Research Topic

Understanding the Successful Co-ordination of Team Behavior

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Effective team performance often requires coordinated contributions of multiple agents. For coordination to emerge, team members are required to regulate their behavior in reference to the framework provided by their social group- and task-context. In many tasks, this contextual framework is not static but ...

Effective team performance often requires coordinated contributions of multiple agents. For coordination to emerge, team members are required to regulate their behavior in reference to the framework provided by their social group- and task-context. In many tasks, this contextual framework is not static but changes dynamically throughout the course of action. This is typical for interactive team sports and different kinds of work teams. To explain how interpersonal coordination is enabled under such circumstances, different theoretical perspectives have been adopted. For example, conceptions of interpersonally shared knowledge view the common cognitive backgrounds of team members as a prerequisite for coordinated behavior. Ecological perspectives emphasize the role of situational cues which – perceived as opportunities to act – channel (team) behavior by affording specific acts. Dynamical system approaches regard the origin of team coordination to lie in the self-organizing principles that guide the behavior of lower level elements. To date, it is debated what approach is best suited to explain the mechanisms underlying successful team coordination. Calls for integrative perspectives that allow insight into what mechanisms have responsibility under what circumstances have recently been intensified. The many areas of human life where performance is delivered in groups adumbrates the large field of application that could benefit from deepened and integrated understanding about interpersonal coordination.

The aim of this Research Topic is to collect current perspectives on interpersonal coordination in dynamic task contexts. How can coordination be established under different circumstances? What are the underlying processes? What do current theories offer to optimizing, teaching, and learning interpersonal coordination? This Topic is open for empirical (qualitative and quantitative), theoretical, and applied research. Contributions that approach interpersonal coordination from different perspectives, both theoretically and methodologically, are welcome. Integrative advances are especially encouraged. The focused processes may vary and include e.g., communicative, cognitive, perceptual, attentional, or decisional mechanisms that link to functions involved in interpersonal coordination. Examples for more specific questions are: What are ecological cues that afford coordinated behavior? How can affordances for interpersonal behavior be differentiated from other ecological cues that do not qualify as affordances? Or, switching perspectives, how can affordances for interpersonal coordination be created by individuals or groups? What are attractors that establish interpersonal behavior within the social context of team tasks? How do they establish? How do mental representations and shared knowledge contribute? Finally, what are revealing research questions to be addressed in the future?


Keywords: team behaviour, co-ordination, team action, teamwork, team cognition, team dynamics


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