San Diego State University Department of Psychology
Jeffrey M. Conte

Conte, J. M., & Jacobs, R. R. (1997). Redundant systems influences on performance. Human Performance, 10, 361-380.

Traditional views on redundant (i.e., back-up) systems have adopted an engineering perspective, which suggests that there is a direct, linear relationship between the number of these systems and safety.  In contrast, the present study adopted a social psychological perspective, which suggests that the motivation and performance of an individual in a redundant system is affected by that individual's perception of the reliability and accuracy of the other elements in the system.  This study examined the influence of one's position in a redundant system on subsequent performance during a routine error-checking task.  Results indicated that redundant systems can work to enhance or obscure accountability, depending on the status of the redundant system.  Further, accountability can increase performance in terms of both the quality of work (accuracy) and the quantity of work (time on task).  Implications of the findings and future research directions are discussed. (Copyright 1997, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.).