by Chris van der Leer on July 11th, 2017

​It’s always great to spend some time helping friends, and then seeing your materials being used to help them out.
Marshal Wang is a thriving artist and photographer who lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Marshal has been a Law Marshal, an accountant, a business man, a teacher, a colleague tutor and an IT engineer. Marshal, who also a Mensa club member, enjoys research in economics, history, literature, information technology and most importantly - arts. (, retrived July 2017).
Many of his artworks have been sold overseas and collected by galleries. Collectors of Marshals work are usually inspired by the true enthusiasm, passion and by the talent exhibited in his works.
See the latest post about Marshal (which features my pics) at the Artand site:
Also see Marshals Instragram account at for examples of his artwork, and to get in touch.

by Chris van der Leer on June 26th, 2017

​Raw stock footage time-lapse recorded from the suburb of Addington – North West view towards the Southern Alps. No title or sound. Creative Commons license - please feel free to use for your project.

Footage captured Winter - June 2017.

Tech details

​Angle: 170 degrees
Time-lapse interval: 5 secs
Frame Width: 1920
Frame Height: 1080
Frame Rate: 30fps
Camera: SJCAM SJ4000 WiFi
​Christchurch (Canterbury, New Zealand), known for its English heritage, is located on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Flat-bottomed punts glide on the Avon River, which meanders through the city centre. On its banks are cycling paths, the green expanse of Hagley Park and Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

by Chris van der Leer on May 25th, 2017

​Creating a survey seems like an easy way to perform primary research on a target market, however it is important bear a number of guidelines in mind when planning a survey.
Here are 10 items you should consider when building a survey or questionnaire:
  1. Know the aim: Be clear on the survey purpose. Having a clear objective will help determine the data required, which in turn will dictate what questions need to be asked. Having an unclear objective can lead to collecting data which does not clearly contribute towards the purpose.
  2. Be time conscious: Respondents time is valuable, do be mindful of how much time it will take to complete and perhaps mention this on the survey itself. Survey respondents are more likely to respond if they know how much of their time it will take.
  3. Be clear on how data will be distributed: Most people value their privacy and do not appreciate having their contact details and opinions handed around without their knowledge and consent.
  4. Dangle a carrot: Provide an incentive to encourage respondents to spend the time to respond to the survey. This is particularly useful if the potential survey respondents do not have a vested interest in contributing towards the survey; providing an incentive will get more responses.
  5. Take only what you need: Ensure that the collected metrics contribute towards the purpose of the survey. Don’t collect superfluous data as it is likely to muddy the survey results.
  6. Keep the questions simple: Vague, poorly worded and indirect questions tend to confuse survey respondents. Use close ended questions. Short and focused is best – employ the use of economic verbiage.
  7. Avoid pre-biased questions: Get the draft survey reviewed by somebody who does not have a vest interest in the outcome. It helps to review adjectives and adverbs in the survey questions, remove them if they do not add value to the question.
  8. Keep the question order logical: Don’t confuse respondents by jumping around the subject matter – consider the purpose of the survey and order the questions appropriately. It helps if the order of the questions takes the respondent on a journey in order to engage them more.
  9. Avoid jargon:  Be aware of who the target demographic are and tailor the survey questions to their skill level. Technical language should be avoided, if the use of jargon cannot be avoided then a glossary or explanation of terms is recommended.
  10. Consider the target market: Do be mindful of how the survey is delivered. If a survey is distributed on paper then people might not complete and return, however if it is done on-line then a response is more likely.
This article was excerpted from a paper developed by Chris van der Leer and created for ‘US1986 Apply calculations, data analysis and statistical interpretation in a business context’. It is licensed under CC BY 2.0. This means that you are free to license and adapt the contents of this article by giving credit to the original author.

by Chris van der Leer on May 22nd, 2017

​Most cultures around the world do not fully into the individualism or collectivism group, rather they will exhibit elements of each, the end result being that they will fall on one side of the spectrum or the other. This means that there no one-size-fits-all approach to conflict resolution, since the varying culture will always be a factor.
In the example of India, individuals seem to align with a holistic cultural style because relations tend to be prescriptive, individuals are not normally expected to choose their relationships and members are expected to work toward the goals of the whole (Lim & Giles, 2007). This appears to be a form of collectivism because loyalty lies with the group first; individual members tend to work together, performing different tasks and roles that complement each other.
People from a holistic culture prefer the compromising style of conflict management as the collaboration skills, diplomacy and administrative aspects suit them best. Adopting a participate and non-autocratic approach to leadership of the group when working with these individuals is usually most effective. Spending time explaining the bigger picture and how all the pieces slot together to fully clarify the direction and purpose of the group will also be beneficial.
In contrast, a group also consisting of members from the USA, Australia and New Zealand the loyalty will lie with the individual. A group member’s opinion is more important than the general group opinion. This individualistic style of culture is in direct contrast to the collectivism style and requires that the group leader and the members develop a rapport and find common ground early in the Forming stage.
The individualistic group members involved were adopting a competitive /enforcement style where they used their position and influence to convince others of their positions and opinion. When working with these group members the project manager ensured that communication was precise, direct, and specific. She also allowed the group members to work autonomously and gave them responsibility for making decisions within their remit.
Sometimes these styles clash, however as the team moves into the Norming stage of group development the team will start to recognize the cultural differences and become mindful of them.
​This article is taken from a paper written by Chris van der Leer on the development of group processes. It is licensed under CC BY 2.0. This means that you are free to license and adapt the contents of this article by giving credit to the original author.

by Chris van der Leer on May 4th, 2017

The various stages of group development can be explained by means of working example, as below:

Forming Stage

​During the Forming stage individuals are introduced to the other group participants and learn about the tasks they will need to perform. It is essential to ensure the team members feel welcomed at this stage because these first impression set the scene for what is to follow on.
In the project team the group was introduced informally doing a team-building exercise which was designed around the group objectives. This allowed individuals to meet their co-workers in an environment that was non-threatening, thus encouraging individuals to leave the comfort zone and engage in discussions with strangers.

Storming Stage

​As the project was planned out the group seemed to move into the Storming stage. The group members were starting to into conflict with one another as their opinions differed. It was also noticed that the experience levels and opinions of the individual members started to conform to suit the group and started to align to the goal of the group.
It is most likely that this will be the most challenging time of the development of the group; it helps to understand that competition and conflict in a group environment is normal. Balance needs to be found in order for the group to move forward.

Norming Stage

​As the personalities in the group balance themselves out it is likely that they will focus more effectively affectively on the tasks required to meet the group’s goal. When group members are willing to renegotiate their preconceived notion they are affectively moving into the Norming stage of group development.
Actively listening to the concerns of group members is an important characteristic of the Norming stage. Clear communication and constructive feedback enables the team to work together openly. This is particularly important when working in a project group to plan a project because the planning phase of the project requires the input from all individuals in order to plan the execution of the project.

Performing Stage

The project group had some conflict to deal with however they moved quickly into the Performing stage because the synergy between the group members was good and all members of the group were performing optimally. 

This was great because the project manager was comfortable enough with the performance of the group to start to allow the group members to work independently in order to achieve their specific objectives. The project group moved to the performing stage as the project moved to the execution phase.

Adjouring (or Closing) Stage

​As the project wound down the project group started to complete their tasks. When all tasks were complete the project manager arranged for a team dinner to celebrate the group attaining its goals.
This is an example of the Adjourning phase of group development as a group no longer has a purpose to collaborate however the team will have become very close and individuals may feel a sense of loss now that the group purpose is complete and the team are disbanding.
​​This article is taken from a paper written by Chris van der Leer on the development of group processes. It is licensed under CC BY 2.0. This means that you are free to license and adapt the contents of this article by giving credit to the original author.