Why Military Organizations Are Cautious About Learning
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2020

This article argues that military organizations display a more rigorous form of collective sensemaking than ordinary bureaucratic organizations. Military organizing is predicated on the rigorous modes of thinking and acting that follow from the particular military propensity to impose order on chaos. This trait is antithetical to modern notions of “the learning organization,” in which exploring variety and experimenting and testing out unproven methods are central. We identify two sets of structural conditions that constitute the sociocognitive landscape of military organizations and discuss how the military logic of action might be enacted in different sociocultural contexts. Our framework is brought to bear on recent research on international military missions, and in the concluding section, we summarize our arguments and discuss their wider implications in terms of trade-offs between adaptability and other capabilities in the design of military forces.

international missions

military logic of action

military organization

learning organizations


Hans Hasselbladh

Örebro universitet

Karl Ydén

Chalmers, Mekanik och maritima vetenskaper, Maritima studier

Armed Forces and Society

0095-327X (ISSN)

Vol. 46 3 475-494


Sociologi (exklusive socialt arbete, socialpsykologi och socialantropologi)

Statsvetenskap (exklusive studier av offentlig förvaltning och globaliseringsstudier)



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