Publication Details

Crawford, K. & Hasan, H. M. (2009). A gaming system experience for work in heterogeneous, self-directed teams. Simtect 2009 (pp. 1-6). Adelaide: Simulation Industry Association of Australia.


In the face of increased complexity in the social, commercial and operational contexts of their operations, many organisations are endeavouring to change from the bureaucratic model of the Industrial Age to a community of self-organising teams more suitable for the Knowledge Age. In defence operations, this involves a change from a command and control model to a more network centric and distributed model of decision making for teams in the field. However, managers are often confused as to how best to prepare workers to operate in loosely coupled networks of self-directed teams. There is also a need for more knowledge about the capabilities that are required for success in settings that are socially organized in these new ways. In order to further both research and practice in this area, this paper is an informed demonstration of how a particular online gaming may be a constructive way to prepare people to operate appropriately in a network-centric environment. Critical concepts, on which this work is based, include: the network-centric paradigm, self-directed teams, complex activity, knowledge work and shared situational awareness. Findings are presented from a set of gaming sessions, comparing the capabilities of homogeneous and heterogeneous teams, to demonstrate the potential for learning appropriate to such teams of knowledge workers. The conclusions are: firstly, that heterogeneous teams are potentially able to perform complex activities better than homogeneous ones, once they have learnt cooperative team skills; and, secondly, that the particular online team gaming environment used in this research has the capacity to enable such learning.

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Simtect Conference