Mental Model Metrics and Team Adaptability: A Multi-Facet Multi-Method Examination

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cognition, team adaptability, team mental models, teams, similarity, quality, team strategy

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This paper empirically examines the convergent, discriminant, and predictive validity of three team mental model measurement approaches. Specifically, this study measures the similarity (MM-similarity) and quality (MM-quality) facets of team strategy-focused mental models using structural networks, priority rankings, and importance ratings. The convergent and divergent relationships among the three mental model metrics are then examined via a multi-facet multi-method matrix. Finally, the relative utility of each metric for understanding the relationships between team mental models, team adaptability, and decision effectiveness are compared. The study was conducted in a laboratory setting, modeling 56 four-person decision-making teams. Results indicate little convergent and extensive discriminant validity across the three mental model metrics. In addition, only mental models measured using the structural networks metric were found to have predictive validity in relation to team adaptation and performance. The quality and similarity of team structural networks were found to have interactive effects in relation to adaptation such that mental model quality was most strongly related to adaptation for teams with low mental model similarity and unrelated to adaptation for teams with high similarity. In turn, adaptation was critical for team decision effectiveness.

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Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, v. 14, issue 4, p. 332-349