Organisational Learning during the Donbas War: The Development of Ukrainian Armed Forces Lessons-Learned Processes

Tom Dyson, Yuriy Pashchuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the development and performance of formal organisational learning processes in the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) during the Donbas War (2014-present). Through original empirical research conducted with UAF personnel and documentary analysis, the article develops understanding about the detail of UAF lessons-learned processes and their effectiveness in helping to recalibrate UAF activities to operational demands. The article finds that the performance of UAF lessons-learned processes during the Donbas War has, on the whole, been poor. Since the escalation of Russian aggression in 2014, some positive steps which have been taken to implement best-practices in UAF lessons-learned processes. However, the article uncovers a number of organisational activities, structures and processes which could be improved to weaken the negative impact of bureaucratic politics and organisational culture on learning. It concludes with recommendations for the further development of UAF lessons-learned processes. The article highlights the particular importance of improving the capacity of the civilian leadership to exert effective oversight of military learning and of US and NATO support for these efforts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-167
Number of pages27
JournalDefence Studies
Early online date1 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Absorptive capacity
  • Donbass War
  • Lessons-learned processes
  • Military adaptation
  • Military Learning
  • Ukrainian Armed Forces
  • Knowledge transformation
  • Neoclassical Realism

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