Duty, Dennis J. and Analoui, Bejan David (2016) Students' experience of Working in Diverse Engineered Groups: Panacea or Pandora's Box? In: University Forum for Human Resource Development, 8th -10th June 2016, Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

Group work has been widely adopted in business schools and is lauded for having various pedagogic merits. Yet there is considerable debate as to how to best form groups to achieve benefits while mitigating difficulties.
Within this paper we examine the use of an engineered group allocation method for student groups undertaking a yearlong group project within a second year undergraduate research methods module. We address two primary research questions:
1. What were students’ experiences of the engineered group experience?
2. What impact did the group allocation method have on students’ learning?
We undertook in-depth semi-structured interviews (n=22) lasting between 15 to 47 minutes. All
students who undertook the module were invited to participate in the research. The interviews were
transcribed and a thematic analysis was performed.
While prior work has highlighted the problems of free-riding we provide an analysis of phenomenon
we have termed forced-riding. Forced-riding captures the phenomenon in which students are excluded from contributing, or force others not to contribute. We argue that this is rational behaviour, and can be in part attributed to the heterogeneity resulting from the engineered allocation method.
The central value of this paper is that it gives priority to student voice, highlighting the manner in
which students’ perceive their group working experiences. We conclude the paper with the presentation of a matrix of variable contribution. To our best knowledge, this is the first presentation of such a matrix, and we contend that it has value for a range of stakeholders.

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