Team Performance in Airline Simulations

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Ivakh, Artyom
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Middle Tennessee State University
Within the Flight Operations Center-Unified Simulation (FOCUS) Lab, an airline simulation capstone course for the aerospace disciplines at Southeastern State University, the positions of pilot, weather and forecasting, crew scheduling, maintenance control, ramp tower coordinator, flight operations data, and flight operations coordinator work interdependently to achieve goals and objectives, such as safety, overall efficiency, and high job performance.
This study investigated the relationships between action and transition processes that the teams engage in at the FOCUS Lab based upon a similar model explained by Marks, Mathieu, & Zaccaro (2001). These authors suggest that transition phase processes are positively related to team action processes. Action phase processes are those activities leading directly to goals and mission accomplishment (i.e., flight simulations). Transition phase processes include mission analysis, goal specification, and strategy formulation; these processes typically take places before and/or following the mission-action period and may involve some type of briefing where the team has a chance to reflect on their past mission (i.e. After-Action Reviews). Lastly, this study investigated the relationship of individual performance measures, which were created as a part of this study, to other action and transition performance measures.
It was found transition phase processes rated by the observers of the FOCUS Lab related more closely to improvement in teamwork (r = .656, .626, .371) while action phase process that were rated by the students related more strongly to improvements in team performance measures (r = .621). Overall, this study showed that teams that perform better during their action phase seem to also perform better during their transition process compared to teams who exhibit low level of action phase performance. Finally, individual performance measures were validated throughout this study by showing that they are related to things such as team/teamwork/transition performance.