2019 FYEE Conference

The influence of percentage of female or international students on the psychological safety of team

Presented at M2B: Learning in teams

This research paper investigates team composition affects psychological safety in first-year engineering teams.

Background: Psychological safety provides safe environment for team members to easily express their opinions and make decision without being worry about the consequences. Team composition can affect the psychological safety of teams and individual students. To promote a more inclusive classroom, faculty need advice on team formation strategies that lead to the optimum composition when the class includes gender diversity and international students.

Purpose/Hypothesis: We want to know how the individual’s perception of psychological safety and how it aggregates within their team. Design/Method: We categorized teams of a first-year engineering class based on the percent of female students in teams and conducted one-way ANOVA. We also used ANOVA to study the experience of international students.

Results: Teams with no female students had significantly higher psychological safety than teams with 50 percent female students. Also, teams with no international students had significantly higher psychological safety than teams with 50-67% international students.

Conclusions: Forming teams based on gender and citizenship can significantly affect the psychological safety of students in engineering teams, which gives hints to important team dynamics that instructors should watch for. Keywords Psychological safety, gender, international students, teamwork, team composition

  1. Dr. Matthew W. Ohland Orcid 16x16http://orcid.org/0000-0003-4052-1452 Purdue University at West Lafayette (COE) [biography]
  2. Dr. Daniel M. Ferguson Purdue University at West Lafayette (COE) [biography]
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