This article provides an overview of research into mental models in teams and discusses the relevance of this theoretical concept for design teams. Researchers in several disciplines have applied the construct of mental models to understand how people perform tasks based on their knowledge, experience and expectation. The notion has also been used to study teams and to analyse the relationship between team mental model and team performance. Five different types of mental models for studying design teams are proposed: task, process, team, competence, and context. A review the literature found only very few studies on team mental models in design-related areas. A brief overview is provided on what is known about team mental models in general, on the effect of team mental models on team performance, and on what kind of results can be transferred to design teams. A short review of measurement techniques and how they can be applied to design research is presented. Finally, implications for the field of design are discussed and a methodological framework for studying mental models in design teams is proposed.
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