the power is perceived to be in Jon’s hands. Jon and Jaclyn use a democratic style to make decisions together but, Jon seems to have the positional power of being the man in the relationship. The effects of gender and leadership were quite evident as Jon went away to Exile Island and Jaclyn returned to camp with the others. None of the guys tried to talk to Jaclyn or strategize with her  while her beau was away but, they all went running to Jon the moment he returned. Alec’s sentiments seemed rather clear when he boasted that Jaclyn was “gonna do whatever Jon says”. Maybe this week’s Tribal Council will teach Alec to show Jaclyn a little more respect, though; Jon followed Jaclyn’s wishes for this vote and voted against the guys.

Things don’t always go as expected on Survivor. Now that Josh is gone, it will be interesting to see if a new leader emerges in his place.

All About Numbers (Episode 7, Chapter 9)

Well, it finally happened; the remaining Survivor contestants have made it to the merge. The dueling tribes of Coyopa and Hunahpu are no more and, the newly formed mega tribe is known as #Huyopa. Loved ones have been reunited and, singles must fend for themselves. A wrong move now could mean a million dollar decision. The stakes are high and so are emotions.

Needless to say, there are many decisions to be made. At this point in the game, being on the right side of an alliance is everything. When the tribe goes to counsel, a majority vote will make the difference between who stays and who leaves. With so much at risk, this episode provides a prime viewing ground for the varying decision-making styles of the tribe members.

Baylor, for example, seems to have been put in a tough spot by the merge. Her early alliance with Josh had saved her from going home but, now that she’s reunited with Missy, Baylor is feeling obligated to follow her mother’s lead and vote against him. From her conversation with Missy, it seems to me that Baylor would fall into the “feeler” category of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. She wants to maintain harmony and, she reminds Missy of how Josh has saved her in the past. However, Baylor is a dependent decision maker and, she’s willing to go against Josh if that will please Missy.

On the other hand, Josh’s ploy to guilt-trip Baylor was the result of his rational decision making style. Josh knew that he was on the wrong side of the numbers and, his attempt to align with Baylor was the most logical solution to the problem. Unfortunately for Josh, Baylor is going to follow in Missy’s footsteps, and she is already aligned with Jeremy.

It follows that, herein lies the tension between Josh and Jeremy. Both of these tribe members have played the game well and, the realities of politics and power have served them well thus far. For the most part, it seems that the competition between these two has only been verbally communicated via private confessionals with the camera but, the nonverbal communication is clear. Each wants the other to go home and, at the Immunity Challenge, Jeremy wasn’t shy about hiding the smirk on his face when Josh fell out of the running for immunity.

With no tribal counsel this week, Josh and Jeremy  will continue to battle for numbers and, Jon and Jaclyn seem to be prime for the picking. Once again, they find themselves as the swing vote and, as such, they have been carefully asking themselves questions of value pertaining to which alliance will serve them best. That being said, their loyalties seem to be shifting and, the next person to be voted out remains a question of conjecture. Keith said it best when he commented that the next vote “is critical, we’ll know exactly where everybody stands after” the next vote. He doesn’t have to worry, though. He’s the one with immunity.

Communication is Key (Episode 6, Chapter 6)

After reading Chapter 6, the concepts of verbal and nonverbal communication seemed to jump out at me in this episode. The dimensions of team talk were evident in a variety of situations but, more often than not, the dimension of identification was readily identifiable. In both tribes, members were heard using plural pronouns when talking about their tribes. Alec expressed concern about “our tribe” and wondered aloud about “what we’re going to do” about food in the Hunahpu tribe. Jeremy, also, identified with his team as he stated his belief that “we can win a reward tomorrow.”

On the other hand, singular pronouns were also used frequently, but in a different context. When tribe members were talking about their own personal agendas in the game, they began saying things like “I won’t be going home” and “this goes in my favor”. It should be noted, however, that this kind  of speech was only used when tribe members were talking one-on-one with the camera. If anyone used this kind of language in front of the tribe, they would appear self-centered and untrustworthy.

That being said, not all of the communication that occurred in front of the tribe was appropriate. It seems that the tribes are still working their way through the storming stage because abusive language was abundant. Alec was really upset about the mismanagement of food in his tribe and, it was indicative in his verbal expression as he exclaimed, “what the hell guys?” It didn’t stop there, though. After Julie had a rough night in the rain, Alec used some offensive language to communicate how he felt about the matter.  Saying things like, “Bitch, this is Survivor!” is demeaning and not an effective way to use team talk.

It follows, however, that Alec wasn’t the only tribe member to use abusive language. Jeremy was clearly irritated with the way his tribe handled the lack of food situation and, he complained that those “braniacs gave [the tarp] away”…”they’re so dumb!” While this language is highly offensive, no words were necessary to interpret how Jeremy felt about his tribe’s decision. Jeremy’s nonverbal behavior left no doubt  that was he clearly unhappy with losing the tribe’s comfort items.

However, despite the offensive language and disagreements, the Hunahpu tribe continues to dominate. Coyopa does a better job of managing their resources at camp, but they can’t get it together for the challenges. Hunahpu is the stronger tribe but, maybe the tide will turn…

What am I listening to? (Episode 5, Chapter 7)

Initially, I struggled to see how Chapter 7 would relate to the episode entitled “Blood is Blood” but, after reviewing the text again, I realized that there  are concepts that can be applied to the episode from the very beginning. As the Hunahpu tribe returned from Tribal Counsel, Jon immediately began his “apology tour”. He had been Drew’s closest and only ally and, with him gone, Jon realized that he had some major damage control to do. As Jon was apologizing, I started paying attention to the way that the different tribe members reacted to what he was saying. Interestingly, I noted that there were some definite gender differences in the listening behavior of the men and the women. The chapter states that men listen analytically whereas women tend to listen empathically. This is evident in the differing responses of Kelley and Jeremy. Kelley responded by telling Jon that he’ll ” be much better off in this tribe without [Drew]“. Kelley’s response is focused on Jon’s ability to have better relationships with other tribe members now that he is free from Drew’s bad influence. Jeremy, on the other hand, responded to Jon’s apologies with gloating. He analyzed the content of what Jon said and decided that Jon will be useful to him now as an ally.

It follows that the above example is also indicative of the different types of listening that Kelley and Jeremy used. It seems that Kelley was listening to interpret while Jeremy was listening to evaluate. In my opinion, this shows that Kelley is exhibiting a tendency toward collectivism. She cares more about what is best for the group. In contrast, Jeremy is revealing his individualistic culture and looking to forward  only himself and his personal agenda.

That being said, differences in listening can also be seen in the dealings of the Coyopa tribe. When Missy started doling out double portions of the tribe’s carefully rationed rice, Dale was very upset. Dale tried to tell Missy to use small portions but, Baylor kept encouraging her mom to make more and more. I think this example shows the way that personality differences can play into the way someone listens. Dale seems to be more of a thinker and, as such, he would have listened analytically and found the advise to be logical and sound. Missy, however, comes across as a feeler and, she cared more about the fact that her daughter was hungry then about saving food for later.

Although Dale was noticeably upset by this conflict, Kelley was able to help diffuse the situation by asking Dale to go for a walk with her. In a way, what Kelley did was essentially to encourage her dad to “listen before he leaped”. Dale had listened to what Missy said and, I would assume that he perfectly comprehended her and was upset by what he heard. He needed to take some time to adjust his reaction in order to keep the tribe from erupting into a full-blown affective conflict.

Getting Rid of the “Snakes” – Episode 4, Chapter 4

The title for this episode was definitely on the mark because the Hunahpu tribe, specifically, was nothing but a big ‘ol “hot mess”. In this episode, we were able to see how the diversity among tribe members effected the tribe’s ability (or inability) to work together as a cohesive unit. Evidently, the Hunahpu tribe is still in the storming page because they have stopped playing nice and moved, instead, into the more aggressive realm of secondary tension. Then again, the Hunahpu isn’t the only tribe with problems…

At the beginning of the episode, I thought that the focus was going to be on the Coyopa tribe. As this tribe returned from their last tribal counsel, the spotlight was turned on Dale. He knew that if he didn’t start being more social then he was in danger of being eliminated next. I think Dale is right to be worried but, if he does get eliminated, it won’t be for being a bad tribe member. If anything, I think the Coyopa tribe would single out Dale because of how different he is from the rest of the tribe.

When thinking about Dale’s three layers of diversity, it should be noted that a couple of things that make him different are things that he cannot change. For example, the external layer of Dale’s diversity tells us that he is a dad. Of all the members in his tribe, I believe he is the only member left who has children. Next, part of Dale’s internal dimension of diversity is his age. Dale is much older than the rest of his tribe and, for this reason, he has often been referred to as the “old guy”, “dad”, etc. Thus, the only thing left for Dale to rely on is his personality. He admits that he has let the social game slide a bit and, that may not have been a very wise decision.

It follows, however, that it may be difficult for Dale to talk with his tribe members because there is also a generational dimension that stands in the way. Dale is 55 years old and a Baby Boomer whereas most of his fellow tribe members are Millenials. The textbook states that these two generations may have the hardest time working together because their views on work vary so drastically. That being said, it looks like Dale is going to survive another day on the show so we’ll see how this dynamic plays out as time goes on.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for one overly cocky member of the Hunahpu tribe. Drew went home this week and, I was not at all sad to see him go. From the beginning of the episode, at the Reward Challenge, Drew made it clear that he was going to do whatever he wanted to do. Despite the disapproval of his tribe, Drew exhibited his masculine upbringing by trying to barter with Jeff Probst to get some fishing gear. It didn’t work but, I don’t think that had any effect on his confidence. Drew still seemed to play the recognition-seeker role as he boasted that “these people would be nothing without me!” We’ll see about that…

Drew’s tribe seemed to get along just fine without him when he was sent off to Exile Island to accompany Jaclyn. In fact, Jon was even joking with his tribe that Jaclyn might have to do all of the work at exile because the only task Drew did well at camp was nap. This may have been true and, thus, I thought Drew was an interesting choice for a trip to Exile Island. I don’t understand why Jon sent a lazy womanizer like Drew out there with his Miss Michigan girlfriend. If Jon had thought about the layers of diversity and the fact that both Drew and Jaclyn were unmarried, attractive, heterosexual people of similar age and opposite gender, then maybe he would’ve picked someone else.

That being said, Drew definitely did acknowledge that he found Jaclyn attractive and, it’s possible that he was trying to earn her approval when he told her that he was going to throw the next Immunity Challenge. I can’t be sure if her good looks had anything to do with it or not but, Drew took on the role of a blocker and set out to accomplish his own personal agenda. For the rest of the episode, I watched him aggressively try to manipulate his fellow tribe members and, I’m glad his plan didn’t succeed. Good riddance, Drew. The Hunahpu got rid of a “snake” after all.

Got Conflict? (Episode 3, Chapter 8)

In many ways, Episode 3 was all about John Rocker. He may have thought he was doing his best but, his failure to keep Val from going home spurred on an array of conflict in both tribes. That being said, I do feel a little bad for the guy because he honestly thought that Val had an immunity idol and, he told her to play it. She shouldn’t have lied to him but, what’s done is done.

Speaking of things that shouldn’t have been said, I don’t think John Rocker exercised much forethought when he blatantly told Jeff Probst that he had been trying to keep a promise to Jeremy by protecting Val. He seemed completely oblivious to the shocked expressions of his male tribe members when he made this confession. Although he may not have realized it at the time, John essentially launched his tribe into a great deal of substantive conflict.

For the men in the Coyopa tribe, this evidence of John’s hidden agenda showed complete disregard for their alliance and the corresponding group goal. John’s hidden goal to ensure Julie’s safety had interfered with the goal of the men’s alliance and, this was not to be tolerated. For this decision, John Rocker was ultimately voted out.

It follows, however, that John’s failure to protect Val resulted in conflict for the Hunahpu tribe, also. For this tribe, affective conflict arose when Jeremy became emotional and upset that John had let his wife be sent home. Jeremy’s anger towards John turned into affective conflict as he decided to take on an opinion-giver role and tell his tribe all about John’s history of racist, sexist, and homophobic remarks. In turn, this made Jeremy’s tribe members become angry and aggressive which, subsequently, put Julie in a very uncomfortable spot. For the Hunahpu tribe, this was a potentially destructive conflict because it isolated Julie and may affect the tribe’s future ability to collaborate effectively.

In fact, the discord within the Hunahpu tribe was palpable at the end of the immunity challenge when tempers flared and tribe members let it be known that they were not a fan of John’s poor reputation. Most notably, however, was the way that Natasha lashed out at John in a way that the Coyopa tribe sarcastically referred to as “classy”. When it comes to gender responses to conflict, Natasha’s reaction was viewed negatively whereas Missy’s choice to seek out and comfort Julie when the conflict arose was a much more acceptable and expected gender response.

On the other hand, back at the Coyopa tribe, John’s decision may have resulted in a much more constructive conflict. There definitely was some procedural conflict as the tribe members tried to figure out who would be voted out at tribal counsel but, after careful negotiation, the male members of Coyopa decided to take on a compromise-conflict strategy with the two remaining women tribe members. The men decided that it was was worthwhile to break their alliance with John and let the women buy a little more time in order to let go of a member who was operating with a hidden agenda. As Jeff Probst said, hopefully this will prove to be a well-timed blindside for the Coyopa tribe.

Look at that tribe role…

With the contents of Chapter 3: Group Membership still fresh on my mind, it was very interesting to watch Episode 2 and see how the tribe members are beginning to exhibit needs and take on roles within their tribes. However, it should be noted that this new perspective on the episode does not negate the fact that course concepts from Chapter 2 are still very much alive and well. It is evident that both tribes are still in the process of forming but, they are now both clearly moving towards the next, more dramatic stage of storming.

As primary tension decreases, tribe members are beginning to become more vocal about their opinions. An example of this occurred when the Hunahpu tribe won their reward challenge and tried to barter with Jeff Probst to get more flint. When Probst offered a tough ultimatum, the tribe launched into an animated debate about whether or not to surrender their fishing gear in return for more flint. Tribe members interjected strong, decided opinions that lacked much of the initial shyness and civility. Welcome to the storming stage, Hunahpu.

This reward challenge gave a lot of insight into, not only the Hunahpu tribe’s development, but also into the specific needs and roles of certain members. I found it interesting that, for the Hunahpu tribe, Reed has been the one to step in and do the rock-paper-scissors duel for both of the reward challenges that have come up. In addition, Reed was also the one to initially pose the idea of bartering with Jeff Probst. In this way, it seems to me that Reed is assuming what Benne and Sheats refer to as a group task role. Specifically, I think Reed is acting as an initiator-contributor. He gets the group started and, he proposes ideas in order to help the group accomplish certain goals (i.e. starting fire).

It follows that Benne and Sheats have also identified a number of other roles. Another category of potential member roles is group maintenance roles. These roles have to do with relationship building, getting along, and encouraging cooperation as the group moves toward a shared goal. In the Hunahpu tribe, I have identified Missy as being an encourager-supporter in her tribe. In the first episode, Missy can be seen praising group members and agreeing with their input and, in the second episode, she can be seen listening empathically to Natalie as she cried about her sister’s absence. I think these examples can also be related to Schutz’s theory of interpersonal needs for, Missy seems to exhibit a need for affection.

When Missy and her daughter, Baylor, were pitted against one another for the immunity challenge, the initial banter seemed rather passive-aggressive. Both appeared to exhibit confidence but, everything changed when Baylor’s lip was busted. Missy’s demeanor instantly changed and, she started acting like an overpersonal member who had become passive about the group’s goal. Baylor was upset and, her passive-aggressive behavior turned toward the more assertive side. When this happened, Missy lost and, Baylor was able to win a point for the Coyopa tribe.

In this instance, the season’s theme of Blood vs. Water was tested once again. At least for Missy, it seems that her blood ties to Baylor were stronger than the “water” that joined her to her fellow tribe members. It will be interesting to see if Baylor’s loyalties end up being towards her tribe or towards her blood relative as well.

 

Surviving the “Forming” Stage

Like many other people taking this course, this will be my first time watching Survivor. I have only watched the first episode thus far but, I can already see why Jaimie chose to use this as the theme for the semester. I can already see how the chapter concepts come to life as I’m watching the show and, I think this will be a new and fun way to bring meaning to the topics we discuss in class.

As you all know, the theme of this season’s Survivor is Blood vs. Water and, the show opens by giving each of the cast members one night to spend with their loved one.  When thinking about course concepts, this can also be interpreted as having one final night with a primary group member. The very next day, each cast member will be forced to adjourn from their primary group member and enter into a new social group where no one knows what to expect.

This stage of joining a new group is referred to in Tuckman’s Group Development Stages as the forming stage. In this stage,  the text says that group members tend to exhibit caution in their social interactions and, they tend to be overly polite in hopes of making a good impression. I think this concept was aptly demonstrated by the very cautious answer that Nadiya gave when Jeff Probst asked her what she thought about her potential competitors. This question was posed prior to the division of the tribes and, I thought she was wise to not speak poorly of anyone who she may have later hoped to form an alliance with. That being said, I do feel that her cautious answer was based more in her hopes of making a good first impression than it was in honesty. If she had not been eliminated, I would have expected to see her voice more of her true opinions as the show went on.

It follows, however, that both the Coyopa and Hunahpu tribes had  to go about the forming stage in their own ways and, for Nadiya’s tribe, this meant getting rid of her for fear of her perceived hidden agenda.  I was somewhat surprised when Nadiya was chosen for elimination but, I can understand how the Coyopa tribe may have felt that Nadiya’s personal goals would have eventually interfered with the overall goal of the group.

During the initial forming stage, each member is trying to explore personal goals as well as group goals and, it makes sense that members might feel tentative and uncomfortable about being thrown into a group of total strangers. It is not at all surprising that members of the same tribe are suspicious of one another and not sure who to trust. I believe that this is all part of what the text calls primary tension.

In the show, one example of primary tension occurred when Wes was trying to form a bond with John Rocker based on the similar interest of baseball. Wes was asking John what his last name was and, initially, John lied and said it was “Wetland”. The whole conversation seemed strained and, John later revealed that he wasn’t sure that he could trust Wes and that he might consider getting rid of him early on.

Wes, however, seemed to be completely oblivious of John’s apprehension about him. He seemed rather pleased with the connection he felt he had made with John and, he probably had no thoughts of fearing his intentions. Meanwhile, there were other members who were definitely fearing the outcomes of the initial forming stage and, that was because they were completely excluded from it.

Keith and Val had been sent to Exile Island after the first Reward Challenge and, they both knew that they would be returning as newcomers to groups that had already started to establish themselves. There was a lot at stake for these two as they began the socialization process with their tribes and, each tried to find a way to make himself/herself valuable to the group.

Some who had stayed behind had already proven their value. For example, the Reward challenge ended on a much higher note for Val’s husband, Jeremy. He not only gained the extrinsic rewards of flint and beans for his tribe but, he also gained intrinsic rewards by way of the praise of his team. I thought it was interesting how, at first, Jeremy was so upset about having to relinquish his husbandly duties and adjourn from his role with Val but, soon after, he had a new found motivation and sense of meaningfulness with his tribe. It will be interesting to see how the relationship dynamics continue to play out throughout the season as the bonds of “blood” are continually pitted against those of “water”.