Facilitating formation of shared mental models in interdisciplinary graduate student teams
by Kacey Beddoes; Maura Borrego
International Journal of Collaborative Engineering (IJCE), Vol. 1, No. 3/4, 2014

Abstract: Interdisciplinary teamwork is increasingly integrated into graduate programmes, despite numerous challenges arising from traditional disciplinary organisational structures. This paper presents a comparative case study of two interdisciplinary graduate teams at different US institutions. At both sites, team projects span multiple years and become the basis for students' dissertations. We describe how programmatic variables such as team formation, orientation activities and dissertation research support or discourage formation of shared mental models and ultimately influence team effectiveness and student satisfaction. Rather than provide a set of best practices, this paper presents considerations for academics designing an interdisciplinary graduate programme, based on their interdisciplinary domain, constituent disciplines and goals for students.

Online publication date: Fri, 11-Jul-2014

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