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The Evolution of Teamwork in the Engineering Workplace from the First Industrial Revolution to Industry 4.0: A Literature Review

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Integration of Current Issues into Manufacturing

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Tahsin Mahmud Chowdhury Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Tahsin Mahmud Chowdhury is a PhD student at Virginia Tech in the department of Engineering Education. Tahsin holds a bachelors degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and has worked as a manufacturing professional at a Fortune 500 company. As an Engineering Education researcher, he is interested in enhancing professional competencies for engineering workforce development in academia and beyond. He is actively engaged in different projects at the department focusing on teamwork and leadership competencies in engineering.

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Homero Murzi Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Orcid 16x16

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Homero Murzi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. He holds degrees in Industrial Engineering (BS, MS), Master of Business Administration (MBA) and in Engineering Education (PhD). Homero has 15 years of international experience working in industry and academia. His research focuses on contemporary and inclusive pedagogical practices, industry-driven competency development in engineering, and understanding the barriers that Latinx and Native Americans have in engineering. Homero has been recognized as a Diggs scholar, a Graduate Academy for Teaching Excellence fellow, a Diversity scholar, a Fulbright scholar and was inducted in the Bouchet Honor Society.

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Before the industrial revolution began, managing people was not an art and teamwork was not explicitly understood or studied in engineering workplaces. Following the first industrial revolution, research began on understanding people and collaboration as an important aspect for productivity in engineering. By the end of two more groundbreaking industrial revolutions, robust frameworks focusing on teamwork were introduced to enhance productivity, efficiency and profit. The most recent industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 (4IR) has been introduced in several manufacturing industries globally which is characterized by the application of information and communication technologies. In this era of manufacturing, production systems will move towards automation through expansion of network connections and enhancement of communication with other facilities. The requirement of complex collaboration and effective teamwork will further increase with the expansion of technological advancement in engineering workplace. However, industries and academia have not agreed on what important teamwork aspects are necessary to comprehend the changes in Industry 4.0. Furthermore, research is required on how to effectively develop teamwork as a competency to adapt to the new industrial revolution.

The purpose of this study is to conduct a systematic review of the literature to identify a more comprehensive understanding of how teamwork has been used or proposed in engineering workplace in order to align with the changes in Industry 4.0.

RQ: What aspects of teamwork have been proposed or studied in order to ensure effective teamwork for Industry 4.0 in the engineering workplace?

We analyzed sources from book chapters, journals and conference papers using “Teamwork” and “Industry 4.0” as our initial search term in several databases including general database, journal database and gray literature database. We looked for key words in the scholarly papers which were relevant towards teamwork in Industry 4.0. This step yielded 32 scholarly papers that were used in the final step of the systematic review. The final step was the synthesis of our systematic review which involved identifying 7 key teamwork attributes necessary to create an effective teamwork environment in workplaces that are or will be shifting to 4IR.

The results of the systematic review yielded key themes on teamwork which have been proposed for comprehending the technological advancement through the new industrial revolution in engineering workplaces. Furthermore, when these results are combined with our previous work on teamwork, we are able conclude that this study will provide valuable insights to both academia and industry who are seeking to find guidance for teamwork skills development process in order to prepare the future engineering workforce for 4IR. Also, in addition to the technical skills required in adapting to Industry 4.0, these attributes will highlight key teamwork skills which would potentially contribute towards engineering competencies among industry and academic leaders.

Chowdhury, T. M., & Murzi, H. (2020, June), The Evolution of Teamwork in the Engineering Workplace from the First Industrial Revolution to Industry 4.0: A Literature Review Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35318

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