Lecturer in Psychology and Security, Lancaster University



Communication and coordination across event phases: A multi-team system emergency response

This paper explores how multi-agency response teams communicate and coordinate in different phases of a simulated terrorist incident. Procedural guidelines state that responders should coordinate their response to a major emergency across two phases: ‘response’ (when the incident is ongoing) and ‘recovery’ (when the threat has subsided, but the legacy of the incident is ongoing). However, no research has examined whether these phases map to the behaviours of responders in situ. To address this, we used measures of communication and coordination to examine how behaviours evolved during a simulated terrorist incident in the United Kingdom. We grounded our approach within the theoretical literature on multi-team systems. It was found that the current response/recovery classification does not fit the nuanced context of an emergency. Instead, a three-phase structure of ‘response/resolve/recovery’ is more reflective of behaviour. It was also found that coordination between agencies improved when communication networks became less centralized. This suggests that collaborative working in multi-team systems may be improved by adopting decentralized communication networks.

(From the journal abstract)

Brown, O., Power, N. and Conchie, S.M. (2021), Communication and coordination across event phases: A multi-team system emergency response. J Occup Organ Psychol.

Authors: Olivia Brown, Nicola Power, Stacey Conchie
Immersive simulations with extreme teams

Extreme teams (ETs) work in challenging, high pressured contexts, where poor performance can have severe consequences. These teams must coordinate their skill sets, align their goals, and develop shared awareness, all under stressful conditions. How best to research these teams poses unique challenges as researchers seek to provide applied recommendations while conducting rigorous research to test how teamwork models work in practice. In this article, we identify immersive simulations as one solution to this, outlining their advantages over existing methodologies and suggesting how researchers can best make use of recent advances in technology and analytical techniques when designing simulation studies. We conclude that immersive simulations are key to ensuring ecological validity and empirically reliable research with ETs.

(From the journal abstract)

Brown, O., Power, N., & Conchie, S. M. (2020). Immersive simulations with extreme teams. Organizational Psychology Review, 10(3–4), 115–135.

Authors: Olivia Brown, Nicola Power, Stacey Conchie

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