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The Effect of Different Dimensions of Conflict on Measures of Team-member Effectiveness

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Engineering Management Division 1: The Practice of EMD

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Engineering Management

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Paper Authors


Lawrence M. Strenger CATME

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Lawrence Strenger is an senior undergraduate industrial engineering student at Purdue University.

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Behzad Beigpourian Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Behzad Beigpourian is a Ph.D. student and Research Assistant in Engineering Education at Purdue University. He earned his master’s in Structural Engineering from Shahid Chamran University in Iran, and his bachelor’s in Civil Technical Teacher from Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University in Iran, Tehran. He has been official Technical Teacher at Ministry of Education in Iran from 2007 to 2018, and received many certificate in education such as Educational Planning, Developing Research Report, and Understanding School Culture. Mr. Beigpourian currently works in the CATME project, which is NSF funding project, on optimizing teamwork skills and assessing the quality of Peer Evaluations.

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Matthew W. Ohland Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Matthew W. Ohland is Associate Head and Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. He has degrees from Swarthmore College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Florida. His research on the longitudinal study of engineering students, team assignment, peer evaluation, and active and collaborative teaching methods has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Sloan Foundation and with his collaborators he has received Best Paper awards from the Journal of Engineering Education in 2008 and 2011 and from the IEEE Transactions on Education in 2011 and 2015. Dr. Ohland is an ABET Program Evaluator for ASEE. He was the 2002–2006 President of Tau Beta Pi and is a Fellow of the ASEE, IEEE, and AAAS.

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Daniel M. Ferguson Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Daniel M. Ferguson is CATME Managing Director and the recipient of several NSF awards for research in engineering education and a research associate at Purdue University. Prior to coming to Purdue he was Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at Ohio Northern University. Before assuming that position he was Associate Director of the Inter-Professional Studies Program [IPRO] and Senior Lecturer at Illinois Institute of Technology and involved in research in service learning, assessment processes and interventions aimed at improving learning objective attainment. Prior to his University assignments he was the Founder and CEO of The EDI Group, Ltd. and The EDI Group Canada, Ltd, independent professional services companies specializing in B2B electronic commerce and electronic data interchange. The EDI Group companies conducted syndicated market research, offered educational seminars and conferences and published The Journal of Electronic Commerce. He was also a Vice President at the First National Bank of Chicago [now J.P. Morgan Chase], where he founded and managed the bank’s market leading professional Cash Management Consulting Group, initiated the bank’s non-credit service product management organization and profit center profitability programs and was instrumental in the breakthrough EDI/EFT payment system implemented by General Motors. Dr. Ferguson is a graduate of Notre Dame, Stanford and Purdue Universities, a special edition editor of the Journal of Engineering Entrepreneurship and a member of Tau Beta Pi.

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CONTEXT Conflict in teams can have both positive and negative effects for teams. Too much conflict in teams can decrease team performance. Conflict is multidimensional, including task conflict, process conflict, and relationship conflict.

PURPOSE In engineering classes, we want student teams to perform well. If conflict hinders their effectiveness, it will help to know which kind of conflict is of greatest importance, because this will help instructors to identify which teams might require intervention.

METHODS We collected data about different kind of conflicts and team-member effectiveness for each student. We used multiple linear regression to explore which types of conflict have the greatest relationship to team-member effectiveness.

RESULTS Process conflict had the greatest influence on team-member effectiveness, but both task and process conflict had a significant effect. Relationship conflict did not have a significant effect on team-member effectiveness.

CONCLUSIONS If students in teams cannot resolve process conflict to define responsibilities within the team, the team’s performance will decrease. Scaffolding from instructors may facilitate the resolution of process conflict. To reduce task conflict, engineering students should be encouraged to incorporate ideas from all team members.

Strenger, L. M., & Beigpourian, B., & Ohland, M. W., & Ferguson, D. M. (2020, June), The Effect of Different Dimensions of Conflict on Measures of Team-member Effectiveness Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35306

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