The Effect of Team Training Strategies on Team Mental Model Formation and Team Performance Under Routine and Non-Routine Environmental Conditions

Open Access
Hamilton, Katherine
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
July 27, 2009
Committee Members:
  • Susan Mohammed, Dissertation Advisor
  • Susan Mohammed, Committee Chair
  • Barbara Louise Gray, Committee Member
  • James Lewis Farr, Committee Member
  • Rick R Jacobs, Committee Member
  • Michael Mc Neese, Committee Member
  • training
  • team mental model
  • team cognition
  • shared cognition
  • simulated task environment
The current study examined how the type of training a team receives (team coordination training vs. cross-training) influences the type of team mental model structures that form and how those mental models in turn impact team performance under different environmental condition (routine vs. non-routine). Three-hundred and fifty-two undergraduate students from a large northeastern university participated in the current study (176 dyads). Data were collected through the NeoCITIES simulation, which is a simulated task environment of an emergency management team. Team training was manipulated across subjects while environmental condition was manipulated within subjects. Findings indicated that training type had no main effect on team mental models but did have a significant impact on performance. Specifically, dyads exposed to cross-training had higher levels of performance than those that received team coordination training. In addition, team mental models had a significant main effect on performance, such that the increased accuracy and sharedness of situation mental models, the increased sharedness of teamwork mental models, and the increased accuracy of taskwork mental models resulted in higher levels of performance. Surprisingly, the increased sharedness of taskwork mental models was also found to decrease performance. Finally, contrary to previous findings, the effect of team mental models on team performance was not moderated by environmental condition. The results from ancillary analyses evaluating the relationship between team training and performance and team mental models and performance are discussed, along with the limitations and implications of these findings.