Autonomous vs. Interdependent Structures: Impact on Unpredicted Tasks in a Simulated Joint Task Force Mission
Hocevar, Susan P.
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This simulation experiment is the latest in a series conducted by the Adaptive Architecture for Command and Control (A2C2) research team. The focus was to evaluate the relative performance to two organizational structures on tasks that varied in terms of complexity and predictability. One structure represented a more traditional, functional form with interdependent nodes. The second structure was derived from computer-modeling to reduce the need for coordination by creating fairly autonomous divisional units. Results from a previous A2C2 experiment suggested that the more autonomous, divisional structure, while outperforming the functional structure in planned mission tasks, could be less effective with complex unpredictable tasks. Organization theory argues that coordination capability is an important factor in an organization’s ability to respond to an uncertain and complex environment. The question examined in this research was whether the different degrees of coordination capability developed by these two structures would influence the performance and process outcomes for both predictable and unpredictable tasks. The results show only limited differences in the results for the two structures, though these are in the direction predicted above. However, a more consistent finding suggests that training and improved teamwork processes override structural differences in influencing performance outcomes. Implications to future research and training implications are discussed.
2000 Command and Control Research and Technology Symposium (CCRTS), June 11-13, 2000, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA
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