HERDSA 2002 PAGE 640Successful teamwork: A case studyPina TarriconeEdith Cowan University, Perth, Australia[email protected]Joe LucaEdith Cowan University, Perth, Australia[email protected]Abstract: Why are some teams successful and others unsuccessful? What criteriaor attributes are needed for success? Contemporary teaching and learningpractice over the past few years in higher education institutions has seen aproliferation of open-ended constructivist learning designs that incorporatecollaboration. This has promoted the need for identifying essential attributesneeded for successful teamwork. This study reviews the literature with a view ofidentifying a framework that educators can use to help promote effective teamworkin their classes. A case study is used to investigate two teams of final yearmultimedia students completing a project-based unit, in which teamwork was anessential ingredient and immersed in an authentic context. Attributes gleaned fromthe literature for successful teamwork was used to compare the two diverse teams.Keywords: Teamwork, higher education, authentic environmentIntroductionWith the shift from a predominately instructivist to constructivist pedagogy the need fortertiary educators to use a variety of teaching strategies and methods is becoming increasinglyimportant. Learning designs need to incorporate student-centred team based learning pedagogysuch as project-based, case-based, inquiry-based and problem-based scenarios (Oliver, 2001).Students need to be immersed in learning environments that promote real learning in realcontexts. Teams and teamwork help to promote deep learning that occurs through interaction,problem solving, dialogue, cooperation and collaboration (Johnson & Johnson, 1995).These learning designs promote the construction of knowledge as they are embedded in asocial experience with a team environment (Vygotsky, 1978). Effective teamwork can affectthe successful delivery and implementation of these learning designs. Tertiary educatorscannot assume students will the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to create andcontribute to a synergistic team environment.Through a review of the literature, this paper identifies a range of attributes considerednecessary for successful teamwork. These are then used to compare two contrasting teamswith a view of confirming their validity through a case study.
HERDSA 2002 PAGE 641Attributes of Effective TeamworkTeamwork is defined by Scarnati (2001, p. 5) “as a cooperative process that allows ordinarypeople to achieve extraordinary results”. Harris & Harris (1996) also explain that a team has acommon goal or purpose where team members can develop effective, mutual relationships toachieve team goals. Teamwork replies upon individuals working together in a cooperativeenvironment to achieve common team goals through sharing knowledge and skills. Theliterature consistently highlights that one of the essential elements of a team is its focus