Predictors of Team Work Satisfaction
James H. Hamlyn-Harris, Barbara J. Hurst, Karola von Baggo, Anthony J. Bayley, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
JITE-Research Volume 5, Number 1, ISSN 1539-3585 Publisher: Informing Science Institute
The ability to work in teams is an attribute highly valued by employers of information technology (IT) graduates. For IT students to effectively engage in team work tasks, the process of working in teams should be satisfying for the students. This work explored whether university students who were involved in compulsory team work were satisfied with their experience. The research was seeking predictors of satisfaction with team work which may lead to educators being able to plan interventions that improve students’ experiences. Team work satisfaction was measured by asking students to reflect on their current team work experience while rating their level of agreement with statements relating to Global Satisfaction (e.g., Group members interact well with each other.) and Global Dissatisfaction (e.g., My group isn’t very efficient). The statements were taken from a set generated by Keyton (1991) in her study of group work satisfaction in university level students. Potential predictors were also assessed by the survey and included: previous experience with team work; perceived usefulness of team work training; familiarity with team members; and gender mix within the team. Two cohorts of students were surveyed. The first consisted of 270 Database 1 (DB1) students working in teams of 3-4 students on a short duration project (5 weeks). Most of these students were at the beginning of their degrees and therefore relatively inexperienced in regards to team work. The second contained 100 Software Engineering Project (SEP) students who were in the final stages of their degree. These students had more experience with team work than the Database students, and were working on a longer project (8 months). It was found that self-reported previous team work experience had little bearing on current satisfaction for either cohort. This finding contradicted the conclusions of Drury, Kay, and Losberg (2003) and Wong, Shi, and Wilson (2004). However, the former reported results from a smaller cohort of older students and the latter measured group performance as an indicator of satisfaction which may account for the differences. For the DB1 students there was no correlation between perceived usefulness of the team work training and the satisfaction. However, there was a small significant correlation for the SEP students. This result may have been due to the nature of the training offered. The training for the DB1 students was of a passive self directed nature whereas the SEP students were offered a two-day workshop. There was no support for the hypothesis that working with friends would influence satisfaction. However, this finding is difficult to interpret given the way in which we assessed previous familiarity with team members. Finally, it was found that working in mixed gender teams was more satisfying for students working on long (8 month) projects than for students working on short duration (5 week) tasks, supporting previous work by Wong et al. It was proposed that the longer term project allowed the team to become better acquainted and better able to capitalize on the communication skills of females. This proposal will require further research.
Hamlyn-Harris, J.H., Hurst, B.J., von Baggo, K. & Bayley, A.J. (2006). Predictors of Team Work Satisfaction. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 5(1), 299-315. Informing Science Institute.
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