It is desirable to integrate knowledge of team members toward performance. However, a smart team does not always perform as expected, especially when the team members differ in their knowledge backgrounds. Previous literature has indicated that team members must develop a shared mental model (SMM) such that their actions are effectively coordinated and innovations are induced. Scholars noted that SMMs did not become more similar as predicted in work teams with complex task however. This inconsistency has yet been resolved. This study conducted a case study to explore how multiple SMMs were developed in a heterogeneous work team in the process of achieving a complex goal. The results of this study showed that SMMs are grown as a hierarchical structure. In such a structure, superordinate SMMs work as a more robust frame in which subordinate SMMs are developed. Based on such a robust frame, subordinate SMMs are more locally developed and thus enhance team efficiency. Superordinate SMMs are revisited when the team appeals for innovations.
IEEE International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, 2016-January, 601-605