Shared Mental Models Assignment | Top Essay Writing

The main research question for this study is, “Do shared mental models (SMMs) change over time in teams of students in a manufacturing engineering course?”(Lee & Johnson, 2008).

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This study was conducted to assess the concept of team based learning within a classroom (Lee & Johnson, 2008). “The researchers defined shared mental models as a knowledge structure held by members of a team that enables them to form accurate explanations and expectations for the task, and in turn, to coordinate their actions and adapt their behavior to demands of the task and other team members.” (Lee & Johnson, p.73, 2008). The study focused on three stages; preprocess, in-process and post process coordinator (Lee & Johnson, 2008).

The methods used participants from undergraduate engineering courses at any southeastern university. The researchers observed 73 students in their early twenties who were randomly assigned to teams of two (Lee & Johnson, 2008). “They were instructed to analyze, test and propose ways to improve a certain product” (Lee & Johnson, 2008). Questionnaires were used to obtain data and compare similarity scores.

The results displayed that team shared mental models similarity actually increased during the timeframe (Lee & Johnson, 2008). I think this study would benefit from assessing other types of students, not just engineers. Engineering students may have specific traits, such high desire to problem solve, which could be significant to the overall study. If the researchers used the same study but assessed liberal arts or marketing majors, I am curious what the results would be.

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Lee, M., & Johnson, T. E. (2008). Understanding the effects of team cognition associated with complex engineering tasks: Dynamics of shared mental models, Task-SMM, and Team-SMM. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 21 (3), 73-95.

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The focus of the study: Focused on how Team and Task SMM change in terms of their structure and degree in the process of complex problem solving.  

Research question: The overall research question was: “How do Team-SMM and Task-SMM change over time (Lee & Johnson, 2008)?  Appears that the researcher’s knowledge concerning dependent samples t-test was spot on in using “within-treatment” design. According to Sukul (2013), “Yet a third alternative that is basically the same as a before/after design is the within-treatmentdesign where each participant is used across two treatment groups (usually given at two different times, which makes it the same as the before/after t-test)” (Sukul, 2013).  Because the research is interested in both Team and Task SMM change over time, the dependent-sample t-test compliments this ideal.  Both Team and Task SMM models provided their own questions

  1. How do Team SMM change overtime?
  2. How do Task SMM change overtime?

Hypothesis (Null):  The null hypothesis for question one is obvious but not clearly stated or mentioned from what I gathered from the reading. Therefore, the null would be, “there is no difference between increased Team-SMM structure and Task-SMM structure overtime. Note: means would be would be the same:

H0: μ1≠μ2

Hypothesis (Alternative/ directional): The alternative hypothesis expressed for both Team-SMM and Task-SMM was overtime, both Team-SMM structure and Task-SMM structure would increase overtime:

H0: μ1=μ2

Method and Study Design: The methods used in this study consisted of an initial number of 73 undergraduate students that ranged from 20 – 25 years of age.  However, due to participation issues, participants were decreased from the original number of 73 to 67 students.  The size of the samples used were 33 teams to assist with a more conservative statistical power. According to Sukul (2013), “The more powerful statistical test is the one that will most readily detect a significant difference” (Sukul, 2013).  Surveys were administer at the beginning study regarding demographics, and the number of instruments used for measuring were in total four.  Both groups were measured to “examine how participants rated the relationships among the key team and task components by pairwise ratings, and the degree of Team-SMM and Task-SMM was measured by questionnaires asking participants to respond to their teamwork and task work” (Lee & Johnson, 2008, p. 77).  The Team-SMM degree questionnaire was based off a 5-point Likert scale.

Random selection was employed regarding participants for this study.  Within-treatment designs was employed from what I was able to gather as data was collected at three time points.  Data analysis was conducted in two phases where raw data was converted into similar scares, and then the converted scores were analyzed. 


In their article. “Understanding the effects of team cognition associated with complex engineering tasks: Dynamics of shared mental models, Task-SMM, and Team-SMM,” authors Lee and Johnson (2008) provided a very conservative study which represented power in statistical testing.  What I did not find within this study were the impacts of poor or effective leadership that that guides teams within any setting.  According to Kolb (1996), “Today, as American companies struggle to remain competitive in the face of increasing foreign and domestic competition, interest centers on the leader’s role in influencing performance, both in his or her subordinates and in the organization as a whole” (Kolb, 1996, p. 173).   The application the One-way repeated measures ANOVA was very precise.  The differences between both Team and Task-SMM structures were affected by time.  But, I continue to argue that leadership, potentially as a confounding variable could have some error variance.  According to Ewert & Sibthorp (2009), “For the most part, confounding variables are confounding because they serve to confuse and obfuscate both the findings from the data, as well as the conclusions drawn from the study” (Ewert & Sibthorp, 2009, p. 377). The study provided a enough detail within the analysis which ad hocs would not be necessary due to the conservativeness of this study.  What gave much confusion, was the research question. It was clear, but lead to much confusion in how the question was architect.


Ewert, A., & Sibthorp, J. (2009). Creating Outcomes through Experiential Education: The Challenge of Confounding Variables. Journal of Experiential Education, 31(3), 376–389. Retrieved from,cpid&custid=s8856897&db=eric&AN=EJ853338&site=ehost-live

Kolb, J. A. (1996). A Comparison of Leadership Behaviors and Competencies in High– and Average-Performance Teams. Communication Reports, 9(2), 173–183. Retrieved from,cpid&custid=s8856897&db=ufh&AN=9610110810&site=ehost-live

Lee, M., & Johnson, T. E. (2008). Understanding the effects of team cognition associated with complex engineering tasks: Dynamics of shared mental models, Task-SMM, and Team-SMM. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 21 (3), 73-95. doi: 10.1002/piq.20032

Sukal, M. (2013). Research methods: Applying statistics in research. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

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