Putting learners into teams is not enough to enable them to develop capabilities in teamwork.

Given an increased need to be able to work in teams in organisations, teamwork is one of the employability skills required to successfully transition between the classroom and the workplace. To help learners to develop skills in teamwork, one of the Bachelor of Applied Management papers requires learners to work in groups of 4 or 5 to analyse and solve a business problem. In doing so they apply a range of management concepts, theories, frameworks and key analytical tools used in business research. Each group has to work out how they will cooperate as a team, and reflects upon the team's performance afterwards.

School of Business lecturers Helen Geytenbeek, Lesley Gill, Rachel Byars and Melissa Clarke-Fuller noticed a lack of responsibility and accountability in the teams of learners and investigated the issues. As differing levels of commitment and academic ability became obvious and presented challenges within the teams, team members did not yet have the skills to respond constructively. 

Reflection on their role as lecturers identified the need to observe the group dynamics and interactions, and actively listen to the learners’ questions, offering advice and assisting them to problem-solve their challenges themselves. Revision of this course will provide learners with more structured opportunities to reflect and to consider how to improve their teamwork. It is hoped that building learners' capabilities in teamwork in this way will reduce their aversion to working in teams.

May 2022

Image credit: Behan. Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivatives licence CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.