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A Case Study Approach for Understanding the Impact of Team Selection on the Effectiveness of Multidisciplinary Capstone Teams

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Professional Skills and Teaming in Design

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Mark W. Steiner University of Central Florida

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Mark Steiner is Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) in the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) at the University of Central Florida (UCF). He currently serves as Director of Engineering Design in the MAE Department. Mark previously served as Director of the O.T. Swanson Multidisciplinary Design Laboratory in the School of Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and Professor of Practice in the Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering department from 1999 to 2015. He also worked at GE Corporate from 1987 to 1991, consulting and introducing world-class productivity practices throughout GE operations. In 1991 he joined GE Appliances and led product line structuring efforts resulting in $18 million annual cost savings to the refrigeration business. Later as a design team leader he led product development efforts and the initial 1995 market introduction of the Built-In Style line of GE Profile refrigerators. His last assignment at GE Appliances was in the Office of Chief Engineer in support of GE’s Design for Six Sigma initiative. Dr. Steiner has taught advanced design methods to hundreds of new and experienced engineers. His research interests include; design education, product architecture, mechanical reliability, design for manufacture and quality. Mark graduated from Rensselaer with a B.S. in mechanical engineering in 1978 and a Ph.D. in 1987.

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Kurt Stephen Stresau University of Central Florida

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An important ingredient for capstone project success is teamwork. Most, if not all, capstone teams will deal with issues such as poor communication, social loafers, a lack of shared objectives, and an inability to resolve conflicts at various points during the course of a capstone project. In addition to regular instructor mentoring and coaching, team selection appears to play an important role in mitigating such behaviors. In the interest of understanding how team selection might impact team effectiveness in a capstone setting, this paper examines a relatively large population of capstone project teams over multiple semesters using a case study approach across two universities. Team composition factors considered in context of the case studies included the impacts of academic imbalance, dominant personality, personality composition, misaligned interests and disciplinary divergence (i.e., fault lines).

Steiner, M. W., & Stresau, K. S. (2017, June), A Case Study Approach for Understanding the Impact of Team Selection on the Effectiveness of Multidisciplinary Capstone Teams Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27443

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