Air Force Research Laboratory
University of Arkansas
This research uses a bottom-up approach to identify key issues/barriers regarding decision making such as difficulty on consensus building, leadership/authority within the group, and management of disagreement. Human factors principles will be applied to develop a culture-based group decision behavior model and training system to support cooperative work and group decision-making in multi-culture contexts.
It is expected that military logisticians will be increasingly operating with their counterparts in other Services and other countries in the future. Many studies have shown the efficiency of group work over individual activities. However, it is also true that there are many barriers to group performance such as C2 operations among multi-cultural and/or multi-Service teams. This project addresses one of these, cultural differences in cooperative work and group decision making, in that cultural background can significantly influence the way humans select, interpret, process, and use information. Klein, Pongonis, & Klein (2002) also identified cultural differences as one of the common problems that the C2 demands faced by multinational military and OOTW coalitions have. Because of the trend towards multinational coalition operations, the demand for training military logisticians so they can collaborate more effectively will grow rapidly as well. Although many theories and models have been proposed to explain the effects of cultural differences in decision making, many aspects of group/team decision-making process in multi-culture contexts still remain unclear. Surprisingly, little attention has been paid to the knowledge base that can be applied to develop culture-centered training systems for supporting cooperative work and group decision-making. Relatively few empirical research studies have been conducted on how the rest of the world other than North America and Europe makes decisions. The main focus of the project is to identify cultural differences and their role in logistics-related group decision making in multi-culture contexts. This research uses a bottom-up approach (e.g., interview people with first hand experience in multi-cultural and/or multi-Service teams using cross-cultural interview protocols) to identify key issues/barriers regarding decision making such as difficulty on consensus building, leadership/authority within the group, and management of disagreement. Human factors principles (e.g., cognitive and cultural ergonomics) will be applied to develop a culture-based group decision behavior model and training system to support cooperative work and group decision-making in multi-culture contexts. To characterize different types of cultures, Hofstede’s (1980) four dimensions will be used: power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism, and masculinity.