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Team Leadership on Capstone Design Project Teams

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Design Teamwork

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1156.1 - 23.1156.15



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Paper Authors


Stephen W. Laguette University of California, Santa Barbara

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Stephen Laguette is currently a Lecturer at the University of California, Santa Barbara in the College of Engineering in the Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) and the Technology Management Program and is responsible for the undergraduate ME Capstone Design program. He received his BS, MS in ME from the University of California, Los Angeles. His professional career has included executive Research and Development management positions with a number of medical device companies. He has been responsible for the creation of complex medical devices with over sixteen US patents issued in a variety of surgical fields. He has been responsible for the identification of new technologies and the review of new business opportunities. His responsibilities have included transitioning projects into development and potential commercialization. He has identified and successfully created research programs with leading academic institutions and formed strategic alliances with other high technology companies. He has served as a Director with the Design in Engineering Education Division (DEED) for the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). His academic interests include Capstone design and the development of high performance student teams. He also remains active in the field of medical devices as a consultant for new ventures and investment firms.

Phone: (805) 893-2652

Mailing address:
Stephen W. Laguette
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, Ca 93106-505

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Team Leadership on Capstone Design Project TeamsAbstractThe significance of student team dynamics and effective team performance continues to be ofinterest in the context of Capstone design projects and the desire to improve outcomes. Asinstructors, we are challenged to provide a learning experience while providing an environmentfor successful project outcomes. The Capstone design project is typically a team-based courseexperience at most engineering schools. The effectiveness of the student team in addressing thedesign project is a significant factor in successful project outcomes and a successful studentexperience.A Capstone design program including companion design courses has been developed1,2 that hasbecome an integral and important component of the Mechanical Engineering curriculum. Avariety of challenging projects are created each year to appeal to varied student academic andcareer interests. Students work in teams with the assistance of a faculty advisor to tackle asignificant Mechanical Engineering design project. The formation of student teams can be achallenging and time consuming process that is critical to the success of the design project andthe course experience. Attention continues to be focused upon the formation of student teamsand the selection process in the hopes of developing high performance student teams3,4 andsuccessful project outcomes5. Successful student teams should include enthusiastic, motivatedand engaged students as they must address the project over the academic year of the Fall, Winterand Spring quarters. The student team should also include satisfactory skills, technical oracademic expertise as well as mutual accountability for each project. The importance ofsatisfactory team leadership is little understood in the Capstone environment. It is important thatawareness and guidance is offered to the students and teams to better ensure successful projectoutcomes and student experience.Team leadership and organizational team performance in terms of improved productivitycontinues to be of interest in the industrial setting6,7,8,9,10,11. Student team leadership in anacademic setting12,13,14,15 creates a different and perhaps an even more challenging situation dueto a lack of experience and authority of a designated or selected student team leader.To better understand team dynamics, Self Assessment and detailed Team Assessment surveys ofCapstone design teams has previously been conducted3,4. High Performance andUnderperforming teams based upon project outcomes and team dynamics had been identified byindependent faculty. The team dynamics and team leadership for these teams will be furtherexamined. More recent Capstone design teams will also be examined in terms of team dynamics,team leadership, and team performance.This paper will provide a qualitative assessment of the demonstrated team leadership for theseteams to better understand the role and importance of team leadership on Capstone design teams.Guidance will be developed based upon these assessments regarding team leadership forCapstone design teams. It is believed that increased awareness will improve team effectiveness.Bibliography 1. xxx. Development of a Capstone Design Program for Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering. Proceedings of the 2007 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. 2. xxx. Integration of Industry Partners into a Capstone Design Program. Proceedings of the 2008 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. 3. xxx. The Development of High Performance Capstone Project Teams and the Selection Process. Proceedings of the 2010 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. 4. xxx. Progress Report -The Development of High Performance Capstone Project Teams and the Selection Process. Proceedings of the 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. 5. xxx. Assessment of Project Completion for Capstone Design Projects. Proceedings of the 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. 6. Katzenbach, Jon R. and Smith, Douglas K. The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High Performance Organization. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1993 7. Katzenbach, Jon R. and Smith, Douglas K. The Discipline of Teams. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1993 8. Lencioni, Patrick. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Jossey-Bass, 2002 9. Zaccaro, Stephen and Rittman, A. , Marks, M. Team leadership. The Leadership Quarterly. 12 (2001) 451- 483. 10. Lafasto, Frank and Larson, C. When Teams Work Best. Sage Publications, 2001. 11. Singh, Anup K. and Muncherji, N. Team Effectiveness and Its Measurement: A Framework. Global Business Review, 8:1 (2007): 119-133. 12. Zemke, Diane and Zemke, S. Identifying Roles and Behaviors of Informal Leaders on Student Design Teams. Proceeding of the 2008 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. 13. Ozgen, Sibel and Alabart, J. , Medir, M. A Team Leader Selection Process for Project-Based Learning Experiences. Proceeding of the 2008 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. 14. Zafft, Carmen, and Adams, S., Matkin, G. Measuring Leadership in Self-Managed Teams Using the Competing Values Framework. Journal of Engineering Education, July 2009, 273-283. 15. Wilding, W. Vincent and Knotts, T.,Pitt, W., Argyle, M. Developing and Assessing Leadership in Engineering Students. Proceedings of the 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition.

Laguette, S. W. (2013, June), Team Leadership on Capstone Design Project Teams Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22541

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