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The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) is an international professional organization with an annual membership of more than 10,000 industrial-organizational (I-O) psychologists. SIOP’s mission is to enhance human well-being and performance in organizational and work settings by promoting the science, practice, and teaching of I-O psychology.

The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology disseminates and posts press releases for members in good standing. This press release was created by one of SIOP’s members.  Opinions expressed are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the American Psychological Association, or the Association for Psychological Science, unless so stated.


New paper describes critical findings from research on space flight teams

MEDIA CONTACT: Nikki Blacksmith (nikkiblacksmith@gmail.edu)

BOWLING GREEN – Industrial-Organizational Psychology -- scientific study of working and provides insights to create more effective, productive, and humane workplaces  -- is a rising field that has had significant influence on critical issues relevant to individuals, businesses, and society. In this case, Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, Dr. Lauren Blackwell Landon, and team are helping man get to mars. According to the paper, “Teamwork and Collaboration in Long-Duration Space Missions: Going to Extremes” published in the journal American Psychologist.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) understand that building the right team is essential to the mission. As the authors explain, Industrial-organizational psychology research can inform the development and composition of the team. For example employee selection research has been the foundation for selecting classes of astronauts.

However, most research on teams occurs in a context drastically different than the environment surrounding the astronauts and cannot be applied to spaceflight teams.

Landon explains, "Teamwork and collaboration are critical components of all space flights and will be even more important for astronauts during long-duration missions, such as to Mars. The astronauts will be months away from home, confined to a vehicle no larger than a mid-sized RV for two to three years and there will be an up to 45-minute lag on communications to and from Earth.” Astronauts going on the Mars mission will experience challenges that no other teams will have experienced.

Inevitability there will be challenges to creating a high-performance spaceflight team researchers are working towards mitigating those risks by integrating industrial organizational psychology and designing unique studies to capture the unique characteristics of space travel.

Original press release can be found here.

Posted 5/24/18


New paper describes critical findings from 60 years of military research on team effectiveness

MEDIA CONTACT: Nikki Blacksmith (nikkiblacksmith@gmail.edu)

WASHINGTON - A new paper reviewing 60 years’ worth of military research provides organizations key tips and best practices on how to ensure their teams are effective. The paper, “The Science of Teams in the Military: Contributions from over 60 Years of Research,” was published today in the journal American Psychologist.

One key tip is for teams to foster cohesion. “Creating cohesion within a team is one of the most important things organizations and managers can do to increase team effectiveness,” said author Dr. Meredith Coats, a member of the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology (SIOP). “Time and time again, military studies demonstrated that when team members have strong bonds, they perform better, stay together longer, have lower rates of stress, and have higher satisfaction.”

Another important discovery was the importance of shared mental models emerged from the Navy’s research program called Tactical Decision Making under Stress (TADMUS) which resulted in over 250 publications on teams; training the team as a single unit rather than training each member increased performance. “Teams need to learn together. It is through the trials and tribulations that they start to understand how best to coordinate and improve performance,” says co-author Dr. Nikki Blacksmith, also a SIOP member.

Over the last 60 years, the military also devoted substantial resources to identifying the core competencies a team needs to optimize performance. “The core competencies all effective teams need, regardless of the industry, organization, or type of teams, include (1) adaptability, (2) communication, (3) coordination, (4) decision-making, (5) interpersonal relations, (6) leadership and management, and (7) performance monitoring and feedback” says Blacksmith. “They universal and imperative for any team.”

The paper provides rich information that explains how teams can be most effective. The military is not done learning though. They are focusing research on understanding of multi-team systems, how to optimally assembling teams, how to enhance cognitive competencies of teams, for instance.

In addition to Meredith Coats and Dr. Nikki Blacksmith, Dr. Gerald F. Goodwin, Chief of the Foundational Science research unit of the Army Research Institute for Behavioral and Social Sciences and SIOP Fellow contributed to this article.

Posted 5/24/18

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