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Springerplus. 2013 Dec;2(1):16. doi: 10.1186/2193-1801-2-16. Epub 2013 Jan 19.

The influence of personality and ability on undergraduate teamwork and team performance.

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San Jose State University, One Washington Square, San Jose, CA 95192-0087 USA.


The ability to work effectively on a team is highly valued by employers, and collaboration among students can lead to intrinsic motivation, increased persistence, and greater transferability of skills. Moreover, innovation often arises from multidisciplinary teamwork. The influence of personality and ability on undergraduate teamwork and performance is not comprehensively understood. An investigation was undertaken to explore correlations between team outcomes, personality measures and ability in an undergraduate population. Team outcomes included various self-, peer- and instructor ratings of skills, performance, and experience. Personality measures and ability involved the Five-Factor Model personality traits and GPA. Personality, GPA, and teamwork survey data, as well as instructor evaluations were collected from upper division team project courses in engineering, business, political science, and industrial design at a large public university. Characteristics of a multidisciplinary student team project were briefly examined. Personality, in terms of extraversion scores, was positively correlated with instructors' assessment of team performance in terms of oral and written presentation scores, which is consistent with prior research. Other correlations to instructor-, students' self- and peer-ratings were revealed and merit further study. The findings in this study can be used to understand important influences on successful teamwork, teamwork instruction and intervention and to understand the design of effective curricula in this area moving forward.


The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/2193-1801-2-16) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


Ability; Big five personality model; Capstone course; Five-factor personality model; Teamwork instruction

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