Student Project Teams: Understanding Team Process through an Examination of Leadership Practices and Team Culture

Student-led project-based teams are widely used by faculty but do we really understand the process that students experience as a result of participating in a team? This study sought to understand the team process by examining leadership practices exhibited by assigned leaders and their team culture. Using a mixedmethods case study design it was found that students perceived team leaders to be strongest in the leadership practice-enable others to act described as fostering collaboration and sharing power and weakest in the leadership practice-encourage the heart described as recognizing individual contributions and celebrating team successes. Two of the teams were identified as a clan culture and the third team was determined to be a market culture. It was recommended that instructors who use teams to enrich learning examine the relationship between specific team cultures and enhanced team performance.