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Undergraduate perceptions of the development of team-working skills

Denise Jackson (Faculty of Business and Law, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia)
Ruth Sibson (Faculty of Business and Law, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia)
Linda Riebe (Faculty of Business and Law, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 4 February 2014




The ability to working effectively with others (WEWO) is critical yet industry continues to lament deficiencies in new graduates. Progress in developing this highly valued skill in undergraduates is impeded by a lack of conceptual clarity and evidence of how best to measure it, and a tendency to adopt an outcomes-focused, rather than process-oriented, approach. This paper aims to investigate undergraduate perceptions of how well a stand-alone employability skill development programme, operating in an Australian Business Faculty, is fostering the WEWO skill set and which pedagogical practices are considered to add most value.


The study examines undergraduate perceptions using data gathered from a skills audit of 799 business undergraduates from all four sequential units within the skills programme. Undergraduates rated and described their development against an established framework of WEWO behaviours.


Findings indicate that, overall, skill development is rated highly among the undergraduates although the behaviours of conflict resolution, social intelligence and influencing others were rated less highly than others within the skill set. The importance of class activities and assessment items, including the use of virtual learning tools were identified by students as critical to the development of WEWO behaviours.


The study highlights the important role of constructive alignment, sequential skill development, consistency of delivery and ensuring student “buy-in” to education practitioners in their efforts to meet industry expectations of graduates who can WEWO.



Jackson, D., Sibson, R. and Riebe, L. (2014), "Undergraduate perceptions of the development of team-working skills", Education + Training, Vol. 56 No. 1, pp. 7-20.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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