Military Leaders' Education and Training for Crisis Management Environments: Perceptions of Its Suitability for Adaptive Expertise

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Soili PAANANEN, National Defence University, Finland
The paper analyses military leaders’ perceptions of their military education and training for their missions. The main research questions are: (1) What are the military leaders’ perceptions and understandings regarding of their experiences of military education and training for their crisis management missions; (2) how do they evaluate the suitability of this preparation for their adaptive expertise? The study is based on interviews which focussed on officers with concrete command experiences in an asymmetric environment at a platoon, company or battalion level. The interviews (N=247) were conducted in 8 countries – Bulgaria (N=60), Cameroun (N=33), Denmark (N=26), Finland (N=25), Lithuania (N=4), Italy (N=43), Philippines (N=29), Spain (N=27) – by a native researcher using an identical interview protocol in every country.

The study’s theoretical underpinning is linked to the concept of adaptive expertise. Hatano & Inagaki (1986) initially conceptualized routine and adaptive expertise. Routine experts are highly efficient in a specific domain due to habitual usage of knowledge and extensive experience (Pierrakos, Anderson & Welch 2016). They are fluent in applying known schemas or procedures to familiar problems or situations in a stable environment but lack flexibility and adaptability to new problems. Adaptive expertise is built on these skills, but the difference between routine experts and adaptive experts is that the latter can adapt their previous knowledge to novel situations and become quickly accustomed to change (Hatano & Inagaki 1986).

Adaptive expertise is particularly linked to knowledge transfer and the development of expertise. This requires interaction and different forms of cooperation between education, (pre)training and work environment. The results allow us to suggest the kind of training and preparation that is necessary to meet and transcend the challenges in crisis management environments. They will also enable us to determine whether a new kind of definition of leadership is needed.