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Essential Teamwork Skills: Perspectives of Environmental Geoscience Employers
  • Samuel Nyarko,
  • Heather Petcovic
Samuel Nyarko
Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Heather Petcovic
Western Michigan University
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Geoscience employers have increasingly called for the future workforce (students) to demonstrate competence in non-technical skills, including teamwork. This descriptive qualitative study contributes to ongoing efforts to identify the specific practices, skills, habits, and knowledge that make up these desired teamwork competencies in the geosciences. We collected data from three online focus group discussions centered around teamwork. Focus group participants were hydrogeology and environmental geology employers and team managers from government, private industry, and non-profit organizations in the United States. Using the Marks et al. (2001) teamwork taxonomy model as our conceptual framework, we generated three categories of teamwork skills specific to environmental geoscience teams. First, our data indicate that these employers value team transition skills related to specifying goals, interpreting team tasks, identifying resources, and planning. The second category of desired teamwork competencies included action skills such as metacognition, coordination and mentoring. These skills directly impact successful task completion. The third category captured interpersonal skills such as emotional intelligence, proactive communication, and organization. A fourth category of desired teamwork competencies emerged from data analysis and include ethical skills related to trust, integrity and humility. This study provides a detailed description of teamwork competencies desired by environmental geoscience employers and suggests implications for how to prepare students for this workforce.