The purpose of submarines is to patrol the world’s oceans to act as a formidable deterrent, gather intelligence, undertake surveillance and carry out reconnaissance missions. The submarine command team are responsible for the safe and effective operation of the submarine. The team must process large amounts of tactical information from the submarines sensors, assesses the information, and makes decisions on how to proceed. To do so each person of the team must carry out their own tasks whilst working with each other to meet shared, common goals. This research is fundamentally about team work and the factors that influence team performance.

A team comprises of individuals working towards a common goal, and who have tasks which are dependent on the efforts of other team members.

Team effectiveness can be a result of (1) the team inputs such as individual knowledge, team composition and organisational characteristics, and (2) the cognitive states which emerge as a result of the interplay between individuals.

Teamwork is important in control rooms where there is a reliance on accurate knowledge and effective communication. Control rooms such as those found in aviation, oil and gas, public transport, shipping, and manufacturing, are examples where individuals have specific goals, but also rely on others to achieve a common goal. Increasingly these environments require both human and technical agents (machines) to detect, compile and communicate large amounts of information in order to achieve the overall goal. This describes a sociotechnical system.

The research explores team cognition and team performance within complex sociotechnical systems using a submarine control room paradigm. The 2020 – 2021 series of experiment will be specifically exploring the use of visual information.