Crisis management teams have the duty to perform immediately, reliably and effectively in case of an emergency, crisis or disaster. The teams are composed of members who are diverse in expertise, experience, parent organisation and familiarity. This makes these teams ad hoc multidisciplinary action teams that have to function as a team and perform in a reliable and effective way as quickly as possible. Our expectation is that team learning is very important for establishing this team performance. In this paper, we develop a broad model of how this team learning occurs in crisis management teams, especially in the operational crisis management team. In summary, we state that reliable and effective performance in these teams requires connectivity about the task and team (i.e., available knowledge and opinions are shared using communication, leading to shared visions and intentions). This connectivity can be established by using team-learning behaviour and face-to-face-communication and developing a Transactive Memory System (TMS), a shared situational awareness, shared mental models of the task and team and a model for how to cooperate in this team. Can this team learning be influenced to improve performance? This is the general question underlying the PhD project that we started in the summer of 2007 at Leiden University.
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