About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2197-2202
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.1489

Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain

HETEROGENEOUS TEAMS IN DESIGN EDUCATION: ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF DIVERSITY ON TEAMWORK THROUGH A CASE STUDY

F. Mattioli, M.O. Ingaramo

Politecnico di Milano (ITALY)
Both design education and design profession are recently witnessing to a shift in the way teamwork is organised. Collaborations are increasingly characterised by a multifaceted diversity among team members determining a deep change in their inner dynamics. From one side, the projects' complexity led to the rising importance of interdisciplinary teamwork, which is aimed at integrating various competencies and skills in the same group of people to better assess the issues at hand. Besides, in the last decades, several phenomena such as globalization, high mobility, and digital technologies are reducing geographical distances among people, thus enabling the organizations to foster cross-cultural collaborations.

Obviously, when interdisciplinary and cross-cultural characteristics intersect, the team presents a multifaceted diversity which necessarily influences the way teamwork is conducted. In our research, we define heterogeneous teams as those that are characterised by a wide range of different biases and low shared cognition, to provide a definition that holistically considers the presence of diversity among team members. Indeed, differences among team members are often assessed by authors in terms of different disciplines, approaches and sometimes cultural background, but they are rarely considered from a holistic point of view.

Since this shift is taking place in many fields, it is now fundamental to assess the impact of diversity on teamwork. Being educators in the design field we observed that heterogeneous teams’ dynamics are extremely relevant in the design process, where the team members must usually frame a wicked problem, create a new concept and detail an innovative idea. All these tasks imply a sufficient level of mutual understanding among team members, which cannot be taken for granted in heterogeneous teams. On the other hand, a high variety of viewpoints is enabling designers to gain a wider understanding of the issues at hand. The way these and other intrinsic characteristics of heterogeneous teams’ shape teamwork dynamics is still an unexplored field of inquiry.

The paper proposes a first assessment of the diversity effects on teamwork dynamics in the design education by presenting the case study of an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural master course. The course curricula are indeed designed to prepare the students to work in the field of architecture by integrating product design competences and vice versa, training them to the interdisciplinary design approach, which is an unavoidable condition in these work fields. Therefore, within the course, architects, industrial designers, and engineers from different geographical areas are continuously involved in heterogeneous teamwork.

The two main aims of the paper are hence to disclose some of the heterogeneous teams’ dynamics and, at the same time, to present our experience regarding the way heterogeneous design teams can be employed in higher education curricula. The assessment is supported by qualitative data collected from student’s interviews about heterogeneous team’s dynamics they experienced during the master course.

The discussion will contribute to the educational discourse by helping educators to understand heterogeneous teams’ dynamics to support at best design students while experiencing this kind of teamwork, which is identified and presented by the authors as a powerful educational method per se.
@InProceedings{MATTIOLI2018HET,
author = {Mattioli, F. and Ingaramo, M.O.},
title = {HETEROGENEOUS TEAMS IN DESIGN EDUCATION: ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF DIVERSITY ON TEAMWORK THROUGH A CASE STUDY},
series = {11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2018 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-05948-5},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2018.1489},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2018.1489},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {12-14 November, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {2197-2202}}
TY - CONF
AU - F. Mattioli AU - M.O. Ingaramo
TI - HETEROGENEOUS TEAMS IN DESIGN EDUCATION: ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF DIVERSITY ON TEAMWORK THROUGH A CASE STUDY
SN - 978-84-09-05948-5/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2018.1489
PY - 2018
Y1 - 12-14 November, 2018
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2018 Proceedings
SP - 2197
EP - 2202
ER -
F. Mattioli, M.O. Ingaramo (2018) HETEROGENEOUS TEAMS IN DESIGN EDUCATION: ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF DIVERSITY ON TEAMWORK THROUGH A CASE STUDY, ICERI2018 Proceedings, pp. 2197-2202.
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