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Investigating Shared Leadership in Undergraduate Capstone Design Teams
Novoselich, Brian John
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Leadership is an area of increasing interest for the engineering profession. Strategic documents assert the need for engineers to take more prominent leadership roles to better inform complex policy decisions. Engineering leadership scholars assert, however that adequate models of how engineers lead do not exist and that traditional leadership models are contrary to the collaborative norms of engineering practice. To address this gap in engineering leadership literature, this dissertation develops a model of how engineering students lead in team-based design project environments, an example of the collaborative environment that is commonplace in engineering practice. This quantitative study used a combination of round-robin (360-degree) survey data and course grades to examine the Full Range of Leadership within mechanical engineering-centric capstone design teams. Using a combination of cluster analyses, social network analyses, and regression analyses in a three manuscript approach, this dissertation 1) validated a Mechanical Engineering capstone version of the Full Range of Leadership, 2) determined the degree of shared leadership within the teams and how to classify teams based on their degree of shared leadership, and 3) related shared leadership to both team effectiveness and team attributes. The study resulted in a shared leadership model for engineering design teams. The model represents leadership as a three-form, shared phenomenon within teams. The amount of leadership within the team relates positively to both the group process and satisfaction measures of team effectiveness, but not to task performance. This relationship is moderated by the distribution of leadership, indicating that a limited amount of shared leadership may be more effective. Selected team attributes are related to the degree of shared leadership within the teams. The results broaden our conceptualization of leadership beyond an individual phenomenon, making it a shared phenomenon that is an integral component of design teamwork as it relates to design team effectiveness.
- Doctoral Dissertations