Characteristics of Sense-Making in Combat - Oxford Handbooks
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date: 25 November 2015

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores characteristics of sense-making in actual combat. We begin by examining the “booting up” and “rebooting” metaphors. These concepts denote a process through which commanders understand that their notion of the fighting requires adaptation. In hectic and often desperate situations, involving intense emotions and confusion, they must realize that their original frame may no longer be valid. We then explore creativity in combat, as signified by constant and free thinking. Successful commanders were focused on both the immediate task and the overall context of a fight. Finally, we look at the detrimental consequences of failing to make sense, namely, lack of participation in combat, freezing, or the repetition of futile and harmful actions.

Keywords: Sense-making, combat behavior, performance under stress, emotions, counterinsurgency

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