Mismatches between Perceiving and Actually Sharing Temporal Mental Models

Implications for Distributed Teams

Authored by: Jacqueline Marhefka , Susan Mohammed , Katherine Hamilton , Rachel Tesler , Vincent Mancuso , Michael D. McNeese

Foundations and Theoretical Perspectives of Distributed Team Cognition

Print publication date:  September  2020
Online publication date:  September  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138625549
eBook ISBN: 9780429459795
Adobe ISBN:


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What happens when team members think they are on the same page but are not in actuality? Although discrepancies between perceptions and reality can exist in any team, they are especially likely in distributed teams due to the absence of normally salient visual, auditory, and social team member cues that facilitate positive group dynamics. In response to the special challenge, this chapter examines the relationship between perceived and actual temporal team mental model similarity on team performance and viability. Three-person teams (N = 182) participated in NeoCITIES, a scaled-world simulation designed to mimic emergency crisis management situations in a distributed team environment. Results showed that mismatches between perceiving and actually being on the same temporal page were detrimental to performance and viability in that teams took longer to complete tasks and were less willing to work together in the future. Implications for distributed teams are discussed.

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