Accession Number:



Dereliction of Operational Expertise: How Self-Efficacy Shapes Decisionmaking

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Technical Report,25 Jun 2018,23 May 2019

Corporate Author:

US Army School of Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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In 1995, LtGenR Paul Van Riper pitted bankers against US Marine Corps generals in two contests a stock exchange simulation and a wargame. The venture capitalists won both exercises, beating standing operational leaders that represented decades of deployment and experience. LtGenR Van Riper believed that the money managers success stemmed from resiliency and confidence in ambiguous situations. Learning from this failure, the US Army may be able to increase operational leader effectiveness by fostering self-efficacy confidence in relation to observed ability. A literature review discusses the doctrine and theory behind how commanders discern the environment, learn as adults, and explains how leaders make rapid decisions during execution. Human subjects research replicates the general aspects of the 1995 wargame, now modified for play between instructors from the US Army Command and General Staff College and civilian recreational board-gamers. Information collected explores the validity of LTGR Van Ripers claim while simultaneously measuring confidence levels. The discussion describes the impact of confidence on leader cognitive functions when making rapid decisions. Recommendations provide options on utilizing self-efficacy in leader development.

Subject Categories:

  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Psychology
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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