Personal values and crew compatibility: results from a 105 days simulated space mission
Bye, Hege Høivik
Sandal, Gro Mjeldheim
Van de Vijver, Alphonsius Josephus Rachel
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On a mission to Mars the crew will experience high autonomy and inter-dependence. “Groupthink”, known as a tendency to strive for consensus at the cost of considering alternative courses of action, represents a potential safety hazard. This paper addresses two aspects of “groupthink”: the extent to which confined crewmembers perceive increasing convergence in personal values, and whether they attribute less tension to individual differences over time. It further examines the impact of personal values for interpersonal compatibility. These questions were investigated in a 105-day confinement study in which a multinational crew (N=6) simulated a Mars mission. The Portrait of Crew Values Questionnaire was administered regularly to assess personal values, perceived value homogeneity, and tension attributed to value disparities. Interviews were conducted before and after the confinement. Multiple regression analysis revealed no significant changes in value homogeneity over time; rather the opposite tendency was indicated. More tension was attributed to differences in hedonism, benevolence and tradition in the last 35 days when the crew was allowed greater autonomy. Three subgroups, distinct in terms of personal values, were identified. No evidence for “groupthink” was found. The results suggest that personal values should be considered in composition of crews for long duration missions.