Sensemaking and decision-making in a joint military context: The role of translating, verifying and prioritizing information
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This article, based on fieldwork during a military exercise in Norway, analyzes how new technology is used in joint operations by military personnel and how it is connected to sense-making and decision-taking. The authors' ethnography suggests that knowledge of multiple terminologies and procedures provides a frame of reference that facilitates such processes. Knowledge of different areas of expertise is used as a resource in three important communication strategies : translation (sharing information with members of other military services using the “tribal language” of the receiving unit) ; verification (assuring the correctness of that technical information); and prioritizing (in a situation in which new technology generated information overload). The findings go beyond the traditional sense-making perspective in that they point to the importance of diverse methods and skills as a resource in sense-making and decision-taking. Practically, the authors suggest that cross-training in different services' procedures and language can be important also at lower tactical levels to facilitate joint collaboration related to the use of new technology.
Valaker, Sigmund; Danielsen, Tone. Sensemaking and decision-making in a joint military context: The role of translating, verifying and prioritizing information. Res Militaris 2018