Section V Scaled-World Simulations

ating Team Cognition How the NeoCITIES Simulation Can Address Key Research Needs

Katherine Hamilton, Susan Mohammed,

Rachel Tesler, Vincent Mancuso, and Michael D. McNeese


Team cognition refers to the collective knowledge shared within a team (Cannon- Bowers, & Salas, 2001; Klimoski & Mohammed, 1994). Meta-analytic evidence has shown that team cognition has a meaningful positive impact on team effectiveness beyond team’s motivational and behavioral processes (DeChurch & Mesmer- Magnus, 2010a). Research on the importance of team cognition has spanned a broad array of industries, including the military (e.g., Rafferty, Stanton, & Walker, 2010), medicine (e.g., Santos et al., 2012), aviation (e.g., Bell & Kozlowski, 2011), sports (e.g., Gershgoren, Filho, Tenenbaum, & Schinke, 2013), computer science (e.g., Schreiber & Engelmann, 2010), engineering (e.g., Patterson & Stephens, 2012), and management (e.g., Maynard & Gilson, 2014).

Despite the prevalence of research on team cognition, multiple difficulties exist in effectively evaluating the construct (Mohammed, Ferzandi, & Hamilton, 2010). Measures of team cognition tend to be both labor and time intensive in their design and administration. However, in the tradition of the living lab framework (McNeese, Perusich, & Rentsch, 2000), the investigation of such research questions are greatly facilitated through the use of simulated task environments, such as NeoCITIES (Hamilton et al., 2010). Well-designed experimental simulations have the advantage of providing rich contextual information that mimics the key decision-making processes that take place in natural settings (McGrath, 1982). They can therefore aid researchers in being able to better generalize findings to a given context more so than lab experiments (McGrath, 1982). Experimental simulations are also associated with higher levels of precision than field experiments (McGrath, 1982).

The popularity of simulation-based studies in the team cognition literature is evident by the vast array of simulations that have been used. These have ranged from commercially available software such as, Space Fortress (e.g., Edwards, Day, Arthur, & Bell, 2006), SimCity (e.g., Resick, Murase, Randall, & DeChurch, 2014), Gunship (e.g., Stout, Cannon-Bowers, Salas, & Milanovish, 1999), and Freelancer (e.g., Resick, Dickson, Mitchelson, Allison, & Clark, 2010) to simulate task environments that have been created for the purpose of research or training. According to McGrath (1982), the creation of experimental simulations can be both costly and time intensive but can be worth the investment if done well. The purpose of this chapter is therefore to introduce the NeoCITIES simulation as a test bed for conducting team cognition research. This chapter will highlight how unique aspects of the simulation allow it to address multiple research needs in the team cognition literature. Through addressing this purpose, the current chapter will rely on the tenets of the living lab framework to explore and understand key theoretical and practical concerns in the team cognition literature. The following sections will provide a brief description of the NeoCITIES simulation, review the efficacy of the simulation in studying teams, and concludes with ways the simulation can be used to study multiple types of team cognition constructs.

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