The impact of cross -training on team processes and performance

Mark Joseph Sabella, Florida International University


Recently, researchers have begun to investigate the benefits of cross-training teams. It has been hypothesized that cross-training should help improve team processes and team performance (Cannon-Bowers, Salas, Blickensderfer, & Bowers, 1998; Travillian, Volpe, Cannon-Bowers, & Salas, 1993). The current study extends previous research by examining different methods of cross-training (positional clarification and positional modeling) and the impact they have on team process and performance in both more complex and less complex environments. One hundred and thirty-five psychology undergraduates were placed in 45 three-person teams. Participants were randomly assigned to roles within teams. Teams were asked to “fly” a series of missions on a PC-based helicopter flight simulation. Results suggest that cross-training improves team mental model accuracy and similarity. Accuracy of team mental models was found to be a predictor of coordination quality, but similarity of team mental models was not. Neither similarity nor accuracy of team mental models was found to be a predictor of backup behavior (quality and quantity). As expected, both team coordination (quality) and backup behaviors (quantity and quality) were significant predictors of overall team performance. Contrary to expectations, there was no interaction between cross-training and environmental complexity. Results from this study further cross-training research by establishing positional clarification and positional modeling as training strategies for improving team performance.

Subject Area

Occupational psychology|Business education

Recommended Citation

Sabella, Mark Joseph, "The impact of cross -training on team processes and performance" (2000). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9970520.