Smart, Paul R
Understanding and Shared Understanding in Military Coalitions.
Shared understanding is commonly seen as essential to the success of coalition operations, and current research efforts are attempting to develop techniques and technologies to improve shared understanding in coalition military contexts. In spite of this, our understanding of what the term ‘shared understanding’ actually means is surprisingly poor. In part, this problem is attributable to the difficulty in comprehending the true nature of understanding itself, although confusions also arise about the precise nature of the differences between shared understanding and ostensibly similar constructs, such as shared mental models and shared situation awareness. This paper discusses a number of issues associated with understanding and shared understanding. The paper begins with an attempt to identify what the notions of understanding and shared understanding might mean. It then attempts to distinguish understanding and shared understanding from ostensibly similar constructs, such as shared situation awareness, shared mental models and team sensemaking. Subsequent sections of the report discuss the potential importance of shared understanding to military coalitions, approaches to measuring and representing shared understanding, and future research to further our understanding of the factors that influence shared understanding in military coalition contexts.
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