Using personality type differences to form engineering design teams

Using personality type differences to form engineering design teams

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54 vol.2 issue 2 2007 engineering education Using personality type differences to form engineering design teams Siu-Tsen Shen, Stephen D. Prior, Anthony S. White and Mehmet Karamanoglu Abstract This paper argues for the greater use of personality type instruments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter II (KTS II), when forming engineering design teams. Considering the importance of teamwork in all aspects of education and industry, it is surprising that few universities in the UK use personality type information when forming design teams. This has led to many courses not getting the best out of their students, and more importantly the students not getting the most out of the teamworking experience. Various team formation methods are discussed and their relative strengths and weaknesses outlined. Normal personality type distributions in base populations are presented and compared with data from recent studies of engineering students, and the link between engineering, design and creativity is discussed. The results of this study have shown that the most important of the type preferences is the Sensing-iNtuitive (S-N) scale, with its proven link to creativity and learning styles. It is concluded that both engineers and designers have much in common, and a methodology of using personality type choice sets to select and form engineering design teams is proposed. Introduction Placing individuals into productive teams is one of the most important activities of any educational or business environment. However, it is also one of the least considered components. Much attention has been given to selection, performance measurement, retention and progression activities in the literature, but too little to the most fundamental task of them all - forming the team. It is little wonder that educational and business environments often fail to get the best out of their students and their employees, leading to frustration, recriminations, and poor performance. This failure, coupled with the fact that lecturers in higher education are finding themselves under increasing pressure, has resulted in group formation activities being hit-and-miss at best, and doomed to fail at worst. ‘University teachers have accordingly found themselves working harder and at the same time being required to be more business-like and more accountable.’ (Ramsden, 2003). Research questions What is the range of team formation methodologies available? Which, if any, team formation methodologies work and why? Is there a better way of forming engineering design teams, than simply using traditional random selection methods? Where is the proof that they work? Team formation methods There are many alternative methods available to the individual lecturer when forming an engineering design team. Each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages; however most are fatally flawed due to the fact that they do not consider the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals involved and
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  • Fall '15
  • MBTI, Engineering education, Siu-Tsen Shen

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