Setting the Business Expertise Series Free - Commoncog

I have two announcements today.

The first requires a wee bit of setup. About two years ago, I stumbled onto Naturalistic Decision Making (NDM) researcher Lia DiBello’s work on the expertise of business. A summary of her findings was tucked away in a chapter of The Oxford Handbook of Expertise, which I’d bought on a lark. And what DiBello and her collaborators had discovered was extremely compelling: all good businesspeople, regardless of industry, share the same mental model of business. Sure, the specifics of this model vary from industry to industry, but the structure of the expertise remains the same.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Comments for this are hidden due to the site design for this post, I’m posting this reply so that it shows up as visible in the forums.

I will have to do more reading on NDM and DiBello’s work. My limited understanding is that it shares many similarities with recognition primed decision making (RPDM) by Gary Klien which emphasizes the role of intuition and past experience, particularly through pattern recognition in decision-making for domains where a decision needs to be made in a high stakes environment with limited time (Fire, Military, Emergency Response).

Similar to NDM for business, we often discuss RPDM for training expertise in the Fire Service, to address low-frequency high-risk events that could kill firefighters. The concept is that humans make snap decisions on limited data. When this combines with events that are high risk, with limited decision consideration time, and it is an incident with low frequency, the potential for a bad outcome increases drastically. This consideration of RPDM is used to focus our training time towards low-frequency high-risk incident practice to build expertise and allow fire ground commanders to have the knowledge to rely on to avoid bad outcomes.

While I was familiar with RPDM for emergency scene decision-making processes, I will need to look more into NDM for administrative business decision-making in the building of expertise in my chief officers.

1 Like