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Effect Of Gender Orientation Of The Design Task On Team Performance: A Preliminary Study

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Learning and Teaching Issues

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.466.1 - 8.466.9



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Paper Authors

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Gul Okudan Kremer

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2033

Effect of Gender Orientation of the Design Task on Design Team Performance: A Preliminary Study

Gül E. Okudan and Sven G. Bilén

College of Engineering The Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA 16802


This study highlights the potential impact of the gender orientation of the product design task on the performance of design teams with different gender compositions. It then summarizes the methodology and results of a preliminary study conducted at The Pennsylvania State University during fall 2002 using two sections of an Introduction to Engineering Design course. The pilot study used 16 engineering design teams that completed two design projects. The first design project is a guided project and the second one is an open-ended, industry-sponsored project. The data collection was done during the second design project, which lasts about 8 weeks of the semester. Preliminary results indicate that design experience affects the performance of design teams. In addition, despite the fact that the gender orientation of the design task is not found to be significant—as it is quantified for this preliminary study—the increase of female students in design teams result in lower design performance. However, the data set included does not warrant a conclusion on the effect of the gender orientation of the design task on design team performance. Therefore, further experimentation is recommended.

1. Introduction

Due to their numeric minority in the engineering classroom, female students in engineering programs often report feeling isolated and undervalued by their male peers. For instance, a recent study reported that women are less likely to plan on attending graduate school because of their discomfort in the engineering academic environment [1]. This discomfort may be further magnified in a product design team environment resulting in inhibited performance within a mixed- gender team. Accordingly, homogeneous design teams were found to be better performing when compared to their heterogeneous counterparts [2].

In addition, the potential discomfort of female students in a design team may be affected positively or negatively by the nature of the design project because of: (1) their perception about the gender orientation of the product design task domain, and (2) their familiarity with the use of the product that is being developed. This positive or negative impact on the design team

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society from Engineering Education

Okudan Kremer, G. (2003, June), Effect Of Gender Orientation Of The Design Task On Team Performance: A Preliminary Study Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11969

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