June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.382.1 - 26.382.13
Comparison of team effectiveness between globally distributed and locally distributed engineering project teamsIn light of today’s sweeping trend of globalization, the globally distributed engineering projectteams are becoming increasingly ubiquitous. This study aims to investigate, characterize teameffectiveness of the globally distributed teams in comparison with the locally distributed ones.Our samples of the globally distributed teams came from a global engineering class jointlyoffered by five leading global universities, which included a top 10 engineering school in theUnited States, a public research university in Israel, a private research university in India, apublic research university in China, and a public research university in South Korea. The subjectof this global class focused on “principles and practices of global innovation”. In addition to thesynchronized lectures made possible by videoconferencing, the class was divided into 16 projectteams, and each team was composed of 2 American, 1 Israelite, 2 Indian, 1 Chinese, and 1Korean students. A variety of web conferencing solutions were provided to facilitatecollaborative activities of these 16 globally distributed teams. On the other hand, our samples ofthe locally distributed teams were collected from two courses offered at the same U.S.engineering school. Both courses are required courses in the curriculum of a graduate productdevelopment engineering (PDE) program, with different emphases on “technological innovation”and “engineering design”, respectively. In 2014 fall, enrollment of the two courses was each 30and 40 students, accordingly. The “technological innovation” class was divided into 6 projectteams and each with 5 students, and the “conceptual design” class was divided into 8 projectteams and each with 5 students. It should be noted that though, the U.S. engineering school alsooperates a well-established distance education program, therefore, a few distance students alsosigned up the two PDE courses. That being said, strictly speaking, some of the locally distributedteams should be regarded as partially distributed teams than completely local teams.Although the 16 globally distributed teams and the 14 locally distributed ones were taskeddifferent engineering problems to solve, they were surveyed the same peer assessmentquestionnaire at the conclusion of each class. Specifically, every team member was asked to ratetheir team effectiveness with respect to the following 10 aspects: (1) goals and objectives, (2)utilization of resources, (3) trust and conflict, (4) sharing of leadership roles, (5) control andprocedures, (6) interpersonal communication, (7) problem-solving/decision-making, (8)experimentation/creativity, (9) frequent evaluation, (10) sense of cohesion. Besides, each teammember was further asked to assess his/her peer teammates’ contributions to the project works.A one way analysis of variance is performed to compare the two sets of samples. The resultsindicate that the two types of project teams did lean on different aspects of team effectiveness tosucceed or to fail. Moreover, based on the peer assessment outcomes, we intend to characterize atypical active contributor and an inactive one, each within the globally distributed teams andwithin the locally distributed teams, respectively. Together with our empirical observations, weprescribe a set of suggestions hopefully to improve team effectiveness of the globally distributedteams.
Liu, A., & Dai, Y., & Morrison, J. R., & Lu, S. Y. (2015, June), Comparison of Team Effectiveness Between Globally Distributed and Locally Distributed Engineering Project Teams Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23721
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