Teamwork skills are widely recognized as important, but are these skills being taught effectively within business courses?
This latest research paper aims to study the effectiveness of existing standards in teaching a highly prized quality: being able to work in teams.
According to employers, one avenue colleges can utilize to prepare students for the goal of employment is to make sure students are adequately exposed to teamwork. Though teamwork skills are regularly cited as skills employers look for in potential employees (Cannon-Bowers & Bowers, 2011; Kutlubay & Uslay, 2019; Thompson, 2011), studies have indicated a lack of teamwork instruction in business schools (Hansen, 2006) while others recognized diminishing teamwork skills due to reliance on technology (Loughry, Ohland, & Woehr, 2014). However, studies also demonstrate that, beyond improving teamwork skills, teamwork instruction improves self-confidence (Hobson et al., 2013) and strategic thinking (Mayer, Dale, & Fox, 2014). Proper teamwork instruction helps students in the classroom and in their future careers.
Studies have demonstrated that, while employers recognize the importance of soft skills in business graduates (MacDermott & Ortiz, 2017), many students leave business school under prepared (Conrad & Newberry, 2012; Gray, 2010; Yale, 2014). The number of soft skills business communication instructors are expected to cover continues to increase (Schartel Dunn & Lane, 2019). Ideally, soft skills would be taught throughout the business curriculum, but how well those skills are taught is an ongoing question.
The first hypothesis suggested the number of team based assignments would be positively correlated with (a) student recognition of the importance of teamwork skills and (b) the likelihood that students will utilize effective teamwork. These results suggest the number of team projects assigned in business classes had no impact on perceived importance of group work skills in the students’ future career.
For the second half of this hypothesis, regression was used to assess the relationship between use of teamwork skills and recognition that teamwork skills are career applicable. The results of this regression suggested a positive relationship between strong teamwork skills and understanding the importance of teamwork skills.
In conclusion, teamwork skills are very desired, having repeated opportunities to develop teamwork skills can only strengthen business students’ abilities. That said, simply assigning team activities is not enough to teach strong teamwork skills. Instructors taking the time to teach strategies for how to approach teamwork and communicate the benefits of teamwork is necessary to strengthen teamwork skills.
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