Assessing team performance

Much of my work is focused around issues of team performance. How to design training for team performance, and how to assess team performance. Regarding the question of how to assess team performance I have now a new publication to share. It was recently published in the journal Cognition, Technology and Work and continues the work that was published in a previous paper (the one published in the Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management). Please see my publication page for the full references. The new publication presents the results from a study made by the student Hanna Palmqvist at our master program in Risk Management Engineering. I, together with my Brazilian colleague Eder Henriqson, supervised Hanna in her work to develop a protocol for assessing team performance and test it in a pilot study. You might think that there must be several protocols for assessing team performance out there, and that is true. The problem is however that they are all based on behavioristic and motivational assumptions that we would like to get away from. So what Hanna has done is to use the theories developed within the paradigm of joint cognitive systems. This paradigm offers a new approach for how to view team performance and team cognition as spread out among all the agents involved in the work activity (you can find more about the difference between the different paradigms in our recent conference publication, downloadable from the publication section).

The method that Hanna developed builds on our previous conclusion that there is a linkage between team coordination and control of the task. Taking that as an assumption the developed performance assessment protocol builds on an operationalization of Hollnagels four modes of contextual control (called the contextual control model, COCOM). By identifying observable indicators of the control modes the protocol is used to map the team's level of control for any given time interval. The participants' own experience of the activity is, together with observations by an outside observer, taken into the calculation of the level of control that the team experienced for a given time interval. The result can be presented as a diagram in which the level of control varies over the period of the studied scenario. Notable is that there is no "ideal" level of control. The theory does not imply that the team is supposed to be at all time as close to strategic (the highest) level of control as possible. Instead the level of control is highly context dependent and so is any "ideal" level of control.

The aim is that the protocol should be possible to use for purposes like team performance assessments, assessing the effects of new technology in a given task, and training program effectiveness.  


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