On-going Research Projects
engineering Student project-teams
Through a collaboration with Western's Faculty of Engineering our on-going study of first-year engineering student project-teams examines, for example, the importance of strong team-cohesion and minimal team-conflict. The participants are engineering students enrolled in a introductory design class. The students are grouped into teams that work closely together throughout the year on several projects, culminating with an final project, a prototype that they design.
During September, the TeamWork Lab leads the students through teambuilding workshops. The workshops allow team members to get to know one another, and practice effective teamwork skills.
The workshop is designed with the interests of our budding engineers in mind. The teams work together to build small bridges. The challenge is to build a bridge from limited amounts of paper and masking tape. Teams compete to build the best bridge, measured by the Superior Performance Index (how much weight the bridge could support, divided by the weight of the bridge itself). Some of these paper bridges held an astonishing amount of weight!
assessing whether/when team members' individual perceptions of their team "gel" into group views
Recent work questions both current theory, and how researchers assess, this "gelling" and suggests that it occurs much earlier in a team's time together than conventionally believed. This may have practical implications for the timing and impact of team interventions.
Improving how we study teams
Our methodological research (with David Stanley, Sarah Ross, Helen Williams, and Tom O'Neill) aims to improve how we study teams, with a focus on the impact of missing data, and the adequacy with which researchers define/assess key variables.