Rita M. Vick University of Hawaii, USA
Uncertainty and change have always been part of everyday problem solving. However, the steadily increasing pace of implementation of new technologies demands that workers engage in continuous learning cycles. The globalization of economies has fragmented the workplace into a series of mini-worlds where workers take on new roles as agents for business, education, or service organizations that operate in locations distributed around the world. This kind of operating environment requires use of various kinds of teams of individuals who work in different times and places linked by electronic media. The author has created a taxonomy of kinds of teams, a general model of the team work process, an analysis of available cultural models and a synthesis of factors representing contextual, composition, process, performance, task and team member variables ( Vick 1998). The objective now is to extend this prior work to: (1) analysis of specific cognitive aspects of team decision making judgment biases and heuristics ( Kahneman, Slovic, and Tversky 1982), (2) evaluation of how electronically-mediated decision-making and problem-solving processes can be enhanced through synchronous determination of user preferences ( Mittal 1999; Kobsa and Wahlster 1989), and (3) development of a diagnostic decision analysis model that combines decision theory and probability theory in the form of a causal belief network ( Horvitz, Breese, Heckerman, Hovel, and Rommelse 1998; Druzdzel 1996). The influence diagram shown in Figure 1 illustrates a possible configuration for such a network.
Although electronic media enable collaborative work for distributed teams, problems are encountered in a number of areas ( Grudin 1994, 1988). There are three general areas of concern. First, the team, itself, may suffer from problems due to the highly focused nature of teamwork as well as problems related to organizational environment, personality conflict, lack of team-organization goal