To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Personality traits, teamwork competencies and academic performance among first-year engineering students

Kuok Ho Daniel Tang (Department of Environmental Engineering, Curtin University of Technology–Sarawak Campus Malaysia, Miri, Malaysia)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Article publication date: 11 June 2020

Issue publication date: 27 April 2021

568

Abstract

Purpose

It is commonly believed that personality traits determine a person's ability to work in a team and academic performance. However, studies have shown inconsistent results with some personality traits better than the other in predicting students' performance in different academic majors. The purpose of this study is to examine the interrelation between personality traits, teamwork competencies and academic performance among first-year first semester engineering students in an Australian university located in the Sarawak state of Malaysia.

Design/methodology/approach

The Individual and Team Performance (ITP) metrics were administered among 189 students to gauge their personality traits as well as self-rated and peer-rated teamwork competencies. The correlations between personality traits and teamwork competencies as well as correlations of both the variables to academic performance were subsequently analyzed.

Findings

This study shows no significant difference between the self-rated and peer-rated teamwork competencies. Adventurous trait appears to negatively correlate with teamwork competencies. This study also reveals teamwork competencies as better predictors of academic performance than personality traits. Commitment and focus show relatively larger effect on academic performance. It can be concluded that commitment is the most significant factor to excel in first-year engineering in the university. Therefore, interventions that promote commitment is crucial to academic performance of the first-year first semester engineering students.

Practical implications

This study promulgates the development of team competencies which are more crucial to academic excellence than personalities. It is useful for the design of team learning activities which lead to the development of teamwork competencies while improving academic performance. It shows that team activities which reinforce commitment especially and focus secondarily, will have significant positive effect on academic performance of the first-year engineering students generally.

Originality/value

While most studies in this area examine the correlation between personality traits and academic performance, this study is among the very few that looks into the aspect of teamwork competencies. This study also finds its value in its regional significance as such correlational studies are not prevalent in Malaysia.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The author wishes to thank all the participants of this study for their time and effort to complete the surveys.

Citation

Tang, K.H.D. (2021), "Personality traits, teamwork competencies and academic performance among first-year engineering students", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 367-385. https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-11-2019-0153

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles