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Keyser Soze and Organizational Learning

I watched The Usual Suspects again last week. I just love this movie. This time around I couldn't help linking the way Keyser Soze, Kevin Spacey's character, conjured up the story in the interrogation room with the way experts make sense of novel situations. In the movie, Keyser Soze, one of the two survivors of a waterfront massacre, is grilled by a police officer. The interrogation takes place in a police officer's room which has the usual information snippets, newspaper clips and mug shots stuck all over the walls. Soze, the real crook in the movie, uses all the information available in that room to spin a believable story and finally manages to convince the officer of his innocence. This is the same way experts make sense of situations. (Stop your inductive reasoning here: all experts are not crooks!) They use their experience base to interpret the information around them to mentally play out a story. And if the mental story makes sense, they act it out. If it does not make sense, then they revise to balance it out till it does. This entire sensemaking happens in a few seconds or a few minutes timeframe. If Keyser Soze were a novice con man, he would have found it difficult to interpret the information around him, let alone spin a story around it. Here

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