Problem Solving in a Distributed Collaborative Environment: The Necessity of Shared Knowledge within the Air Traffic Management System

Jodi Heinz Obradovich and Philip J. Smith

The investigation described in this paper is situated within the context of the United States Air Traffic Management (ATM) System. The study included eight dyads engaged in a specific collaborative problem-solving task focusing on inefficiencies in the ATM system. The investigation focuses on how problem solving proceeds when the team members are from two distinct yet interdependent organizations with unique knowledge and expertise, are spatially distributed, have a shared display available to them, and must communicate by telephone rather than face to face. The findings reported here include results of an analysis of the verbal interaction behavior of each dyad with particular focus on the proposal of solutions to the problem task and the sharing of uniquely held knowledge that was necessary to create an environment of shared understanding between the dyad partners.

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