Sensemaking in a Combat Support Headquarters

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15-1-5.jpg

Sensemaking in a Combat Support Headquarters

9.95

Author(s): Chris Baber; Russell Bond; Richard McMaster
No pages: 8
Year: 2012
Article ID: 15-1-5
Keywords: combat support, human factors, logistics, problem solving, sensemaking, training and analysis
Format: Electronic (PDF)

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Abstract: This paper presents an exploration of sensemaking in response to disruptions to logistics networks. Observations were conducted with two deployments of a UK Combat Support Headquarters during their pre-deployment exercises between October 2010 and November 2011. This research identified that the resolution of disruptions is primarily a framing problem—that is, it is principally concerned with the definition of the ‘problem space’. Sensemaking for problem solving is a collaborative process; even seemingly simple problems are rarely solved by a single specialist or branch—many require multi-branch input, both for framing and solution development. Problem solving therefore becomes an issue of transactive memory regarding the social network of the headquarters (that is, knowing who to talk to) rather than merely one of direct access to information (that is, knowing what information to look for or where to find it). This implies that Information Management is more than the effective use of technology but must also consider the Human Factors associated with the manner in which information is captured and shared. To this end, a wide range of artefacts is shown to support sensemaking activity, by representing the current state of the problem space and by functioning as resources for action—cueing frame seeking and frame-defined data collection. Suggestions are made for improving collaborative sensemaking within the Combat Support Headquarters.