This proposal responds to the request for research exploring Team Task Switching in Astronaut Crews on the International Space Station. Drawing on our prior research on team dynamics and work engagement, we explain how crew member entrainment is produced by deep levels of cognitive, physical, affective, and social engagement in a particular type of work (independent vs. interdependent), which make it difficult for members to disengage from those tasks even after they have switched to a different task. With independent tasks, crew member engagement is grounded in features of the task, whereas in interdependent tasks, engagement is grounded in the connections that exist between members to coordinate interaction. We hypothesize that, while engagement to independent or interdependent work is beneficial for teams in the short term, when the team switches to a task with a different level of interdependence, residual engagement from the prior task should prevent team members from fully engaging with the new task, reducing team effectiveness. We identify individual and contextual factors that should influence the strength of the performance decrements associated with task switching, and propose a 4-part intervention to help crews quickly identify task transitions, disengage from the prior task, and re-engage with the new task in an appropriate way. We then describe two ground-based experiments and an in-flight quasi-experiment we propose to conduct to test our predictions. The results of the proposed research will improve flight crew effectiveness by helping them transition smoothly between critical independent and interdependent tasks.
|Effective start/end date||6/1/15 → 5/15/20|
- NASA: Johnson Space Center: $899,914.00