Newcastle University Business School Teamworking Workshop – Post-Delivery Review.


The Newcastle University Business School asked Interdigitate to support the development of their current MBA student cohort. The challenges included:

  • A mixture of motivation levels.
  • Varied working styles.
  • Divergence of background and culture leading to conflict.
  • Concerns over the quality of interpersonal relationships.
  • Students working together cohesively.

The University recognised that developing team working skills would have a positive practical application in the student’s future workplace, but that they also needed to create a safe space for students to practise their skills.

The Approach

Interdigitate designed and delivered a full day teamworking workshop, team profiling exercise and post workshop coaching seminar to 40 students.

Working closely with the leadership and lecture team at the University, Interdigitate began with an observation of classroom dynamics. This allowed an impartial assessment of student dynamics to take place and informed the course build process.

The workshop consisted of two groups of 20 students, who were taken through a series of team-based activities which were supported by theory, reflective learning, and discussions. The day challenged students to think about their approach to team working, personal presentation and the responsibility they have towards others.

Activities combined a mixture of timebound, taxing and competitive exercises designed to stretch and test the student’s application of taught teamwork theory.

With a strong emphasis on communication skills, content was interspersed with videos that showed the challenges of communication and the importance psychological safety. The day also included activities to illustrate that different perspectives aren’t necessarily wrong perspectives. Student reflections were captured at key stages of the workshop, with opportunities to complete their learning log – a key part of the MBA course.

Towards the end of the workshop, students completed an online survey to assess the strength of their team-based relationships. The results from this assessment were combined with sentiment analysis of the student’s reflective statements to create the foundation of the post-workshop coaching seminar.

The seminars challenged students to reflect on their workshop learning and the application of that learning in their academic environment. This created the basis of a forum to discuss how such learning could translate into a future workplace.

The workshop was aligned with the AMBA MBA Accreditation Criteria.


The facilitation team identified a range of learning amongst the students that extended beyond the taught content. This was captured throughout the day and during the coaching seminar.

Facilitators observed:

  • Students understanding that leadership really mattered but teamwork was more intricate than just being a strong leader.
  • Quieter students building in confidence throughout the day.
  • Some students who didn’t consider themselves to be leaders discovering their own talents – demonstrating natural,
  • considered, involving and caring styles.
  • Individual negative behaviours starting to be managed within the teams.
  • Positive competitiveness, developing in a way that was team-focussed (we can all win).
  • Less confident team members being supported by peers.
  • Participants “stepping away” to reconsider their approaches when they realised that things were not going to plan.

In the Coaching Seminar, students identified:

  • They were practicing the techniques from the workshop.
  • Getting more involved in team working.
  • Feeling more confident.
  • Able to consider their personal impact.
  • More comfortable challenging inappropriate behaviours.
  • Finding it easier to move between teams.
  • Can’t always make the expert the leader.

Student Feedback

At the end of the workshop and during the coaching seminars feedback was collated from the students regarding the value of the course. Circa 50% of the cohort responded to the online post-workshop survey and a similar percentage of the cohort attended the seminars. The sentiment of these respondents was positive, scoring the workshop 4.6/5.

100% said that workshop had given them something positive to apply to their ongoing learning.

A sample of student feedback includes:

  • “It was very engaging, and I learnt a lot about myself.”
  • “It gave me a new perspective about how I relate to different people I interface with.”
  • “I’m normally reluctant to lead, but the workshop gave me the confidence to try, to step up when I need to.”
  • “The workshop has helped us to recognise what we need to do to come together to succeed.”
  • “We are working harder to understand and look after each other now.”
  • “The workshop changed my perspective on how I relate to other people.”
  • “I know I am competitive, so are other people in the group, I need to think about how that comes together.”
  • “Peer relationships are about being nice to each other; I have to change [adapt] for professional relationships.”
  • “I have become more conscious of my skills and my weaknesses.”
  • “I can now deal with the cultural conflicts I see.”

Find out more

If you are interested in setting up teamworking workshops in your organisation, be that for students, staff or leaders of any level in any sector please get in touch.

We work with education, including higher education and academy trusts, customer service teams, manufacturers, primary care in the NHS, NHS and local authority health and social care, digital experts and across the third/ CIC sector.

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