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Title: Team training in high reliability industries
Author: O'Connor, Paul
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2002
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There is a lack of theoretically based, and empirically proven, team training methods for optimising and maintaining effective team performance. The aims of the thesis were to: (i) develop a method to carry out team training needs analyses, and use this to identify theoretically valid intervention techniques; (ii) develop and test a particular type of team training designed to improve team performance in high-reliability industries; and (iii) develop and utilise team training evaluation techniques. A team training needs analysis was carried out to identify the team training requirements of nuclear power plant operations personnel. This resulted in the design of a nuclear team skills taxonomy, in which the specific team competencies required by the team members were identified. Using this taxonomy it was possible to identify four training and three organisational interventions to improve the performance of the teams. The remainder of the thesis concentrated on the application of the most widely applied team training technique, Crew Resource Management (CRM) training. CRM has been used in the aviation industry for over 20 years, and is beginning to be applied in other high-reliability industries. However, a survey of UK aviation operators (n=l13) showed that the majority do not utilise formal evaluation techniques to assess the effects of their CRM training. The main reasons for this are a shortage of resources and a lack of guidance on suitable techniques for evaluating training. Several CRM evaluation techniques were developed and tested. A questionnaire was designed to assess the effects of CRM training on the attitudes of nuclear operations personnel. It was found there was generally an initial increase in the positivity of attitudes immediately after training, and then a decay in attitudes when they were measured again after a delay of six months. A prototype CRM training course was designed, and delivered to 77 offshore oild and gas production personnel Their reactions to the training were generally favourable and, as measured using a questionnaire, a significant increase in positivity of attitudes was found for decision making and personnel limitations, but not situation awareness or iii communications. The ability of the course participants to identify the causes of accidents in written scenarios was also not found to improve as a result of the CRM training. Finally, a European behavioural marker system designed to allow an assessment to be made of the non-technical (CRM) skills of flight deck crews (called NOTECHS) was tested. Data were provided from an experiment involving 105 training captains from 14 European airlines. Following an analysis of the validity and reliability, it was concluded that the NOTECHS system appears to be a satisfactory system for carrying out an evaluation of pilots' CRM behaviours in the aviation industry. The main findings of the thesis were: (i) A multi-faceted methodology was found to be useful in carrying out a training needs analysis, and to identify intervention techniques to improve team performance. However, these interventions must be applied and evaluated to assess their effectiveness. (ii) Researchers must take care when using a team training method, such as CRM, which has been successful utilised in one particular organisation, and applying the same model in another without first testing it in the new domain. (iii) There is a need to develop more reliable questionnaire items to assess attitudes to CRM skills such as decision making and situation awareness, and techniques to assess the CRM-related knowledge of participants. It is argued that properly designed and tested behavioural marker systems provide a method for evaluating the CRM skills of operations personnel, as long as the system is valid and reliable, and raters have received training to use it accurately. As industry becomes increasingly complex, there is a continuous challenge to design, deliver, and evaluate team training. Overall, this thesis has added to the research to address these challenges and indicated the areas in which further psychological research is required. It is only through this type of analysis that team training theory can develop and practitioners can be provided with the tools necessary to design effective team training.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Teams in the workplace ; Nuclear industry ; Gas industry ; Petroleum industry and trade