Sensemaking and Coordinating Under Duress: Communication, Emotions and Identity in the Stockwell Shooting



In this presentation, I analyse and theorise about real-time data from an anti-terrorist police operation that led to the accidental shooting of an innocent civilian. I focus in particular on how individual actors framed their circumstances in communication with one another and how this affected their subsequent interpretations and actions as events unfolded. This analysis reveals, first, how the collective commitment to a framing of a civilian as a terrorist suicide bomber was built up and reinforced across episodes of collective sensemaking. Whilst erroneous, this commitment facilitated coordination under duress. Second, I demonstrate how this commitment was reinforced by strong emotions and by salient professional identities of the police officers involved. Based on this analysis, I draw out a process model of sensemaking and coordination under duress.