Publication Details

Sykes, C., Moerman, L., Gibbons, B. & Dean, B. Amelia. (2014). Re-viewing student teamwork: preparation for the 'real world' or bundles of situated social practices?. Studies in Continuing Education, 36 (3), 290-303.


Research in Australian business education continues to emphasise the importance of students learning teamwork as an integral part of the undergraduate curriculum. However, entrenched conceptual and practical confusion as to what the term 'teamwork' means and how it ought to be enacted remains a vexed issue capable of distorting and diminishing teamwork, learning and related pedagogy. In this paper, we critically re-examine the view that developing teamwork in an undergraduate business degree equips students for work in the real world. By focusing on the 'real world' metaphor-in-use in a cross-disciplinary business capstone subject, we interrogate the spatio-temporal dimensions of teamwork and its realist conceptions and performance. The research draws upon the perceptions of interviewed academics conducting teamwork activities in undergraduate business courses and the lived experiences of the authors. The findings highlight how the use of multiple models of teamwork, constructed by competing discourses and linked to the dualities and invocations constructed by 'the real world' metaphor, further exacerbate confusion. We suggest re-viewing and re-valuing student teamwork as the performance of situated, social practices opening new spaces for student teamwork, learning and pedagogical practice.

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