June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.1263.1 - 13.1263.8
The Scavenger Hunt: A Team Building Exercise
For US companies, team building is big business; in fact, in 2005, American companies spent over $20 billion on team-building activities.1 A quick sweep of the Internet reveals some 44 million websites devoted to companies that tailor-make exercises to suit particular companies. Whether it be Enron’s death-defying ATV rides across the Mojave Desert or a simple in-house game, companies are spending enormous amounts of money in attempts to build a certain esprit de corps among employees. Some exercises are active; some are passive. Some are physical; others are intellectual. Whatever the venue, the objective is to produce teams that exhibit synergy.
Most universities are not equipped with either materials or budget to allow instructors the luxury of taking their students surfing in Maui. However, there are a number of inexpensive, fun exercises that can promote congenial collaboration in classes that depend on positive, long-term group interactions.
This paper focuses on a team-building exercise used in a senior project class that requires students to be in the same groups for 30 weeks; it includes background information on business/industry practices, explains the exercise, and offers student reactions.
Current Business/Industry Practices
Teams, as defined by group dynamics experts Johnson and Johnson, are a group on individuals who exhibit these five characteristics:
• are aware of their positive interdependence as they strive to achieve mutual goals • interact while they do so • are aware of who is and is not a member of the team • have specific roles or functions to perform • have a limited lifespan of membership2
Dyrud, M. (2008, June), The Scavenger Hunt: A Team Building Exercise Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3165
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