Individual actors, groups, and organizations may be caught by surprise either if something entirely new is happening or if something familiar is happening in an unexpected or in an untimely manner, requiring immediate action. Such occurs in innovative contexts, in crisis situations, or even when working on routine tasks. In this paper, we explore the impact of training for coping with both types of these surprises. More specifically, we focus on extensive training of rules and behavioural patterns, labelled as ?drill?.
At first sight, drill, by its repetitive and non-reflective manner, may appear detrimental in search for novel solutions, for new tactics, and for behavioural patterns to cope with unexpected events. It may promote rigid rule following with potential harmful results. Drill, however, may be a necessary preparation for quick action, for adaptation of rules, or for application of rules and trained behavioral patterns in novel situation, labelled as exaptation (Andriani, Ali, and Mastrogiorgio, 2017; Gould and Vrba, 1982). The main aim of our research is to inquire into conditions and supplements for drill to move from mere adaptation to exaptation in events involving different forms of surprise.
We start by defining variants of drill, especially ?pre-aptative drill? in contrast to ?pure drill? and by reviewing literature on training and its impact on rule following and behavioral patterns. This forms the basis for our qualitative study of military officers, their training and their behaviors in crisis situations. As a result, we propose a model which links variants of drill to modes of dealing with surprising, unexpected events and with patterns of behaviour in unexpected and unprepared for situations and their ?assumed? potential outcomes. Finally, we discuss the generalizing of our model especially to organizational and innovation contexts, where high levels of ambiguity and uncertainty are pertinent.