Team characteristics and leadership behavior in online classes
Tony Alteparmakian, University of La Verne, United States
University of La Verne . Awarded
Purpose. The purpose of this study was to determine the difference in the degree of teamness, as measured by Harvey and Drolet's (2004) Survey of Team Characteristics, between online education classes that communicate via asynchronous methods, or via a combination of asynchronous and synchronous methods, whose instructor displays a high degree of transformational leadership characteristics, as measured by the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI), and online education classes whose instructor displays a lower degree of transformational leadership characteristics.
Methodology. Descriptive and ex post facto research methods were utilized to analyze data generated from the study participants, which included students enrolled in online courses at the University of La Verne, Capella University, and Taft College. The survey included two survey instruments: Harvey and Drolet's Survey of Team Characteristics and Kouzes and Posner's Leadership Practices Inventory.
Findings. The data revealed a significant difference in each of Harvey and Drolet's 17 Characteristics of Effective Teams between classes that communicated via asynchronous discussion methods and classes that communicated via a combination of asynchronous and synchronous discussion methods. The study also found a significant difference in each of the 17 Characteristics of Effective Teams between classes whose instructor displayed a high degree of leadership and classes whose instructor displayed a lower degree of leadership.
Conclusions. The significant differences presented by the data analysis, coupled with the research presented in this study's literature review, suggest that classes that engage in collaborative work while communicating via rich communication mediums are far more likely to develop team characteristics than those classes whose students work independently. Additionally, it was concluded that instructors lack a focus on group maintenance procedures.
Implications for action. Recommendations are made to assist online instructors in developing teamness and fostering relationships. Specifically, instructors should develop a website devoted to class communications and student profiles. Also, instructors should devote time to developing team characteristics within their classes and leadership characteristics within themselves, as set forth by Harvey and Drolet's (2004) book, Building Teams, Building People: Expanding the Fifth Resource, and Kouzes and Posner's (2002) book, The Leadership Challenge.
Alteparmakian, T. Team characteristics and leadership behavior in online classes. Ph.D. thesis, University of La Verne.
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