We translate a theory into the practice of intelligence assessments. Following Karl Weick’s (1993) retrospective approach, the translation relies on previously published evaluations of intelligence assessment practices. Intelligence assessments are used in organizations to inform leaders of threats and opportunities. The theory we apply describes how an intelligence analyst learns through dialogue during the practice of conducting an intelligence assessment, and it consists of four learning archetypes: cooperative, focused, survival, and reflective. The theory is based on the differential effects on learning caused by the interaction between information overload and equivocality. We use the role of dialogue in the theory as a way to compare two different practice contexts: national security and law enforcement. We offer three contributions: First, we find that the final stage of the practice—the review process—should occur organizationally where authoring analysts and their senior analyst reviewers reside. Second, we find that equivocality has differential effects on dialogue: In low equivocality conditions (cooperative and focused learning), hierarchical structures affect dialogue; and in high equivocality conditions (survival and reflective learning), organizational politics affect dialogue. Third, we identify a benefit of and a challenge in retrospective translation studies.
Wolfberg, Adrian and Dixon, Nancy M.
"Learning through Dialogue during Intelligence Assessments: A Translation of Theory into Practice,"
Engaged Management ReView: Vol. 4
, Article 1.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.28953/2375-8643.1068
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