Processes in complex team problem-solving: Parsing and defining the theoretical problem space

Stephen M. Fiore, Michael Rosen, Eduardo Salas, Shawn Burke, Florian Jentsch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Historically, when studying a given phenomenon, scientists typically focus on either a fine-grained level of analysis or a broad conceptualization of the issues associated with their domain of study. The former approach is characterized as a micro-level approach, whereas the latter is described as a macro-level approach. More recently, researchers have suggested that the scientific community needs to attend to inter-relations among these levels. The goal is to better understand the coupling among these levels so as to better clarify their interactions and the impact of each level on the other (Liljenström and Svedin 2005). In this chapter we discuss one such current conceptualization, that of the term macrocognition and its related concepts. This chapter represents an extension of some of the prior theorizing on macrocognition where the term is used to capture cognition in collaborative contexts (Warner, Letsky and Cowen 2005) and encompasses both internalized and externalized processes occurring during team interaction. These processes include not only internalized individual processes such as mental model development, but also externalized processes such as solution alternative negotiation (see Letsky, Warner, Fiore, Rosen and Salas 2007). We take the next step in this definitional exercise and consider a refinement of definitions from the literature. Specifically, we attempt to reify them within the context of what Letksy et al. (2007) have described as internalized and externalized cognition. Further, we attempt to describe these not only sequentially, but also dynamically and iteratively, in order to more clearly convey the inter-relations among macrocognitive processes as teams work through the problem-solving process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMacrocognition in Teams
Subtitle of host publicationTheories and Methodologies
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781317102854
ISBN (Print)9781138076358
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Psychology


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