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Teams, Computer Modeling, and Design

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5 Author(s)

This paper presents selected findings from a three-year research project that was funded by the Human Sciences domain of the U.K. Ministry of Defence's scientific research program. A significant number of military systems are operated by teams of varying sizes, and there is a trend toward greater teamwork in the future, as technological advances enable enhanced cooperation between geographically distributed personnel. The need to be able to determine the most appropriate team structure for the most effective performance is becoming greater. The approach that is presented here has taken theoretical concepts from the team performance literature, developed them into an enhanced theoretical formulation, operationalized them, selected representative tradeoff criteria, and implemented them using a computer-modeling tool. The program that was undertaken was able to demonstrate that operationalizing team structure and team-performance-shaping factors in specific behavioral terms in this way has immense potential to generate quantitative output, allowing meaningful comparisons among design or operational alternatives. In addition, the discipline of the operationalization process provides a means for enriching theoretical concepts by grounding them in realistic behavioral terms, and this can lead to enhanced theorizing. Furthermore, once the initial data are collected and the model is built, modification is neither labor nor time intensive. The approach could be developed further to apply to many more team structure and performance concepts. We believe that this will enhance both the theory and the value of team-structure modeling for practical application in system design in the future.

Published in:

Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Part A: Systems and Humans, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:37 ,  Issue: 6 )