Practical drift is defined as the unintentional adaptation of routine behaviors from written procedure. The occurrence of practical drift can result in catastrophic disaster in high-reliability organizations (e.g. the military, emergency medicine, space exploration). Given the lack of empirical research on practical drift, this research sought to develop a better understanding by investigating ways to assess and stop the process in high-reliability organizations. An introductory literature review was conducted to investigate the variables that play a role in the occurrence of practical drift in teams. Research was guided by the input-throughput-output model of team adaptation posed by Burke, Stagl, Salas, Pierce, and Kendall (2006). It demonstrates relationships supported by the results of the literature review and the Burke and colleagues (2006) model denoting potential indicators of practical drift in teams. Research centralized on the core processes and emergent states of the adaptive cycle; namely, shared mental models, team situation awareness, and coordination. The resulting model shows the relationship of procedureâ€”practice coupling demands misfit and maladaptive violations of procedure being mediated by shared mental models, team situation awareness, and coordination. Shared mental models also lead to team situation awareness, and both depict a mutual, positive relationship with coordination. The cycle restarts when an error caused by maladaptive violations of procedure creates a greater misfit between procedural demands and practical demands. This movement toward a theory of practical drift in teams provides a conceptual framework and testable propositions for future research to build from, giving practical avenues to predict and prevent accidents resulting from drift in high-reliability organizations. Suggestions for future research are also discussed, including possible directions to explore. By examining the relationships reflected in the new model, steps can be taken to counteract organizational failures in the process of practical drift in teams.
If this is your Honors thesis, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at STARS@ucf.edu
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Bisbey, Tiffany, "Toward a Theory of Practical Drift in Teams" (2014). HIM 1990-2015. 1555.