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A Mir Kiss

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I. Introduction

The international researchers joined the Russian cosmonauts early December 1999. The Russians had been in social isolation for over 4 months. On the eve of the millennium a very violent fight broke out between two of the original participants in the experiment and afterwards the Russian commander of the crew tried to force himself onto Judith Lapierre out of sight of the cameras. He tried to French kiss her twice but Lapierre managed to fight him off. Prior to the violent incidents the Russians had been drinking Vodka. He tried again the next morning. The next day Lapierre and her Austrian and Japanese colleagues complained about the incident to the controllers of the experiment and were told that these incidents were part of the experiment, the crew had to sort out any conflicts between them, just as they would have to if a similar incidents would occurs in an actual space capsule on its way to Mars. The conflict should be solved immediately before worst scenarios take place. A proper orientation will be the best way to solve it.

II. Analysis
A. Problem Recognition

The problem of the experiment had been recognized by the International team’s complaints to the IBMP after the New Year’s Eve celebration. First, the 10-minute fist fight between the two Russian cosmonauts that according to the international team, left bloody stains on the wall, because of this scenario, the Japanese and the Russian crew, hid knives for fear of future attacks. Second, after the violent fight, the Russian commander grabbed Lapierre, dragged her out of the views of camera and attempt to French kiss her but Lapierre fought him off. Last, the Russian commander tried to kiss Lapierre the next morning and even told her that he wanted to have sex with her.

These issues should be solved immediately and lack of proper action might result to possible worst outcomes such as:

The IBMP’s experiment might fail. Because of the incident, the international team might back off and leave the experiment. The IBMP’s reputation might be ruin.
The International Space Station project might not happen anymore. The goal of the project might not be accomplish and the project itself might be put to waste. Dr. Judith Lapierre might file a case against the Russian commander and to the IBMP as well. Since the incident between the Russian commander and Dr. Lapierre is a clear sexual harassment and Judith can a criminal case against the Russian commander.

B. Problem Definitions

Issues surrounding the experiment should be solved as soon as possible. The main problem of this case is the sexual harassment that took place between the Russian commander and Lapierre. First, it triggers other conflicts to arise. For instance, the IBMP won’t knew about the fist fight if the international team doesn’t complained about it. Second, it affects the experiment. Since, there From the beginning, the experiment faced a lot of issues that contribute to the main problem to happen. Possible actions can be implemented to solve the problem.

C. Problem Diagnosis

The experiment faced a lot of issues that trigger the main problem to happen. Sexual harassment might be a result of:

Different culture, beliefs and differences. The experiment is consists four Russian Cosmonauts and three International researchers. These individuals came from different countries with different cultures and beliefs aside from that, individual differences plays a major role to these issues. These differences contributed a lot for the sexual harassment to happen. Since the Russian commander came from a country where people are very demonstrative, hugs and kisses to the opposite sex are regarded as ordinary, perhaps he thought that Lapierre might like it and so he does kissed Lapierre which is a Canadian woman and believes that kiss is not an ordinary thing to do by a man to a woman who doesn’t even know each other in the first place. The problem might be the result of clashing of cultures between these individuals.

Failure to execute proper orientation. The Russian cosmonauts had already been in isolation for 120 days before the international team joined them and adjustments became difficult for them. The Russians hadn’t even had a background about the newcomers as well as internationals to the Russian and because of that this, individuals perceived different characteristics to each other that later became a major attribute for the problem to happen.

Absence of leadership. At the beginning, there is no one who acted or stands as a leader between the two teams. A leader is of total importance in every organization especially at this crucial environment. The absence of leadership became a major issue for the two teams. First, there is no one who could mediate or arbitrate. Second, there is no one who could impose rules that would serve as a guideline for the participants. Third, there is no unity on the organization. For instance, if a leader exists, rules might be imposed and the fist fight might not happened or if it happens then the leader might act as a peacemaker and stop the fight.

Communication. Although they were all to communicate with each other in English, the participants had varying levels of competency in speaking the language, therefore increasing the risk of communicating errors. For instance, the fist fight might be a result of misunderstanding between the two Russians.

Ambiguous Rules. Since there had been no ground rules developed within the team, they had left themselves open to conflicts of practices and power uncertainty – a possible cause for the fight.

Psychological effect of the alcohol (Vodka). The vodka contributed a lot to the incidents to happen. A person with the effect of alcohol, do things that he / she had no control at all. For instance, the Russian commander might had a sexual desire to Lapierre even at the beginning of the experiment, and the alcohol might triggered that desire, this is also true with the fist fight, if the two was on their normal state of mind, they might solve their issues and the fist fight might not happened at all.

III. Synthesis
A. Solution Generation

The conflict might not happen if only the IBMP carefully plan, organize and manage the details of its experiment. Alternative solutions for the conflict are the following:

Emphasize the experiments’ goal. The organization is composed of individuals working together to achieve a common goal. The IBMP should made it clear to the participants that they are all working to achieve a goal thus, everyone is expected to do his / her best for that goal to be achieved.

Proper Orientation. The IBMP should formally introduce each team with one another. First, because it will give the participants a background about each other. Second, it will give them a chance to know how other participant will be likely to treat. For instance, what are those things that others dislike or like? Third, it will give them a sense of belongingness because they would eventually feel that they are a part of a group and not an individual. Last, it will help the experiment to achieve its goals. Since, the two teams are already knew each other, it will now be easier for them to work for the experiment’s goal.

Clarifying rules and procedures. All participants in the study should have been informed on their role in the experiment before giving their consent to participate. By following the experiments’ rules and regulations, fight had a lower chance to occur as well as the sexual harassment.

Reduce value differences. Shared experiments from the start to emphasize the identity as scientists and potential astronauts rather than cultural and gender differences. This will lead to reduced differentiation between the participants as well as being focused on the goal of the experiment rather of their personal.

Improve communication and understanding. Everyone should be able to express themselves, thus speaking an only one language will make it difficult. A solution for this is making them work together for an experiment in this way the participants will try their best to understand each other for the sake of the experiment.

B. Solution Choice / Recommendation

The conflict on the experiment might be solved by proper orientation. The IBMP should orient the participants before the experiment take place. This orientation will be a very helpful way for the participants to know each other. First, with proper orientation, the participants will be able to know the differences of each other; they will have the background of each others’ culture, customs and beliefs. In this way, the participants will be able to recognize each others’ strengths and weaknesses, the things that they like and dislike and the things that are acceptable and unacceptable to them. Second, it also includes introduction to the goals of the experiment.

Participants will be able to know the goals and would therefore work as a team to achieve it. The experiment will be helpful in a way for the team to effectively communicate with each other and make themselves focus on it, decreasing the risk to have organizational misunderstanding. Third, the orientation will also help the participants to determine on who will be in a proper position to be a leader. Last, orientation will also bind the two groups by having team building activities that will unite them and will help them to work as a group rather than individuals.

C. Implementation Plan

The solution to the main problem should take place at the beginning of the experiment. The experiment – Sphinx 99 – should take a lot of time for planning, organizing and managing the details as well as the selection of the participants. First, the chambers should have a larger space for the participants to work together in the chamber. Second, the IBMP should introduce first the international team to the Russians. Since the Russian had already been in the chamber for 120 days, they already used to work by themselves, if the international team will immediately joined the Russians chances are they would have to adjust by themselves, thus increasing the risk of having misunderstanding and conflict.

Merging two groups will have to take time and patience but it will soon get an excellent result that is reducing the risks of conflict between these two groups. Third, the IBMP should orient these two teams about the goals of the experiment. Let the participants to know the goals of the experiment and their roles in achieving it. In this way, the participants will be able to focus and work as a team to achieve the goal. Last, the IBMP should determine the person who will be in charge to lead, manage and control the two groups. The leader may also impose rules and regulations for other participants to follow. The leader will also be of total importance to be a peacemaker in a case a conflict will happen. For instance, the fist fight between the two Russian cosmonauts will be stop by the leader and afterwards, the leader might talk to them and the conflict will be solve.

I. Books

Grey, J. (1992). Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. New York, New York, US: HarperCollins. McShane, S. O. (2010). Organisational Behaviour on the Pacific Rim (3rd ed.). North Ryde, NSW, Australia: McGraw Hill Australia Pty Ltd. Pronina, L. (1999). Russian isolation experiment furthers space cooperation. The Russian Journal (6).

II. Links
http://galaxyonline.com/Contributors/Obergs_James/Assault_01.html www.jamesoberg.com.

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