On the utility of experiential cross-training for team decision-making under time stress.Ergonomics. 2000 Aug; 43(8):1095-110.E
This study investigated the effectiveness of experiential cross-training in a team context for team decision-making under time stress in a simulated naval surveillance task. It was hypothesized that teams whose members explicitly experience all team positions will perform better under time pressure due to a better shared Team Interaction Model (Cannon-Bowers et al. 1993). In addition, it was posited that experiential cross-training would reduce the negative effect of member reconfiguration that can occur in certain military situations. Three groups of teams participated in this study (cross-trained, reconfigured and control). The experiment involved three team training sessions, followed by three time-stressed exercise sessions. During training, one group of teams was cross-trained (CT) by asking each member to perform an entire session at each of the three team positions. Member reconfiguration (where each member was shifted to another's position) was unexpectedly introduced at the first of the exercise sessions for the CT group and for another group (reconfigured) that had not been cross-trained. A third (control) group was neither cross-trained nor reconfigured. During training, the performance of non-CT teams improved more quickly than that of CT teams. During the exercise, the CT group did not achieve the level of performance of the control teams. The immediate effect of team member reconfiguration was to degrade performance significantly for the non-CT teams, but not for CT teams. The findings are discussed in terms of the multiple mental models' view of team performance (Cannon-Bowers et al. 1993) and the authors discuss the relative utility of cross-training when overall training time is fixed.