Since the 1940s, researchers have grappled with the notion of a mental model. The concept is eminently reasonable and somewhat seductive, but presents us with a number of difficulties regarding its incompleteness, multiplicity, and inconsistency. Not the least of these difficulties is the problem of 'capturing' (measuring) mental models, and still more difficult, capturing a team mental model, an extension of the earlier term. Once captured, finding an appropriate analytic procedure to analyze team mental models has challenged researchers for a long time. Nonetheless, the literature suggests that the construct is well worth the trouble, with many applied benefits especially to industry. In the present work we set out to (a) review the notion of team mental models (TMM); (b) identify the key concepts and thinking behind their development; (c) demonstrate how they support teamworking performance; and (d) outline a three-phase model of TMM development. Details on TMM measurement are given, before concluding with a discussion of the difficulties facing researchers who wish to study and utilize the notion, and some of the pressing research issues that need investigation.
Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing,
Vol. 14, no. 4 (2004), pp. 1-21