At Battlegroup level within military organisations, mission-planning teams comprise specialist roles in intelligence, military strategy, geography, metrology, ordinance, etc. This team is led by the Battlegroup commander who expresses his desired intent to the team, leaving them to develop courses of action while he or she undertakes other tasks. The routine departure of the commander gives rise to the purpose of this study. A total of 108 participants enabled 36 planning teams of three individuals to be composed. The experimental teamwork task was based on the game chess and used a variety of different technological means to facilitate distributed planning, which were then compared with a collocated planning (face-to-face) condition in an A-B-A design. The results show that broadly comparable levels of performance in some areas are reliant on considerably different processes of team adaptation in others. Performance time and overall workload remained relatively stable, yet the number of chess moves made, time pressure and surprise recall performance were considerably elevated in the distributed planning condition. Overall, it appears that the commander can be kept involved in the planning process even though they are remote from it but with some caveats attached.
Relevance to industry: Distributed teamworking is a major component of emerging command and control paradigms variously called Network Enabled Capability (NEC). An important challenge for realising the benefits of NEC is to design technology to support distributed teamworking in such a way that it is not merely technically effective but jointly optimised. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.