Accident on the moon

Type of tool: 
30-60 min
Topics addressed: 
Group dynamics
Intercultural learning
Project management

This exercise has been chosen because it doesn't refer to any scheme known by participants, as it obliges us to take distance (till the moon!) and so to concentrate on decision making within an international multicultural team.


- to develop negotiation and decision-making skills,
- to raise awareness of the benefits and challenges of teamwork and co-operation,
- to enhance the understanding of working in multicultural teams.

Step by step process: 

Individual work (10 minutes): Each person, in a corner, will establish his/her individual classification, while getting prepared to argue for his/her choices once back in his/her group.

Split up the participants in groups of 4-6 persons. Up to two observers may be assigned to a group.

Group work (25 minutes): Each group has now to consider itself as a team in a situation of team meeting. The aim is to make a decision in a limited time. Starting from individual lists, the team will have to produce and to decide on a common classification. Insist on the fact that it has to be a decision on a consensus mode, which means that ideally, all members of the team have to agree with each range to allocate to the different elements. The consensus will certainly be hard to find, the team will therefore have to try to get to a more or less unanimous agreement. It deals now with a confrontation, without necessarily trying to avoid conflicts nor to reach an agreement at any price, it deals then with taking position.

Debriefing (25 minutes): Which was the part of compromises, consensus, sacrifices within the group? Were there leaders natural, imposed, hidden? Which was the each one’s involvement in discussion and decision making? Were there conflicts ? What was the role of ICL (Intercultural Learning) in decision making process? Which was the influence of the cultural composition of teams upon decision making? Did you notice differences of professional cultures from one country to another? Would have you worked differently in a more “familiar” context? (only national, only European, only Mediterranean); Did you adapt your way of thinking or acting to the team’s typology?

Materials and resources: 

- Copies of the instruction sheets for each participant. (see Documents/Handouts)
- Copies of the official NASA classification for each participant to hand out for information after the exercise. (see Documents/Handouts)

Notes for further use: 

Tips and suggestions: One way to realize this activity is to build three groups: one made of Europeans, one of Mediterraneans and a mixed one. This can open the discussion for a comparison between the three groups.

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