Pharmacy Practice Faculty Publications

Title

Evaluation of Changes in Teamwork Perceptions After Experiencing a Diverse Team

Document Type

Abstract

Publication Date

6-2014

Journal Title

American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Volume

78

Issue

5

First Page

96

Last Page

97

Article Number

111

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.5688/ajpe785111

Abstract

Objectives: Working in teams during professional school prepares students for collaborating with future team members. The objective is to evaluate whether attitudes and perceptions of working on a team change over the course of a semester.

Method: To achieve diversity among the teams, P1 and P2 students were assigned to teams based on demographics (i.e., ethnicity and gender), personality type, and StrengthsFinder® data. Students were surveyed prior to the start of fall semester (when teams were announced) as well as prior to the spring semester. The survey (15 items, 5-point Likert-type, strongly agree-strongly disagree) assessed attitudes and perceptions of working in teams as well as the optimal team diversity. Descriptive statistics and paired t-tests were performed using SPSS v.21.0, with α=0.05 for statistical significance.

Results: Students at two universities (P1=122, P2=114) completed the assessments. Student perceptions significantly changed on 7 of 15 questions (p<0.05), and there were no differences between universities. As the semester progressed, more students were unsure or agreed that working in teams consisting of different learning styles (65%) or personality types (68%) improved interpersonal communication. Students also were more likely to agree or strongly-agree that teams can produce excellent outcomes (82%). Furthermore, students were more likely to disagree that they had to assume more work in a team setting (86%).

Implications: Understanding the different characteristics that encompass a successfully functioning group can help in designing effective teams. Working in diverse teams can improve team functioning and alter student perceptions and attitudes towards teamwork.

Keywords

Teamwork, teamwork perceptions, pharmacy students