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Repeated Measures Design For Assessment Of Critical Team Skills In Multidisciplinary Teams

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.526.1 - 5.526.15

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Robert S. Thompson

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

Session 1630

A Repeated Measures Design for Assessment of Critical Team Skills in Multidisciplinary Teams

Robert S. Thompson Colorado School of Mines


Teamwork education has become increasingly important over the last decade. In 1996, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), the sole agency responsible for the accreditation of engineering programs, approved new standards for accreditation reviews. The new standards, Engineering Criteria 2000, require programs to demonstrate specific skills. One specific criterion is the need to demonstrate that graduates have “an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams. 1”

The Colorado School of Mines (CSM) has an established tradition of teamwork education 2,3. Teamwork and critical team skills that are a part of CSM’s Multidisciplinary Petroleum Design course are introduced in the following paragraphs. In this course, students from the disciplines of geology and geological engineering, geophysical engineering, and petroleum engineering work on ill-structured open-ended problems from the petroleum industry. The goal of multidisciplinary team education is to improve team performance. The focus of this paper is on performance feedback of the behaviors that characterize successful teams. Feedback typically comes from faculty but in the case of the teamwork described in this paper, this perspective may be inadequate since faculty may observe only a small fraction of the interactions. Peers working on the teams are afforded a unique view of each other’s behavior and are in a position to provide feedback for improving team performance.

The emphasis on teamwork skills stems from the widespread use of teams in industry. The teams described in this paper are similar to self-directed work teams (SDWT’s). SDWT’s (also referred to as task forces) are characterized by: 1. A limited life, 2. Are usually heterogeneous because of the diverse needs of the project, 3. Have a limited time frame to solve a specific problem, 4. Have members that may not know each other and their capabilities, 5. Must perform non-routine work, and 6. Have a mix of autonomy (self-directed) and dependence (client) 4. These characteristics offer challenges for SDWT's. Seminal research by Morton Deutsch 5,6 and later supported by others 7-10 document the need for a common goal in group work and the importance of goal strength 11. SDWT’s often have no clear path to a goal. This fact introduces

Thompson, R. S. (2000, June), Repeated Measures Design For Assessment Of Critical Team Skills In Multidisciplinary Teams Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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