Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
Teamwork is essential to engineering work. Yet research is scant that explores the relationship between teamwork dynamics and innovation outcomes. Using an entrepreneurial simulation in an upper division thermodynamics course, this mixed-methods study investigates: What is the relationship, if any, between team dynamics and innovation effectiveness? Can a team achieve high innovation effectiveness if it has low team dynamics? Data were 14, 3-4 member teams assigned a term project to produce a biomass pellet burner that met specific design requirements. At the end of the term, teams pitched their solutions to a “board of investors” that comprised actual entrepreneurs and investors, who rated each team’s innovation effectiveness. During the term, all team members completed a survey assessing the effectiveness of their team’s collaboration across 9 dimensions of teamwork. Team ratings were supplemented by open-ended survey comments and one-on-one interviews. This study focuses on 7 teams that evidenced weak team dynamics. Of these, three achieved low innovation outcomes and four achieved high innovation outcomes. Teams with high innovation outcomes in spite of poor team functioning were able to make last-minute adjustments in order to complete the project successfully. The results of this research showed that the relationship between team dynamics and innovation quality is not linear, as might be inferred from prior research. Understanding how teams mitigate poor team dynamics could increase student learning as well as professional productivity. The results of this pilot study warrant fuller investigation.
Ta, T. N. Y., & Lichtenstein, G., & Milcarek, R. J. (2020, June), The Relationship Between Teamwork and Innovation Outcomes in an Engineering Thermal Science Course: An Entrepreneurial Mindset Simulation Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35361
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