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Social cue utilisation in ad hoc teams and applied environments
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 03:06 authored by Daniel James Yee
The capacity to identify and utilise cues to inform situation assessment and problem-solving has been established as a critical precursor to high levels of operational performance. However, most of the research in this area has focused on predictions of technical performance. There has been little regard for the role of cue utilisation in environments where performance is dependent upon a combination of technical and social cues. This thesis outlines the development of a method to examine individuals' ability to utilise social cues, includes a progressive investigation into the impact of social cue utilisation on performance in laboratory and applied settings, and examines the relative contribution of social and technical cue utilisation to expert performance. Paper 1 summarised the development of a novel measure of social cue utilisation and established an association between social cue utilisation, closed loop communication, and ad hoc team performance on a general problem-solving task. Paper 2 extended these findings using a higher-fidelity, simulated rail control task, and revealed that social cue utilisation is associated with superior response latencies and lower perceived workload in the context of a simulated task, together with closed loop and informative communication strategies. The findings also indicated that social cue utilisation exerts an indirect effect on perceived workload through informative communication. Paper 3 was designed to evaluate the relative importance of technical and social cue utilisation within two settings where performance is characterised by both technical and non-technical capability and skills : power control and football coaching. The results revealed that self-ratings and job level were not associated with technical and social cue utilisation within the context of power control. However, the combination of technical and social cue utilisation predicted football coaching expertise as defined by level of qualification. The outcomes of the research program highlight the importance of social cue utilisation in ad hoc team performance and expertise in applied settings. The implications extend to both research focusing on the individual-level factors that promote effectiveness in ad hoc team environments, and the assessment and training of individuals within dynamic settings that rely on the utilisation of social cues.