Making Sense of Chaos: Teaching Strategy Using Case Studies


Political Science and International Affairs

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



The purpose of this chapter is to examine how case study methodology can provide an effective vehicle for teaching strategy and strategic decision making to military professionals. After an introduction to the concept of strategy, I examine in some detail the cognitive frames that inform strategic decisionmaking. Specifically, I discuss the importance of heuristic shortcuts as cognitive decision guides, and compare the rational actor decision model that has traditionally informed strategic decision making in the military with a sense-making framework more suitable to complex strategic environments. Finally, I provide a brief introduction to the case study method and illustrate how case studies can be employed effectively to teach strategy in senior PME settings.