Different Attitudes Toward Teamwork and Individual Work Among Students

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Table of Contents

  • Research Problem
  • Significance of Research
  • Novelty/Contribution of Research
  • Research Purpose
  • Methodology

From the work of Delarue(2008) there is a great deal of proof that adopting team structures results many benefits on organizational performance, organizational outcomes. Organizations which use teams as a practice in everyday operations or in a management system, for improving outcomes started to look employees who have teamwork skills. This approaches have resulted teamwork as an important tool in every organization’s performance. Because of this, universities, institutions of higher education are constructing academic programs in which prepares students to be an effective and competitive team members for future. As Freeman (1996) argued, students in education centers, on projects, on programs, in activities are required to work in teams in order to be prepared for new working environment. Moreover in any industry employees must able to be male interaction with others, communication skill is required in every vacant position.

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Suleyman Demirel university (SDU) as a university that has a good authority, it also practices, for more than a year, the work of students in a team. In order to become more competitive in educational area, the university is focused on keeping abreast of new trends. Numerous design work, protection of new projects and their implementation, all this is mainly given as a task for the team. Firstly, meaning of the term teamwork. It is defined in Scarnati’s (2001, p. 5) work “as a cooperative process that allows ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results”.New ideas emerge through brainstorming and decision making process. Biech (2001) is described teamwork as a group of people who interdependent to each other and have similar aims. He state that the more teamwork bring the less chance of missing something. Secondly, an overview of literature shows that all topics have described, all researches are discussed teamwork as success tool of organization or it’s positive relationship between organization’s performance. The well doing teamwork process has a great beneficial effect towards organizational structure and outcomes (Delarue 2008). At the same time team members improve their personal data: they become more self-confident, additionally more leadership qualities appear. Individuals work collectively and jointly to achieve one goal, and today, the importance of joint and effective work is noted more than once. Educational institutions prepare students who can be strong team players. This is not only high reproducibility, but also an excellent branch for achieving the level of demand with respect to time, quality, quantity and performance.

The last related topic to this study is attitudes of team members toward teamworks. Adams et al. (2002), in their study for understanding team effectiveness highlighted seven characteristics as the main tools that should exist in the effective team. These characteristics are following: productive problem solving, communication, task clarity, mutual interdependence, setting clear goals, mutual aims and psychological or moral safety. It was concluded that this characteristics is actually, combined from attitudes of team members. E.Pfaff and P.Huddleston (2016) revealed that student attitudes toward teamwork is forecasted by grades,projects worked on as a team,class time dedicated to group work, use of peer evaluations,free rider problem. Ruiz Ulloa and Adams (2004) showed when students develop mature communication, accountable interdependence, psychological safety, common purpose and clear understanding of what their role is when working in teams, their team experience will support a better attitude toward working in teams. In every case teamwork student attitudes should to be considered because it has direct relationship in developing teamwork skills.

Research Problem

Above the advantages of teamwork written previously, there some issues and problems that group work may cause. McCorkle (et al. 1999) says that, when duties are distributed among the participants, they can only work on their own part, without being carried away or interested in another part of the project. The main task of teamwork is effective work, the coverage of the material quickly and efficiently. However, many students only know their part, and this is unlikely to reflect well on their real knowledge. An unfair distribution of responsibilities, personal qualities, an individual attitude to tasks, to teamwork, can lead to big problems. The attitude of students to work, motivation as estimates, preferences for the format of training, methods of teachers, team longevity, all this directly affects the final result of teamwork. (Chalupa, M., Sormunen, C., & Charles, 1997)

These works prove that not always teamwork brings only a positive effect, and one bad experience can harm both the teacher and the student. Even if some students view teamwork as effective and successful for their future career, others are not sure about their value, believing that often that there are mismatching with theories and practice in real life. Most of team works carried out while you at university, but it also may face total disinterest in real life. (James, McInnis, & Devlin, 2002, p. 49).

Ulloa and Adams (2004) state, results of encouraging teamwork shown that student agree with term that teamwork bring comparative benefits and advantages, but still, personally they prefer to do work by own. Most of negative attitudes towards teamwork came from previous failed experience (Krug, 1997; Ulloa & Adams, 2004).

SDU also has students who would like to work individually rather in team. The reasons might be different: past failures, shy personality, fearness, laziness. Therefore, it is open problem for university. The problem identified here is quite transparent and simple to understand. Students have a different attitude towards teamwork, which in turn manifests itself in a negative or positive mood to work.

Significance of Research

The ability to work in a team today is highly valued by society. Teamwork has many advantages, both for the company and for the personal growth or development of each employee. Because of this, we are trying to find and understand the reasons why students work alone and is it correct to work alone. What are the positive and negative aspects of working individually? Some of the people consider themselves self-sufficient and prefer to do job on their own. Individuals may not interested in teamwork because of the other colleagues, with simple reason that they will destroy their comfort zone. What is the problem here? How to be to people who prefer to work individually than in a team?

Teamwork is increasingly being used to promote learning with students in post secondary classrooms and study areas such as management, business, health, information technology, communication and media studies (Create, 2001). Nevermind for a long or short term process, the problem with people who prefer work alone always have a place in society. However, the difference between the team is that it always has its own internal goals related to the development of the team as a whole and each of its members personally. Therefore, working with other people bring new ideas, another point of view related to the problem. Sometimes, the disagreements in team may face even better outcome than expected. Additionally, this requires people with their position, ready to defend and disagree. Therefore, what about people who do not know how to work in a team? Do they have a negative impact on the team as a whole. When someone from the team can not follow the common goals. The same problem exists in the SDU, everyone is trying to show how important it is to be a team arrange team building all sorts of projects but this method of training is not so effective for everyone. This research will try to find a solutions to these problems.

The results of this study will be useful for students, universities, educational institutes who believe that teamwork plays an important role today. The rapid growth of the multimedia development industry calls attention to the need for keeping up to date with training and skill development, as commitment, determination and the ability to work as part of a team are essential attributes required at all levels of employment (Create, 2001) Among employers, students who have the opportunity to work in a team are well evaluated. However, higher education is envied, as SDU forget about students who have a different attitude to teamwork. According to the results of this study, higher education institutions will be able to better teach students. Administrators will be guided by what should be emphasized by teachers in the program to enhance student teamwork. Research will help them identify critical areas of the educational process that many researchers have not been able to explore. Thus, you can come to a new theory of interaction that will help to better understand students who do not want to work in a team. This research can help to understand and explore new horizons of team working process to one’s, who embarrassing to be team player.

Novelty/Contribution of Research

The difference of this study is that in previous works more common is characteristics of effective team were considered. Ruiz Ulloa and Adams (2004) showed that seven characteristics important for a team effectiveness, there is a positive relationship between the characteristics for effective teams and students’ attitude toward teamwork. At the same time E.Pfaff and P.Huddleston (2016) revealed that student attitudes toward teamwork is forecasted by grades,projects worked on as a team,class time to group work, use of peers and their evaluations, free rider problem. Existing works do not make researches related to different kind of attitudes that students have. They do not identified exact psychological, social and physical attitudes of students toward team works. On the basis of this study it is going to be demonstrated how instructors take into account student attitudes. Besides,make suggestions to instructors who wish to practice positive experiences for students.

Research Purpose

The purpose of this study is to determine what kind of attitudes do students have toward teamwork from different aspects and does it taken into account in team – buildings by instructors.

Due to the rapid growing demand for graduates who are effective and constructive team workers for many years, educational institutions around the world already integrated group projects in academic program. Pedagogues, advisers, teachers regularly assign student team projects to improve and increase their learning skills, soft skills related to content and teamwork (Chapman et al., 2010). In this way, research in the field of teamwork develops mainly in educational and pedagogical research areas (Chapman and Van Auken, 2001; Curran et al., 2008; Deeter-Schmelz et al., 2002; McCorkle et al., 1999; Pfaff and Huddleston, 2003; Willis et al., 2003). The teamwork of organizing activities is one of effective forms of organization of management activities that have become widespread in countries with developed democracies in many spheres of human activity, including education. In the early days, the concept of a “team approach” was formed in management (Eva Imania Eliasa et al., 2014)

John Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith consider that “a team is a small group of people with interchangeable skills and driven by the desire to achieve a single goal, production objectives, for the implementation of which they consider each other mutually responsible ‘ ( Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith, 2005). Based on Aizen and Fishbane (1997), people’s attitudes determine future behavior. In-depth study and definition of the system of attitudes towards teamwork helps us determine future behavior associated with teamwork. According to Chapman and Van Auken (2001), attitude to teamwork is important because: “high productive teamwork needs team members to recognize the team as a whole and as an attractive and interesting work process”(p. 118). Research claims that student collaboration skills have potential and importance to influence future team preferences (Bacon et al., 1999). Ruiz Ulloa and Adams (2003) research 188 students in eight different fields of specialty and identified that the characteristics of teamwork influence the attitude towards teamwork and their effectiveness. They claim that when students develop and show polite communication, responsible interdependence, moral protection, common purpose and a clear understanding of their role in teams, its experience will foster and maintain a better attitude to teamwork in the future. Based on Chapman and Van Auken (2001) if teachers, curators or instructors understand the essence of students, what motivates them and what factors are significant, then using this knowledge they can cast on their attitudes towards teamwork.

Therefore, our first research question: What are student of SDU attitudes toward teamwork? Team projects are supposed to increase student motivation, core subject knowledge and practice deep and critical thinking processes, the basics of communication, understanding the rules of group decisions and participation in them, as well as the exchange of ideas and work skills. (Johnson et al., 1991). While a team is a union of personalities where favorable conditions for true self-expression and personal development. Each team member discovers and realizes his “I”, acquires a certain identity, his own individuality. The individuality of the student, the future specialist, team member is determined by the position in society, the duties and functions of the student studying in a higher educational institution (Deeter-Schmelz et al., 2002).

Despite the positive effects of teamwork, some researchers propose that there are differences among students attitude and preferences regarding to performing some academic projects in a team (Chapman and Van Auken, 2001; Freeman and Greenacre, 2011). Generally, students recognize and accept the potential benefits of the teamwork process but still prefer to work individually by themselves (Ruiz Ulloa and Adams, 2003). In another case, according to Gottschall and Bayonas (2008) paperwork, 1,249 undergraduates of business administration and mathematics education in USA were studied toward their attitude to teamwork. They identified that a third of students prefer to work alone and individually. The main reason to work alone among these students were existence of free-riders and difficulties in coordination of schedules.

Studies show that even the initial period, when team members are lapping to each other, can be quite lengthy. Some time is also required before searching for an appropriate form of collaboration (Chapman and Van Auken, 2001). Another disadvantage of team work is that students are concerned that grades for general work may be distributed unfairly, and their share of work may be minimized. The presence of free-riders and social idleness greatly alarming not only students but teachers as well, because knowledge is always a priority (Aggarwal and O’Brien, 2008). In a practical survey, Pfaff and Huddleston (2003) explore 70 students of the Faculty of Economics, namely, students of management and marketing in a large American university. They determined that the attitude of the students to the teamwork directly depends on their anxiety about the assessment, on the complexity of the task or project, on the amount of time for the project and on the availability of a freerider. The authors propose to use reasonable workloads for students and the correct distribution of tasks for students. Similar works took place in America, under the supervision of Chapman and Van Auken (2001). They interviewed and made a questionnaire for more than 1,500 students from 32 higher educational institutions to identify their attitude to teamwork. The majority showed a positive attitude, as it emphasized the advantages for students in the form of improved communication, a deep understanding of knowledge, and work with other personalities. Despite all the advantages, their main priorities were evaluations and they were concerned about them. Therefore students worry about equal distribution of grades and that other member’s ow productivity may reduce the performance rating of all participants. Nejati et al. (2010) in a discussion about teamwork limitations propose that the system or mechanism of working process in team, did not defined well so there are appearance of such problems. This leads to our second question:

What is the level of SDU students concern about teamwork evaluation and what are their perceptions of the environmental conditions for teamwork? Many scholars agree that designing the learning environment is very important for students as well as providing all opportunities for better education (Fisher, 2005). Lizio et al. (2010) show that students’ approach of their university learning environment is a strong predictor of learning outcomes.According to McGowen (2007) research, there are the high level of significance and influence between facility condition and educational outcomes including student academic achievement, discipline, attendance, involvement to project, teacher turnover rate, etc. Studies show that the success of team work depends more on not only the effort of an instructor or teacher, but also requires initiative from the administration of higher educational institutions (Hillyard et al., 2010).


In order to answer research questions of this work the approach was to use quantitative method. Data collection design was to construct or to find out questionnaire (survey) which has an idea about attitudes toward teamwork. Respondents are SDU students since research aim is to make analysis of their teamwork attitudes. To obtain research sample there were no any special criteria in selecting respondents..Survey was send by social network to students and we wait their answers. The sample students are from all four departments, including business school,engineering, law and social sciences. 112 survey answers were collected and out of 112 surveys 108 were useable for the data analysis. Survey included questions about gender, age, faculty, course and major. Students were also asked whether they had received teamwork training at university or not. Survey resulted that all respondents are students studying in 1-3 courses under the undergraduate program with a mean age of 19.07 years.

Overall, this study showed that students of the SDU have a positive attitude towards teamwork. How students an important aspect of teamwork is that all team members must match each other. Each participant should positively influence the team and not negatively. Such news can be good for future employers, because with the right direction participance of the research can be very good team players and this will help them in future work place. The most important part for students in all team work is how work will be distributed between participants and how their personal work will be evaluated. It is also very important for students to feel that their work has a positive effect on the group. They are extremely concerned that some participants can carry negative rather than positive. Each student works differently, someone do their work with smiling and positive, and some students are more pessimistic and their attitude to work greatly influences group work.

Also Chapman and Van Auken (2001) mentions that how work evaluation influences show how a person relates to teamwork. Accordingly, if the responsibilities in the team are properly divided, and each participant receives a share of satisfaction for the work done by themselves, then the attitude to the group work is positive. Students are also concerned that the university does not properly support teamwork. Students believe that if the university devoted more time to group work, giving them a place where they would spend time with the team, have a good effect on the positive attitude of students to teamwork. Also, if teachers encouraged such things as teamwork, it would also motivate students. Since the university is trying to prepare students for real life as much as possible, but in real life, the skills to get along with each other and to work as a team as a one mechanism is an important aspect, which means that the university management and the administration need to pay attention to this.

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