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Measuring team-member effectiveness in Australia and the United States
conference contributionposted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Matthew OhlandMatthew Ohland, M Loughry, D Woehr, R Layton, D Ferguson
Backround: Following surveys and reports in Australia and the United States of America that indicate teamwork skill deficiencies in engineering graduates, engineering accreditation in both countries requires thedevelopment of teamwork skills as one of the outcomes of the bachelor’s degree.Purpose: The purpose of this research is to compare and contrast measurements of team member effectiveness collected in Australia and the United States of America using a common measurementinstrument.Design/Method: The Comprehensive Assessment of Team-Member Effectiveness (CATME) was developed by US researchers, based primarily on a definition of teamwork published in US journals, and validated inmultiple studies in US institutions of higher education. Nevertheless, the instrument has been used widely outside the United States. Team-member effectiveness data have been collected and releasedat hundreds of institutions in the United States of America, resulting in 3,364,989 ratings of a student at a US institution by another student at a US institution and 942,433 self-ratings. Three universities in Australia released de-identified data for research purposes, comprising 14,488 ratings of one student by another and 4,461 self-ratings. The ability to measure cultural differences is limited by the fact that institutions in both the Australia and the US enrol students from various countries and cultures, and no personally identifying information is available.Results: Cultural differences might be expected in what team member behaviours are desired, in how those behaviours are described in the measurement instrument, in the team member behaviours observed,and in how students respond to a peer evaluation instrument. Nevertheless, the pattern of ratings observed in the two countries is remarkably similar.Conclusions: A variety of explanations for the observed similarity is discussed, and future research is suggested that would provide evidence to narrow the possible explanations. Measures of inter-rater agreementand results of team-based measures gathered in Australia and the United States of America such as interdependence, cohesion, conflict, and satisfaction may reveal differences that cannot be observedfrom the basic measures discussed here. Subsequently, this work will contribute to a more intentional research effort to seek a definition of teamwork that is more global and that is validated in a broaderinternational context.