Information behavior in dynamic group work contexts: interwoven situational awareness, dense social networks and contested collaboration in command and control

Diane H Sonnenwald, Linda G Pierce
2000 Information Processing & Management  
In many dynamic work situations, no single individual can acquire the varied and often rapidly expanding information needed for success. Individuals must work together to collect, analyze, synthesize and disseminate information throughout the work process. Perhaps one of the most dynamic work contexts is command and control in the military at the battalion level which directs 300 to 1000 soldiers on the battle®eld. This paper reports on a study that explores human information behavior in
more » ... and control (C2). Data was gathered from simulated battle exercises, interviews with experienced C2 personnel and documentation on C2. During data analysis, three important themes that highlight the why, what, how and consequences of information behavior in C2 emerged. The ®rst is the concept of interwoven situational awareness consisting of individual, intragroup and intergroup shared understanding of the situation. Interwoven situational awareness appears to facilitate response to dynamic, constraint-bound situations. The second theme describes the need for dense social networks or frequent communication between participants about the work context and situation, the work process and domain-speci®c information. The third theme is called'contested collaboration', a phenomenon where team members maintain an outward stance of cooperation but work to further their own interests, at times sabotaging the collaborative eort. These results provide insights to the complex nature of human information behavior in dynamic and complex work contexts and lead to recommendations for training and further research. #
doi:10.1016/s0306-4573(99)00039-4 fatcat:3wmyqdfhzvaodohmlma36bgzmq