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date: 24 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews prior and new research on the unique strategies that multidisciplinary teams possess for dealing with uncertainty. In particular, it summarizes recent findings from research on the 2004 NASA mission that sent two rovers on opposite sides of Mars so that scientists on Earth could determine whether there was evidence for liquid water. Using natural audiovideo data from these scientists’ task-relevant conversations, researchers were able to explore novel cross-psychology questions about how this exemplary multidisciplinary science team dealt with uncertainty. The findings in concert with prior research on teams and problem solving suggest that in knowledge diverse teams, disagreement can uncover latent uncertainty between individuals, whereas analogies can serve to reduce uncertainty. These findings advance understanding of how multidisciplinary science teams succeed, and point to the value of studying real-world cases for uncovering novel connections between social and cognitive processes in teams.

Keywords: teamwork, scientist, knowledge diversity, problem solving, multidisciplinary team, analogy, conflict, uncertainty, in vivo

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