Social Negotiations

Yesterday, we presented in our Self Mastery, Arts and Spirituality (SMARTS) class and my group focused on Buddhism and how its beliefs and teachings on spiriutality relate to modern theories on personality development. I found the topic very hard because (a) I don't know much about Buddhism and (b) I don't know much about psychology.

If you're wondering what an MBA student is doing in a class about psychology and spirituality, well that is what the SMARTS elective is all about-- exploring topics like self mastery, intuition and spirituality and relating it on how to become a better leader and a better person.

Going back to our yesterday's presentation: our group came from the perspective of giving the class a sort of like a primer on Buddhism and showing how it maps to some of the psychological models we discussed in our previous classes. I had the difficult task of presenting the psychology part and I must say my appreciation of my assignment was simplistic and it showed when I presented.

After our group finsihed presenting, our professor, Prof. Cecile Manikan, asked the class to grade our group in the open. Of course, I was expecting choruses of P or P- (For more information on the grading system in AIM, read this post.) given how I bungled a few questions, but to my surprise (and relief) the class was clamoring for an HP. Prof. Manikan commented that the class was starting the game of "You scratch my back, I'll scratch your back."

She then asked our group what grade we deserved. One of my group mates came up to the plate and said "D-" for the effort. I then told came and said I deserved a P- because I found the topic very hard and I felt that I was only able to scratch the surface of the topic I was assigned to, and I added that a few days of research can really give me a few insights on Buddhism and psychology, compared to actual Buddhist. (Now I'm asking myself what was I thinking at that moment.)

So Prof. Manikan recorded an HP (which was in between a D- and a P-) for our group.

Then the second group presented and did a fine job on presenting Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam. They were able to answer the questions adequately and went through the same process of being graded by the class. The class again trumpeted "HP" but then Prof. Manikan asked two people in the class and those two people said the second group did better than our group. Then Prof. Manikan asked for consistency as she wondered how can the second group get the same grade as ours when they did better. She commented that the process is a social negotiation, so feel free to say your piece. The result: the class settled for giving our group a downgrade of HP-.

During the whole negotiations part, I kept mum. Why? Because I kept thinking to myself: If I feel I deserve a P-, any grade higher would be a bonus. But then I realize that the "going rate" was pretty high anyways and I may be lowballing myself for thinking that way.

As I drove home, I still can't find a resolution to the what you deserve and what you ought to get.


Anonymous said…

I find your blog very interesting as it also applies to an MBA student in other parts of the globe. I find you observations to be very interesting and that is why I really make it a point to keep with your blog.

I just received my MBA degree and have just started working so it is good to look back at the journey I went through, which your blog does well. Keep it up.

Thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate it. :)

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