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Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2017 Annual Meeting
Eric T. Greenlee1, Gregory J. Funke2, Lindsay Rice1
Texas Tech University; 2Air Force Research Laboratory
Not subject to U.S. copyright restrictions. DOI 10.1177/1541931213601811
To date, conceptual explanations of workload and
development of workload measures have been focused
primarily on individual workload, the workload of a single
operator as they perform a task. Yet, this focus on individual
workload does not consider the many situations in which
operators are required to collaborate, communicate, and
operate as a team to achieve successful performance
outcomes. In short, conceptualization and development of
team workload measures have lagged behind those of
individual workload.
In an effort to meet the need for a conceptually-driven
team workload measure, Sellers, Helton, Näswall, Funke, and
Knott (2014) recently developed the team workload
questionnaire (TWLQ). In developing the measure, Sellers
and colleagues asked rugby players to rate their workload on
TWLQ items. Subsequent exploratory factor analysis
suggested that team workload was best described by three
latent factors: Taskwork, the demands for task execution on
the individual; Teamwork, the demands for team members to
cooperate and coordinate with other teammates; and TeamTask Balancing, the demands associated with the need to
manage both taskwork and teamwork – reflective of the dual
task nature of working within a team.
As with any novel measure of workload, it is important to
continue evaluation of the measure’s sensitivity to task
demands, diagnosticity regarding sources of task demands,
and correlation with performance outcomes. Early research
with the TWLQ has demonstrated that the measure is sensitive
to changes in team task demands and the effects of training in
a team UAV control task (Helton, Epling, de Joux, Funke, &
Knott, 2015; Sellers, Helton, Näswall, Funke, & Knott, 2015).
An additional, critical component of continued validation of
the TWLQ is confirmation of the factor structure initially
observed by Sellers and colleagues (2014) with data generated
from a novel task. Concerns regarding generalizability are
particularly germane because of variability in the nature of
tasks that teams engage. Whereas some teams are tasked with
executing coordinated physical activities, such as is the case in
athletic contests (e.g., rugby), the task of other teams is to talk,
plan, and decide (e.g., committees; McGrath, 1984).
In the current study, we applied the TWLQ in a
collaborative choice task (a personnel hiring decision). This
team choice task required a high degree of communication,
discussion, and joint decision making – team dynamics that
contrast sharply with those required during an execution task.
In short, the nature of the teamwork in the current study was
significantly different from the teamwork evaluated by Sellers
and colleagues (2014) when generating the TWLQ. Our goal
in this study was to continue validation of the TWLQ by
examining its factor structure with a novel dataset derived
from a task requiring qualitatively different team dynamics.
Confirmatory factor analysis indicated that the present
data (N = 144) were a poor fit for the three-factor structure of
the TWLQ. Subsequent exploratory factor analysis revealed a
much more interrelated model of team workload with no clear
division between the three conceptual factors described in the
original validation of the TWLQ. This finding indicates that
the factor structure of the TWLQ did not generalize to the
present team choice task. Given that the duties of operational
teams vary, it is critical that future research examine how the
conceptual structure of team workload may be altered by task
Helton, W. S., Epling, S., de Joux, N., Funke, G. J., & Knott, B. A. (2015,
September). Judgments of Team Workload and Stress: A
Simulated Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Case. In Proceedings of the
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting (Vol. 59,
No. 1, pp. 736-740).
McGrath, J. E. (1984). Groups: Interaction and performance (Vol. 14).
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Sellers J., Helton W. S., Näswall K., Funke G. J., Knott B. A. (2014,
September). Development of the Team Workload Questionnaire
(TWLQ). In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics
Society Annual Meeting (Vol. 58, No. 1, pp. 989-993).
Sellers, J., Helton, W. S., Näswall, K., Funke, G. J., & Knott, B. A. (2015,
September). The Team Workload Questionnaire (TWLQ) A
Simulated Unmanned Vehicle Task. In Proceedings of the Human
Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting (Vol. 59, No. 1,
pp. 1382-1386).
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