Developing a Logic-of-Inquiry-for-Action Through a Developmental Framework for Making Epistemic Cognition Visible

  • Melinda Z. KalainoffEmail author
  • Matthew G. Clark
Part of the Annals of Theoretical Psychology book series (AOTP, volume 15)


Academic institutions of higher education are beginning to recognize that in order to prepare learners to be leaders in the ever-changing and ill-defined environments of the twenty-first century and thereafter that we need a new way of developing students who can think and act independently with and through the collective (i.e., others and groups of people). This ever-increasing complexity necessitates new methods for elucidating independent critical thinking skills for developing leaders in structured academic contexts that inherently must involve epistemic cognition. Further, this type of thinking cannot be focused on ill-defined ideas; it must involve a method for guided growth that leads to a logic-of-inquiry-for-action that necessarily involves flexible social constructions by, for, and through the actions and behaviors of the actors involved. This chapter proposes a new way of conceptualizing a process for building capacity for leading using theories and methodologies from various disciplines through a sociocultural and ethnographic approach as an orienting theory in a dynamic framework for constructing a logic-of-inquiry-for-action for leading in complex and ill-defined environments. This inquiry-based approach is grounded in a reflexive design: requiring stepping back from ethnocentrism, reflecting on actions and outcomes, acquiring new information if needed, and then taking informed action in an iterative, recursive, and abductive decision-making process. This process also provides an accessible and dynamic framework for individual epistemic cognition.


Epistemic cognition Reflexivity Reflexive design Framework for leading Framework for leadership Adaptive leadership Cognitive complexity 



The authors are grateful to the leaders, faculty, staff, and cadets of the United States Military Academy for informing the development of the concepts presented here and very much appreciate the assistance of Judith Green and Sherri MacWillie for reviewing and providing recommendations.

Disclaimer The views expressed here are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy position of the United States Military Academy, the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the US Government.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United States Military AcademyWest PointUSA
  2. 2.Northeastern UniversityBostonUSA

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