The Group Desert Survival Activity

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Decision Making in Team Aristotle

Decision making among team members is fraught with uncertainty and the possibility of conflict. Every member must be given the opportunity to contribute and influence the outcome. This study report demonstrates the strategy that Team Aristotle used before making the key decision regarding their safety after becoming stranded in the Sonoran Desert in the United States' Southwest. The team members conducted a dynamic analysis, attempting to assess the various options of staying and surviving in the desert or walking to the adjacent mining camp. After careful deliberations, the team chose to walk to heighten their survival chances and better chances of receiving appropriate help.

Understanding the Situation

Team Aristotle realized that they were potentially stuck since the pilot had failed to indicate where they were before the fatal accident properly. The pilot had, however, notified the airport that before the incidence that we were about seventy miles southwest from a mining camp and approximately sixty five miles of the filed course. The area was getting hotter, and there was also the possibility of getting dehydrated. We had to decide if we would use the available items indicated on the survival sheet or whether we would walk to the mining camp. The fifteen items were a flashlight, jack-knife, air map, raincoat, magnetic compass, compress kit, pistol, parachute, salt tablets, book on edible foods, water, sunglasses, vodka, coat and cosmetic mirror. Making the choice entailed evaluating possible consequences for every cause of action.

The Synergetic Decision-Making Process

There was an apparent use of a synergetic decision-making process in team Aristotle. The group composed of four members namely, Amy Dean, Christopher Lannon, Hope McGlory and Katie LaBombard. Every member was given a score sheet where he would rate the fifteen items on their level of importance. The most important elements would be granted one while the least would be given fifteen. The individual times were uninterrupted thus allowing everyone to assess every item. Later on, the group members were expected to rate everything on its level of significance through a unanimous decision. Afterwards, we calculated the differences between the actual answers and that of individuals. Variance between the team rating and the exert rating was also calculated to give the group means. The differences between the individual grade and the group rating would give the actual personal score. Having a consensus resolution entails getting rid of ego battles and being rational about the process (Human Synergistic International, n.d., p. 16). Synergy was evident here because there was zero judgment in the process and everyone was objective about the choices. Every decision was based on the assessment of the members and what the majority decided listening (Human Synergistic International, n.d., p. 17). We were however careful not to have a definite answer as this would result in a battle superiority (Nikoi & Boateng, 2014, p. 54). The choices were all based on individual perception of the danger they were in and the possibility of finding help.

Challenges and Resolution

There were apparent issues that rose during the solution finding process. I felt that staying in the desert would limit our chances of being rescued and we would end up dying of starvation and dehydration. Hope MCGlory was however confident that by using the items in the survival kit, we could survive and eventually get help. Christopher Lannon and Katie LaBombard, however, felt that it would be best to travel to the nearest mining camp because there was life and we could be assured of at least getting adequate water and food. While indeed we would have survived within a day, we were skeptical about being strong enough to even beckon for help. Staying longer in the desert would also reduce our energy, and we would be unable to walk to the camp for help. Before making the final choice, we deliberated on finding out about the edibles within the desert for our survival. We felt that by using the torch and the colored parachutes, rescuers would perhaps find us. The odds were however high as we may have eaten poisonous food or get attacked by dangerous insects. We had to weigh the consequences of our actions and their impact and numerically rate them to make an optimal decision (Nikoi & Boateng, 2014). We hence had to come to a rational resolution which was to leave the desert onto the mining camp.


Conclusively, in a traumatic situation, it is natural for people to panic and opt for the best available solution. The trauma involved in the accident could potentially hinder people from being rational and make good choices. It is best when the team members come together and weigh all options before making any steps. Although having the survival kit would somehow assure the victims of their safety, it may not be viable for a long time. The desert climate is too harsh for human survival, and it gets worse with dehydration and hunger. Team Aristotle involved every member on the best decision, and we chose to walk to the mining camp. Although the journey would wear us out, we would be assured of surviving which was our primary concern.


Human Synergistics International. (n.d.). Desert survival situation: Leader’s guide.

Plymouth, MI: Source Publishing, LLC.

Nikoi, E., & Boateng, K. (2014). Collaborative communication processes and decision making in organizations. Hershey, PA : Business Science Reference.

April 19, 2023

Life Education

Subject area:

Decision Conflict Study

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