Teamwork is notably essential in a variety of business settings in order to maintain effective functioning. As example, businesses with potential huge losses from poor health and safety attitudes such as aviation and medical industries need teamwork to co-ordinate and establish safety at work every day.

"Shared mental models" (Jonker et al, 2011) is well known within literature to explain the functioning of team work. Essentially what this points towards is the large impact that a lack of understanding between team members on the end goals of a task or their own roles within the task subsequently playing a large part on the effectiveness of the team.

Within my studies, we paralleled this concept to a court room scenario within "12 angry men" and how only when shared mental models were being produced did the situation become clarified and allow for a productive meeting.

In parallel to the business environment, to improve performance we must ensure that all team members have an understanding of the goals that we are mutually seeking to achieve and their own roles within this. To improve our safety culture, we must introduce an element of camaraderie and teamwork, by working in collaboration and gaining an understanding of the role we each play. 

This is as an effective safety culture cannot be solely placed on one person's shoulders, nor can it be evolved from one conversation. Continuous conversations and building trust within the workforce is something that i believe will go far for enhancing safety culture. By building on teamwork and ownership of safety, you build on the involvement they see their own actions as having a part within the safety culture. In addition, this is likely to improve communication competencies that will result from an increased effort of co-operation and communication.  

 

Emmanuelle Sangster, Editor

Acting Up Ltd.


Reference: Jonker, C., Van Riemsdijk, M. and Vermeulen, B. (2011). Shared Mental Models. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp.132-151.