Influence of Resource Allocation on Teamwork and Performance in an Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) "Red / Blue" Exercise Within Self-Organizing Teams.
Abstract: As task
complexity and demands increase, instead of placing the entire burden on individuals,
organizations are placing more emphasis on teams. This is particularly relevant in the
nation's Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) community, where
identifying clandestine networks in cultural "clutter" is one of the most complex and
challenging tasks for counter-terror / ... read morecounter-insurgency operations. MIT Lincoln
Laboratory has developed an ISR "Red/Blue" exercise in which teams work to discover a
complex network within a simulated urban environment. Teams use wide-area persistent
surveillance data and decision support tools to trace relationships between individuals,
events, and sites. Using this exercise, the Human Factors and Cognitive Systems
Engineering Laboratory at Tufts University has investigated the influence of resources
on teamwork and performance, modeling it as a two-stage decision process, and using
Signal Detection Theory (SDT) as a framework to describe performance at each stage and
derive metrics that describe teamwork. Team performance and teamwork are investigated
within the naturalistic behavior of self- organizing teams, with different organization
types, teamwork behaviors, and communication interactions that are promoted by resource
allocation. The affordances provided by available resources drive the mechanisms for
communication and collaboration that distinguish the different team types. The research
was executed in two phases. Phase 1 experiments involved 46 teams, of varying team size
(1, 3, 4, 6, 8), and number of computers per team (1, 2, 3, 4, 6). Results from Phase 1
showed that increasing resources (people and computers) had the potential to improve
performance, but once team size grew beyond an optimal size, it caused degradation in
performance. Phase 1 also showed that balanced communication interactions amongst team
members were indicative of better teamwork. This phase also demonstrated that the
exercise, as a two-stage process, could be decomposed into taskwork and teamwork
components. Phase 2 extended the study by focusing on the teamwork component of the
process within 3-person teams. By holding the team size variable constant, the
investigation specifically studied the effect of resource allocation (1, 2, or 3
computers) on teamwork, organization, and performance. Phase 2 results showed that
providing each team member his/her own information source (computer), which provided
each person the direct ability to produce and process information, resulted in increased
teamwork and performance. The indication, then, in designing high performing teams,
would be to facilitate each person's ability to acquire, generate, process, and share
their own information as active contributors to the team process and
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2012.
Submitted to the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering.
Advisors: Daniel Hannon, and Jason Rife.
Committee: Remco Chang, and Daniel Serfaty.
Keywords: Engineering, Organizational behavior, and Operations research.read less