groups and teams

Tips for Students: Managing Conflict in Your Group

Though we hope that all projects will run smoothly and all team members will work together with positive and collegial attitudes, conflicts do occasionally arise as we work on projects with others. However, every conflict does not necessarily lead to a completely negative ending. How you, as an individual, handle the conflict can (and will) have an effect on the overall outcome of the situation. As your students work on their projects, they may appreciate some guidance that helps them deal with disagreements in a way that helps, rather than hinders, their progress. In Verbal Communication: Illustrated Read More…


Activity: Effectiveness of Text Messaging as a Communication Tool

Though often seen as a nuisance or distraction, text messaging does have its practical and worthwhile applications. For example: instead of trying to phone a colleague as you walk across a busy and noisy campus, you can send a simple message to say you’ll arrive at your meeting point in five minutes. Or, you can message your favorite store and, moments later, receive a coupon or a discount code. In education, text messaging can also be used as part of a mobile technology learning plan. Read More…


Tips for Students: How to Contribute Positively to a Team

If you’ve participated in a group or team of any sort, you recognize that each individual’s efforts either add to or detract from the group’s success. (You probably have some stories that testify to this experience as well!) Though some positive and negative traits may be readily identifiable, those who are new to group work—or those who want to improve the quality of their contributions—may be seeking some direction regarding the individual attitudes and behaviors that lead to better team performance and increased camaraderie. In Industrial/Organizational Psychology: An Applied Approach, Seventh Edition, Michael G. Aamodt offers Read More…


Activity: Speaking Up in Group Situations

When working on a project, each member of a team typically works toward reaching consensus on the decisions that need to be made. Furthermore, most people want to minimize the opportunity for conflict, which can make meetings uncomfortable and ultimately distract a team from its overall aims. Unfortunately, at times, this desire to avoid conflict supersedes people’s willingness to challenge a popular idea, because they fear that raising their concerns will brand them as “troublemakers” and disrupt the unity they’d worked so hard to achieve. As Cindy Griffin and Jennifer Emerling Bone state in their text Invitation to Human Communication, group members should “…remember Read More…


Preparing Students for Collaboration in the Workplace

Professionals in any field must have a strong handle on the skills, expertise, and knowledge that their work requires. However, if you have top-notch training or razor-sharp insights, but you don’t speak cogently or treat others with respect, it’s difficult to develop smooth-running work relationships or persuade others to see the value you have to offer to a project or team. Therefore, it pays to develop the soft skills that enable you to function well in groups and teams formed at work or within other organizations. In this video, Cengage Learning author Jeff Butterfield describes why he believes Read More…


Leading Virtual Teams

If you teach online courses, you may create assignments that require students to collaborate on projects in a technology-mediated setting. It’s also possible that, at some point, you yourself will need to lead a group of people that are based in a variety of locations, many miles apart from one another. If your group needs to meet on a regular basis, you probably won’t all fly to one site for every meeting; most of the time, you will probably conduct your meetings via telephone or the Internet. In a similar vein, much of your regular communication will Read More…


Building an Effective Team

At various points in your career, others will likely call upon you to lead a team in an effort to accomplish a specific goal. Your team’s goal might represent a major endeavor, such as a fundraising effort to construct a new building. In other instances, you may be tasked with accomplishing a more modest goal like organizing a department party or selecting a new vendor for your office supplies. Some of your teams may have a lifespan of a few months, whereas others may stay together for several years. Regardless of the team’s specific objectives, certain skills and principles Read More…


Success Strategies for Teamwork in the Online Setting

Group assignments teach students far more than simply what they glean from the research they conduct and the project they complete. Astute students will also learn important lessons about communicating clearly, establishing plans and schedules, and collaborating in a proactive and positive manner. They may also hone their leadership skills along the way. Students taking online courses gain the additional benefit of learning to work with others in technology-mediated settings. They’ll find that the skills that they gain from collaborating online will prove highly useful, especially if they take positions within today’s multi-locational companies and organizations, which rely heavily on Read More…


Learning from Fellow Students: Creating a Study Group

Do you encourage students to form study groups to learn from one another outside of class? What have you seen work best in these peer learning circles to facilitate progress? Share with us in the comments section below. We’ve written about the benefits of peer-to-peer learning before, but learning from fellow students can extend beyond course assignments–the benefits of working with peers certainly does. In On Course: Strategies for Creating Success in College and in Life, Skip Downing describes how starting a study group can encourage students to be more invested in course content by interacting more Read More…


Develop Team Skills in Introduction to Accounting Courses

For more than two decades, employers have criticized the writing, oral communication, interpersonal, and teamwork skills of new college hires. As a result accounting professionals and educators have advocated that greater attention be given to skill or personal competency development in the accounting curriculum. In its Core Competency Framework, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) identified interaction as one of the key personal competencies, stating that accounting professionals must be able to work with others to accomplish objectives. The Institute of Management Accountants’ practice analysis (1999, 5) found that team participation and leadership was increasing. The report noted that more than 70 percent of management accountants work in companies where at least some management accountants serve on cross-functional teams. And the first position statement issued by the Accounting Education Change Commission (1990, 7) identified the ability to work with others, particularly in groups, as one of the capabilities needed by accounting graduates. These three documents echoed the accounting profession’s plea for enhanced team skills. As a result many business schools and accounting programs have introduced pedagogical changes into their curriculums. This article focuses on ways to enhance the development of students’ team or group skills.
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