Multi-operator contesting teams and sleep deprivation


Sleep deprivation also impacts the productivity and performance of teams. This, from Bob Sutton, in Sleep Deprivation and Group Performance. While the point of view of sleep deprivation is on business teams, I think it directly applies to ham radio multi-operator contesting teams as well. Especially those that have not operated together often enough to bond as a team.

Not much research has been done on sleep deprivation and teams, so the article he cites is both ground-breaking and needs more confirmation. The article is not linked (it’s an academic article, so I don’t think it is on-line…), but the basic points are these:

  • The individual impact of sleep deprivation — “reduced ability to process information, reduced ability to learn and perform novel tasks, irritability, and impatience” — disrupt team performance as well.
  • If the team is set up as a hierarchy, overcoming the leader’s errors is very difficult.
  • “…when people on a team are sleep deprived — regardless of their personalities — the resulting irritability and grumpiness is likely (regardless of personality) to cause the kind of nasty interpersonal conflict associated with poor performance and decision-making”

If you have operated on a multi-operator contesting team, even a team of two in the middle of a Saturday night of contesting, you’ve seen these effects in play.

Has sleep deprivation distrupted your multi-op team?

  • heh.. I will say one thing, we worked a multi-op portable setup for INQP this past weekend and while I won’t lay claim to any errors on our part due to being worn out (hi hi), I did notice a lot more dupes as the late hours went on. Granted, this could be due to the fact that more contacts are already in the log as you go on, but one station duped us 3 times in the late hours. 🙂

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