PsychNology Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, 7 – 22

A Constructive Approach to Organizational Learning in a Tactical Operations Centre

Stuart G. Grant 
Defence Research and Development Canada


Defence organizations conduct experiments to generate new concepts for fielding and employing military capabilities. These events typically involve people with different sets of expertise working collectively on complex real-world problems with the intent of generating new working methods. It is argued that constructivist learning theories are well-suited to conceptualizing defence experiments and that a constructivist approach provides useful insights to the conduct of defence experimentation. A defence experiment on the introduction of new airspace control software into a tactical operations centre is described and used to illustrate the application and benefits of a constructivist perspective. During the course of the six day long experiment, 19 military personnel operated a tactical control centre providing fire support to a simulated battle group. During the experiment the participants adapted their handling of unscheduled missions, their use of software features, and their briefing methods. Argote’s (2002) Intra-Organizational Learning Framework was used to identify the newly generated knowledge pertaining to the skill requirements of the personnel, the functionality of the command and control software, and the tactics, techniques, and procedures employed in the operations centre. The practicality, responsiveness, and efficiency of the constructivist approach to defence experimentation are discussed along with its limitations.

KEYWORDS: command and control teams; learning; training; experimentation.

Grant S. C. (2012). A Constructive Approach to Organizational Learning in a Tactical Operations Centre. PsychNology Journal, 10(1), 7 - 22. Retrieved [month] [day], [year], from

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PsychNology Journal Volume 10, Number 1