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Distributed Tactical Decisionmaking: Conceptual Framework and Empirical Results

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5 Author(s)

A psychologically oriented conceptual framework of distributed tactical decisionmaking (DTDM) that is applicable to decision environments such as a future Naval Battle Group /Force operating with a flexible and reconfigurable command and control system in a multithreat environment is proposed. The conceptual framework distinguishes between individual, group, process-control, and task-level input factors; characteristics of the group's interaction process; and various outcome variables. The critical assumption underlying the framework is that the interaction process mediates the influence of input factors on performance outcomes. Four intervening variables are proposed as important mediators of group process and performance in distributed environments: cognitive model similarity and consistency, incentives for cooperation, control over division of labor and resources, and task complexity. The adequacy of the first three intervening variables and the larger conceptual framework were tested in an initial experiment. The experiment provided support for the underlying assumption in general, and the incentives for cooperation mediating variable in particular. Moreover, the experiment demonstrated the importance of a multitrait-multimethod measurement approach, for a focus on information flow efficiency alone would not have uncovered the importance of voluntary cooperation, a behavioral process variable, to group performance. Implications for future research are discussed.

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Systems, Man and Cybernetics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:16 ,  Issue: 6 )