This paper describes the design, implementation, and accompanying conceptual developments of a course in the behavioural sciences at the Israel Defence Forces Command and General Staff College. The objective of the course is to improve the effectiveness of the student as a problem‐solver, decision‐maker and crisis‐manager. The two basic assumptions underlying the course are: (1) That the latter objective can be achieved by helping the student put into practice certain ideas, models and methods from the areas of descriptive epistemology, problem‐solving, decision‐making under uncertainty, and decision‐making under stress; (2) That the likelihood of utilizing acquired knowledge is directly related to its concreteness and relevance. On the basis of the latter assumption, the methodology of experiential learning was adapted for teaching conceptual material. Results of final examinations indicate that the instructional method of the course is comparable to traditional methods for the purpose of teaching conceptual knowledge. It is still too early to judge its effectiveness vis à vis the more ambitious goals of the course. The experience gained in implementation revealed two problematical issues which must be resolved if these goals are to be achieved. The first issue concerns the over‐all coherence of the course, the other, the emotional reactions of resistance and defensiveness which characterized the learning process. In an attempt to resolve these issues, a new conceptual framework was developed, which embeds the subjects of problem‐solving and decision‐making within descriptive (or lay) epistemology. The framework is centred around the concept of reality images, defined as the way in which an individual perceives his external situation and internal condition, and the meanings which he selects or attributes to them. It is argued that the effectiveness of problem‐solving, decision‐making and crisis‐management are a function of the reality image construction process. Furthermore, normative models of problem‐solving and decision‐making will be utilized most effectively if they are conceived as tools for the construction of reality images. Finally, it is suggested that the most important aids for constructing reality images of high fidelity are exercising reflection and inquiry. The paper concludes with a discussion of several basic questions, raised by the course, which are relevant to the applicability of recent developments in cognitive psychology.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Management Studies
|Published - Jan 1983
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Strategy and Management
- Management of Technology and Innovation