Application Memo #1
Articles of Incorporation

Type: Team
Length: 5 pages

In this assignment, your team must:

To hand in the assignment, place it on the web and email the url to both your section instructor and Prof. Borgatti. An example of a group's Articles can be found here.

The Name

The name should reflect your vision statement. It should be an active attempt to position your team in the class marketplace. Previous names have included OB1, Synergy, Yoda, Fusion and Excel. The name should be short, easily remembered, and be indicative of who you are and/or what you will be trying to accomplish.

The Biographies

This is for the team web site, which I will create for you. I need about 4 sentences for each person (but longer is fine). What to say is totally up to you.

The Mission/Vision Statement

The mission/vision statement should tell me and the other groups in the class something about what your goals will be in this class, what your strategy will be, and what your style will be. The best vision statements are usually those that represent synthesize each individual’s personal vision for the class. In other words, each person should separately think about how they plan to deal with this course, then the group should get together and see if there are any common elements out of which you can build a single, coherent vision that each person can commit to. Don’t try to make up stuff that really doesn’t suit you. For example, if, deep down in their hearts, most of the members of your group want to approach this class in a laid-back style, it does no good to write a vision statement about how gung-ho and over-prepared you will be. A good vision statement is motivating, and it can’t be motivating if it doesn't actually relate to what the members really want.

In working out the team vision statement, individuals should think about whether they really want to be members of their team or not. It is a big pain to switch teams later in the semester, so now is the time.

The Policies and Regulations

This section can be as elaborate as you like. At minimum, you should address four issues:

While I have never seen a team depose their leader, it is important to provide a mechanism to do it, such as majority vote.

The minimum role of a leader is to act as figurehead and spokesperson for the team. The leader has to meet with me every 4 weeks at the team leader meetings to discuss what's happening in the teams. In most teams, however, the leader also plays many other roles, including some subset of these:

Your team may decide to create separate formal roles for some of these functions, such as a designated treasurer to handle all bonus points.

Getting rid of a team member is always a tricky issue. It is usually easiest to do it if the team has laid down at the outset a clear set of behaviors that are expected of each team member, together with a clear set of consequences for not living up to expectations. Then there needs to be a mechanism for expulsion: can the leader decide this on their own? Or does it need to be a vote? If a vote, does it have to be unanimous (aside from the person in question!)?

Whether a person is fired or simply wants to leave for another team, do they get any bonus points that the team has accrued so far?

A closely related question is what kind of compensation system you will put in place. Do members accrue bonus points in proportion to their contribution? Or does everybody get equal points? Consider the difference between papers and exams. In papers, some people might have worked more or had better ideas than others, but this can be difficult to evaluate. In exams, we know exactly how much each person contributed to the team average and therefore the number of bonus points obtained. So it is technically easy to allocate points based on contribution. But maybe it would be better for promoting group cohesion if everyone gets equal points. You have to figure out what is best for you.

Although you do not have to include this in this assignment, it is extremely important that you take some time to think about how you will, as a group, get the work done this semester that needs to be done. Will you all work on all the assignments? Or will you divide up the labor? Or maybe a combination of the two so that one person's work is always checked by several others before handing in? Do you want to divide up into skill-related jobs like having one person be a permanent proof-reader, another be a typist, another is a writer, another is concept creator, etc.?

Choosing a Leader

There are a lot of considerations involved in choosing a leader for your team. You should know that team leaders in this course will have to do extra stuff that the other students don’t have to do. For example, I will be meeting with the team leaders from time to time to talk about how the group is performing in the course. Leaders also have to communicate events, such as point allocations, to me. In spite of this extra work, leaders get no special breaks in the class — no extra points, no fewer homework assignments, nothing. Of course, your team can choose to give your leader some perks, like doing less work on team projects, or getting a greater share of bonus points. That’s up to you. As explained above, the entire role of leader needs to be defined by you (and written up in this assignment). Who would make a good leader probably depends on what you want your leader to do.


You must create a team website that includes your mission statement, articles of incorporation, information about each member and their role in the team, and anything else you want to add. Remember, this is how the whole class will be introduced to you.

When the web is up, send the url to Prof Borgatti ( in order to link it from the class website. Note that you can create the web anywhere, such as your BC www2 account. I am assuming that someone on your team has the necessary skills. If none do, then you will have to rely on your friends (or get a new team member ...)

Example home page from last year:


Revised: September 13, 2001 Go to Home Page Copyright 1996-7 Stephen P. Borgatti