Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 14, Iss. 3, July, 2010, pp. 265-289
@2010 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


Team Coordination Dynamics

Jamie C. Gorman, Arizona State University
Polemnia G. Amazeen, Arizona State University
Nancy J. Cooke, Arizona State University

Abstract: Team coordination consists of both the dynamics of team member interaction and the environmental dynamics to which a team is subjected. Focusing on dynamics, an approach is developed that contrasts with traditional aggregate-static concepts of team coordination as characterized by the shared mental model approach. A team coordination order parameter was developed to capture momentary fluctuations in coordination. Team coordination was observed in three-person uninhabited air vehicle teams across two experimental sessions. The dynamics of the order parameter were observed under changes of a team familiarity control parameter. Team members returned for the second session to either the same (Intact) or different (Mixed) team. ”Roadblock” perturbations, or novel changes in the task environment, were introduced in order to probe the stability of team coordination. Nonlinear dynamic methods revealed differences that a traditional approach did not: Intact and Mixed team coordination dynamics looked very different; Mixed teams were more stable than Intact teams and explored the space of solutions without the need for correction. Stability was positively correlated with the number of roadblock perturbations that were overcome successfully. The novel and non-intuitive contribution of a dynamical analysis was that Mixed teams, who did not have a long history working together, were more adaptive. Team coordination dynamics carries new implications for traditional problems such as training adaptive teams.

Keywords: order parameter, control parameter, perturbations, stability, long-range correlation