Cohesion in human–autonomy teams: an approach for future research

Cohesion is an important property of teams that can affect individual teammates and team outcomes. However, cohesion in teams that include autonomous systems as teammates is an underexplored topic. We examine the extant literature on cohesion in human teams, then build on that foundation to advance the understanding of cohesion in human–autonomy teams, both similarities and differences. We describe team cohesion, the various definitions, factors, dimensions and associated benefits and detriments. We discuss how that element may be affected when the team includes an autonomous teammate with each description. Finally, we identify specific factors of human–autonomy interaction that may be relevant to cohesion, then articulate future research questions critical to advancing science for effective human–autonomy teams. Relevance Statement: The human team literature has provided a foundation onto which human–autonomy team research can build, but the team dynamics, and subsequent states, established in multi-human teams are expected to differ in human–autonomy teams. This manuscript focuses on cohesion, one such state and synthesises elements of human team cohesion and human–autonomy interaction to detail expectations for cohesion in human–autonomy teams. These expectations can serve as a launch point for future research.
Shan G. Lakhmani, Catherine Neubauer, Andrea Krausman, Sean M. Fitzhugh, Samantha K. Berg, Julia L. Wright, Ericka Rovira, Jordan J. Blackman & Kristin E. Schaefer (2022) Cohesion in human–autonomy teams: an approach for future research, Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science, 23:6, 687-724, DOI: 10.1080/1463922X.2022.2033876