Towards an Understanding of Shared Understanding in Military Coalition Contexts

Smart, Paul R, Huynh, Trung Dong, Mott, David, Sycara, Katia, Braines, Dave, Strub, Michael, Sieck, Winston and Shadbolt, Nigel R (2009) Towards an Understanding of Shared Understanding in Military Coalition Contexts At 3rd Annual Conference of the International Technology Alliance (ACITA'09), United States. 23 - 24 Sep 2009.


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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 military coalition 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. In this paper, we attempt to improve our understanding of shared understanding by exploring the nature of understanding, situation awareness and mental models. Following Wittgenstein, we suggest that understanding is best conceived of as something akin to an ability, and shared understanding is, we suggest, best conceived of as the sharing of individual forms of understanding by multiple agents. We further suggest that mental models may provide a mechanistic realization for some of the performances that manifest understanding, and that situation awareness should best be seen as a particular kind of understanding, namely a dynamic form of situational understanding. In addition to discussing the nature of understanding and shared understanding, we also discuss their potential relevance to military coalition operations. We propose that shared understanding is important to coalition operations because it contributes to improvements in coalition performance, the optimal use of limited communication assets, and an improved sense of group cohesion, group solidarity and mutual trust.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Event Dates: 23rd - 24th September 2009
Venue - Dates: 3rd Annual Conference of the International Technology Alliance (ACITA'09), United States, 2009-09-23 - 2009-09-24
Keywords: Shared Understanding, Coalition Operations, Situation Awareness, Shared Mental Models, Understanding
Organisations: Web & Internet Science
ePrint ID: 267704
Date :
Date Event
23 September 2009Published
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2009 16:24
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2017 18:43
Further Information:Google Scholar

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