Measuring the Importance of Teamwork: The Reliability and Validity of Job/Task Analysis Indices for Training Design

Clint Bowers, David P. Baker (AIR), Eduardo Salas

Recently, investigators suggested that attitude-based programs, and the assumptions encompassed therein, might not be optimal for military crews. Rather, these scientists suggested that crew coordination is best accomplished by training the specific skills that comprise coordination and by providing opportunities to practice these behaviors. Laboratory studies have supported the effectiveness of this type of skill-based training, but its application in field settings poses a number of practical problems for training development. For example, in a recent article, Bowers, Morgan, Salas, and Prince pointed out that there is currently no methodology to determine which coordination behaviors are required in coping with the demands of various flight tasks.

One approach to identifying important team tasks for training was described by Bowers et al., using a Coordination Demand Questionnaire designed to assess the degree to which each behavioral dimension is required in executing a sample of flight tasks. The results indicated that pilots' self-reports appeared to be a valid method of obtaining coordination demand data. However, although existing methods might be useful for assessing the general dimension-level requirements associated with various flight tasks, they are not effective in providing information about the specific coordination behaviors that should be incorporated into aircrew coordination training for any given platform. Because the development of skill-based coordination training is dependent on the accurate identification of crucial behaviors to be trained, and because there is a need to develop more effective methods to identify these skills, the purpose of this investigation was to identify a psychometrically sound index of team task importance to guide the selection of behaviors for training.