Type of Document Dissertation Author Lee, Mi Young URN etd-11122007-193205 Title Understanding Changes in Team-Related and Task-Related Mental Models and their Effects on Team and Individual Performance Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Amy Balyor Committee Chair Tristan Johnson Committee Co-Chair Gershon Tenenbaum Committee Member Samuel Awoniyi Committee Member Young-bin Park Committee Member Keywords
- Team Performance
- Shared Mental Model
Date of Defense 2007-08-23 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis study originated from efforts to find ways to enhance team and individual performance in team-based projects. Through literature reviews, it was recognized that the theory of shared mental models has explained the close relationship between shared mental models and performance. Even though many researchers have studied shared mental models, the field of studies is still developing. From building a robust theory to the application of the theory, many research topics remain unanswered. Among many veiled research issues, this study focused on uncovering the underlying mechanism that can explain the dynamic relationship between shared mental models and performance over time. Specifically, this study investigated how shared mental models change over time and how the changes affect team and individual performance in students manufacturing engineering teams. In this study, shared mental models were measured in terms of Team-SMM and Task-SMM. Also, each Team-SMM and Task-SMM was measured in Team-SMM Structure, Team-SMM Degree, Task-SMM Structure, and Task-SMM Degree based on Mohammed, Klimoski, and Rentsch’s (2000) suggestions that shared mental models should be measured in terms of their structure and contents. The influences of Team-SMM Structure, Team-SMM Degree, Task-SMM Structure and Task-SMM Degree on team and individual performance were respectively examined per each of three time points.
The overall results are discussed with two main research questions: (1) Does SMM (Team-SMM and Task-SMM) change over time? and (2) Is Team-SMM or Task-SMM the better predictor of team and individual performance? The first research question was answered by using a one-way repeated measures ANOVA. The second research question was divided into the following two research questions: (a) Does Team-SMM or Task-SMM predict team performance? If so, how well do they predict team performance over time? and (b) Does Team-SMM or Task-SMM predict individual performance? If so, how well do they predict individual performance over time? To answer these questions, random-effects GLS regression or fixed-effects regression was selectively employed based on the results of the Breusch-Pagan Lagrange Multiplier Test and the Hausman Specification Test.
The results of the study indicate that shared mental models (Team-SMM and Task-SMM) change over time. In terms of the change in Team-SMM, the post score of Team-SMM Degree (Average) increased from Time 1 to Time 3. At the specific period from Time 1 to Time 2, the post score of Team-SMM Structure increased, but the growth score of Team-SMM Degree (Average) decreased. In terms of the change of Task-SMM, the post score of Task-SMM Degree (Average) increased from Time 1 to Time 3. In the specific time period from Time 1 to Time 2, the post score of Task-SMM Structure decreased. The post score of Task-SMM Degree (Variance) also decreased from Time 2 to Time 3. Interestingly, Team-SMM Structure increased while Task-SMM Structure decreased from Time 1 to Time 2. Moreover, the post scores of both Team-SMM Degree (Average) and Task-SMM Degree (Average), (i.e., the shared perceptions of Team-SMM and Task-SMM) increased over time, from Time 1 to Time 3. This implies that Team-SMM and Task-SMM changed at different times, and the changes also varied depending on the structure and degree of SMMs.
Second, Team-SMM and Task-SMM were associated with team and individual performance. It was assumed that Team-SMM and Task-SMM would have unique influences on team and individual performance and that their relationships would vary depending on the task and team demands during the specific time period of the team project. The results of this study supported this assumption. From Time 1 to Time 2, a highly-shared perception regarding Task-SMM (task knowledge and team environment) positively influenced the improvement of team performance, and a highly-shared perception about Team-SMM (teammate knowledge and team interaction) also led to the improvement of individual performance. From Time 2 to Time 3, team performance decreased as the variance of perception about Task-SMM (task knowledge and team environment) increased. This result implies that team members need to have a highly-shared mental model about the given task and team environment to accomplish their team project successfully. Unlike team performance, diverse perceptions of Task-SMM positively affected individual performance from Time 2 to Time 3. That is, diverse perceptions concerning task knowledge and team environment are necessary to increase individual performance at the end of the team project.
Overall, the findings of this study provided evidence that Team-SMM and Task-SMM change over time, and that they had unique influences on team and individual performance. Moreover, the unique influences varied depending on task and team demands in the specific time period of a team project. Thus, this study contributes to the efforts to reveal the underlying mechanism which explains the dynamic relationship between shared mental models and performance over time. However, many unanswered research questions remain. Future studies are expected to be conducted in the following areas. First, it will be interesting to extend this study to online team-based learning environments. Second, future research should investigate whether there is a typical mechanism that can explain the dynamic relationship between shared mental models and performance in spite of the different levels of task difficulty, different types of tasks, and different numbers of team members. Third, it is necessary to measure the accuracy of shared mental models and examine how the accuracy of shared mental models is associated with performance. Fourth, future studies should focus on making better team-based instructions based on the findings from many prior empirical studies. Ultimately, these efforts will assist students to work effectively in real workplace teams.
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