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What Motivates Engineering Students To Work In Teams?

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Engineering Management Program Management

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

Page Count

10

Page Numbers

12.1607.1 - 12.1607.10

DOI

10.18260/1-2--2320

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/2320

Download Count

70

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Paper Authors

biography

Bianey Ruiz Ulloa Universidad Nacional Experimental del Tachira

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She is currently a Full Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Tachira – Venezuela. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska –Lincoln in Industrial and Management Systems Engineering. She holds a M.S. degree in Industrial and Management Systems Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a M.B.A. and B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the National University of Tachira – Venezuela. Her research interests are teamwork, and organizational change. She worked for nine years for manufacturing and service industry as an Industrial Engineer prior to her academic career.

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Sheila Lizcano Universidad Nacional Experimental del Tachira

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She received her BSc. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Tachira - Venezuela. She currently works as Planning Assistan in an insurance carrier company.

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Francisco Gamboa University of Tachira

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He is currently an Instructor Professor of Industrial Engineering at the Universidad Nacional Experimental del Táchira – Venezuela. He holds a Master Degree in Global Planning from the Universidad Pedagógica Experimental Libertador – Venezuela, and received his B.S. Degree IN Industrial Engineering from the Universidad Nacional Experimental del Táchira. He teaches different courses in undergraduate and graduate industrial engineering program. His research interests are; leadership in smalls groups and the human’s motivation process in organizations.

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Dilia Alcalde Universidad Nacional Experimental del Tachira

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She is currently an Aggregate Professor of Industrial Engineering at the Universidad Nacional Experimental del Táchira – Venezuela. She received her Ph.D. and M.Ed. in Human Resource Development from the University of Nebraska –Lincoln. She holds a M.B.A. from the University of Nebraska – Omaha and B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the Universidad Nacional Experimental del Táchira – Venezuela. Her research interests are organizational learning, and organizational development. She worked for manufacturing companies in the Human Resource area prior to her academic career.

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Stephanie Adams University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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She received her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in Interdisciplinary Engineering. She holds a M.E. degree in Systems Engineering from University of Virginia and a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University. She is currently the Assistant Dean for Research in the College of Engineering and Technology and an Associate Professor in the Industrial and Management Systems Engineering Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

WHAT MOTIVATES ENGINEERING STUDENTS TO WORK IN TEAMS?

Abstract

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.

Introduction

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. 10.18260/1-2--2320

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