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Title: Distributed situation awareness : experimental studies into team work
Author: Sørensen, Linda Johnstone
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 8330
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2012
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For Command and Control teams Situation Awareness forms an important part of their ability to execute their tasks. It is therefore a crucial consideration in Command and Control systems to understand how best to support and design these systems. Despite a considerable amount of attention since the 1980s no consensus has yet been reached concerning the nature of team SA. Three schools of thought on SA: the Individualistic, the Engineering and the System Ergonomics, provide three different approaches to understanding the phenomenon of SA and its measurement. This thesis argues that the System Ergonomics school of thought, with the theory of Distributed SA, provides the most resilient approach to understanding team SA. This thesis advances and validates the theory of Distributed SA. A review of SA theory is presented, in which particular attention is given to Distributed SA. Drawing on the distributed cognition and systems theories Distributed SA takes the interaction between agents and their environment into account when exploring how SA emerges, followed by a review of measures utilised for assessing Distributed SA. The methods utilised in this work, namely the Critical Decision Method and Communications Analysis, are assessed in terms of their reliability and validity of eliciting Distributed SA. The findings suggested that methods to assess team SA can be tailored to collect data at different phases of activity. It was concluded that the Hierarchical Task Analysis may be applied before, Communication Analysis during and the Critical Decision Method after Command and Control activity. An experiment was performed to test the assumption that a relationship exists between organisational structure and team performance and between Distributed SA and team performance. Conclusive differences were found between different organisational structures and performance lending support to the literature. Distributed SA was found to be strongly correlated with good task performance and moderately negatively correlated with poor task performance. The relationship appeared to be mediated by organisational structure. Furthermore, a series of case studies are used to explore the components of Distributed SA, i.e. transactional and compatible SA. The analysis showed that more effective teams were characterised by a high volume of communications and had a different pattern of transactions compared to less effective teams. The findings are used to contribute to the existing debate concerning team SA and to advance the theory of Distributed SA.
Supervisor: Stanton, Neville Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD28 Management. Industrial Management ; TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)