4 years ago

Complex Problem Solving in Teams: The Impact of Collective Orientation on Team Process Demands.

Vera Hagemann, Annette Kluge
Complex problem solving is challenging and a high-level cognitive process for individuals. When analyzing complex problem solving in teams, an additional, new dimension has to be considered, as teamwork processes increase the requirements already put on individual team members. After introducing an idealized teamwork process model, that complex problem solving teams pass through, and integrating the relevant teamwork skills for interdependently working teams into the model and combining it with the four kinds of team processes (transition, action, interpersonal, and learning processes), the paper demonstrates the importance of fulfilling team process demands for successful complex problem solving within teams. Therefore, results from a controlled team study within complex situations are presented. The study focused on factors that influence action processes, like coordination, such as emergent states like collective orientation, cohesion, and trust and that dynamically enable effective teamwork in complex situations. Before conducting the experiments, participants were divided by median split into two-person teams with either high (n = 58) or low (n = 58) collective orientation values. The study was conducted with the microworld C3Fire, simulating dynamic decision making, and acting in complex situations within a teamwork context. The microworld includes interdependent tasks such as extinguishing forest fires or protecting houses. Two firefighting scenarios had been developed, which takes a maximum of 15 min each. All teams worked on these two scenarios. Coordination within the team and the resulting team performance were calculated based on a log-file analysis. The results show that no relationships between trust and action processes and team performance exist. Likewise, no relationships were found for cohesion. Only collective orientation of team members positively influences team performance in complex environments mediated by action processes such as coordination within the team. The results are discussed in relation to previous empirical findings and to learning processes within the team with a focus on feedback strategies.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01730

DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01730

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