June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.1607.1 - 12.1607.10
WHAT MOTIVATES ENGINEERING STUDENTS TO WORK IN TEAMS?
Generally individuals come together to work in teams to develop a task or achieve a goal. In the higher education environment most of the work done by students takes place in teams and the results of team efforts significantly affects learning outcomes When working in teams, team members are focused in developing the task. However, they constantly interact with each other in order to achieve this goal. According to McClelland’s motivation theory, individuals are motivated by three types of needs: affiliation need (nAff), achievement need (nAch) and power need (nPow). Therefore, if team members are focused on the task and socialize through interaction process while working in teams it is expected that those team members with high achievement need and affiliation need perform better than those with high power need. In teams, where team members with power need prevail over other needs, it is expected that they would try to impose their ideas making the team to perform poorly. A study with 73 engineering student teams formed between 3 and 6 members each was carried out during the spring semester 2006, at the National University of Tachira, Venezuela. The MLP, MPS, and MAFI tests were applied to measure achievement need, power need and affiliation need respectively. The TEE questionnaire was applied to measure team performance. The statistical analysis showed that achievement need prevailed in good performing teams whereas affiliation need prevailed in poor performing teams. Power need showed no statistical significant difference between good performing teams and poor performing teams. These results show that faculty should take into account individual motivation needs when forming teams in the classroom and that they should place more emphasis on forming teams where achievement need prevails rather than affiliation need.
Much of the work done by students in higher education takes place in teams and the results of team efforts significantly affects learning outcomes 1,2,3. Most students recognize the need of teamwork for improving interpersonal skills, but still they prefer individual work when the goal is to achieve a good performance 2,4 ; however, the team literature indicates that for teams to operate, they should work under two dimensions: accomplishing of task and sustaining team spirit and impetus5. This means that teams, additional to help student to improve interpersonal skills also help students to achieve their team goals. Therefore, why students think that they can perform better working individually than in groups? What really move them to work in teams?
Motivation theories state that individual’s behaviors are shaped by motives that energize, orient and sustain these behaviors over time6. The study of what moves students to work effectively in teams has not received much attention and even less the study of the type of motivation team members should have to work effectively in teams. Among work motivation theories, McClelland’s Theory of Needs affirms that at any given time, individuals hold several often competing needs that when activated motivate behaviors. McClelland defines these needs as motives for behaviors as achievement (nAch), affiliation (nAff), and power (nPow)6.
Ruiz Ulloa, B., & Lizcano, S., & Gamboa, F., & Alcalde, D., & Adams, S. (2007, June), What Motivates Engineering Students To Work In Teams? Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2320
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