Doctor of Engineering (DEng)


Engineering Science

Document Type



The objective of this research is to examine the variables that influence performance effectiveness on individual and collaborative problem solving. The last few years have seen renewed interest in how team member personal characteristics and team composition characteristics impact team effectiveness.

Even with a growing quantity of organizations performing jobs by using groups, little is understood how people included in a team impact intragroup interaction and results. Most research investigates group’s performance based on a single characteristic which causes much confusion and contradictory results of the variables that impact overall group performance. Most research typically does not analyze the composition of individual-member characteristics (e.g., learning styles, dependency, and working memory capacity). There are few investigations in the literature that assess the connection between individual characteristics and collaborative problem-solving abilities.

This research explored the effect of individual characteristics of learning styles, dependency, and working memory capacity on both individual problem-solving and collaborative problem solving. For individual problem solving, learning style and dependency interaction affected accuracy while working memory alone affected accuracy. For collaborative problem solving, the three-way interaction of all three characteristics impacted accuracy. Interactions between dependency and working memory and learning style and working memory impacted group performance time.

The results of this study may be used by government agencies and industry in job design and employment placement. Assessing the individual characteristics of employees will help the employees to see all those things that are not so obvious in the interview. It makes them one step closer to identifying the right person for the position. In addition, to have their CVs, experiences, and education, some individual characteristics tests (i.e. learning style, dependency, and working memory) may provide more information important for team members. If employers can pair individuals correctly based on their characteristics, they might be able to decrease conflicts and improve collaboration between employees.



Committee Chair

Harvey, Craig