Our study aims to contribute to an enhanced understanding of how cognitive styles, being individual preferences for perceiving and processing information, influence managerial behaviour using a qualitative approach. Based on content analysis of written testimonies of 100 managers, we found interesting differences between managers with a knowing, planning, and creating style with regard to both task-oriented behaviour (decision making) and people-oriented behaviour (conflict management, interpersonal relationships). Although the tasks of different managers are largely the same, our study demonstrates that not all managers execute their job in the same way. Our results complement previous quantitative research on the link between cognitive styles and managerial behaviour. Although there is a wide theoretical and empirical interest in cognitive styles, qualitative studies that might provide further support to the practical relevance of cognitive styles for organisations is currently lacking. Because of the pivotal role of strong management and executive leadership on employee attitudes and financial performance, it is important to better understand the manager's characteristics. Our results may contribute to increased managerial self-awareness about the impact of their individual preferences on their management style. Keywords: cognitive styles, managerial job, qualitative study
The aim of the paper is to explore the learning mode of small business owners, from a theoretical stance, and based on empirical evidence. We distinguish between the required learning mode, the actual learning mode and the supported learning mode. Data were collected using the focus group method in a very heterogeneous sample of Belgian small business owners. The results indicate several gaps between the required, actual and supported learning modes, of which many are due to unawareness of learning needs and lack of reflective learning among small business owners. The data also indicate among others that solutions to fill learning gaps proposed in the literature are not applicable to all owners, e.g. not all owners are able to learn through networks. Keywords: Belgium, learning capability, learning mode, learning gaps, learning process, learning support, reflective learning, research paper, small business owners, focus groups
The aim of this study was to get more insight into what typifies Flemish entrepreneurs. We compared entrepreneurs with non-entrepreneurs for five traits (tolerance for ambiguity, self-efficacy, proactive personality, locus of control, need for achievement) and for cognitive styles. Additionally, we used these trait and cognitive characteristics to predict variances in entrepreneurial orientation (EO). Whereas the link between EO and organizational performance has been studied intensively, the examination of possible antecedents of EO remains a white space. We found that entrepreneurs (N = 177) score significantly higher on all traits than non-entrepreneurs (N = 60). For the cognitive styles (measured with the Cognitive Style Indicator), we found that non-entrepreneurs score higher on the knowing and planning style. No differences were found for the creating style. With regard to the link between the entrepreneur's profile and EO, we found a significant contribution of tolerance for ambiguity and proactive personality to EO. Keywords: traits, cognitive styles, entrepreneurial orientation, entrepreneurs versus non-entrepreneurs
Van den Broeck, Herman; Vanderheyden, Karlien; Cools, Eva (Vlerick Business School, 2003)
Cognitive styles gained prominence in organizational behavior and management literature during the last decades. Researchers studied cognitive styles in relationship to various concepts and from various points of view. Different authors developed their own instruments of assessment to identify differences in cognitive styles. However, this theoretical and empirical pluralism makes the field of cognitive styles rather confusing and leads to inconsistent measurement results. Several authors try to create order in the diverse field by integration of the different theories. With this state of affairs in mind, the purpose of this article is twofold. Firstly, we attempt to demarcate and define succintly the field of cognitive style research. Secondly, we want to present our research on cognitive styles, which led tot the development of the Cognitive Style Inventory (CoSI). We are currently finalising the validation and cross-validation of our self-report questionnaire. The theoretical background of the questionnaire is presented. Because of the usefulness of the cognitive style concept for organizations, clarification of the research field and the development of a useful questionnaire to measure individual differences in cognitive styles are necessary.
Kondakci, Yasar; Van den Broeck, Herman; Devos, Geert (2006)
The purpose of this paper is to elaborate on the internationalization process in higher education as an organizational level managerial issue. This approach brings a new perspective to internationalization in higher education. This is believed to be a necessary step toward filling a gap in the internationalization of higher education discussions. Nevertheless, the purpose of the study is not to falsify the dominant discussion in the literature. Rather, adopting the organizational change process conceptualization, this paper aims to fill a gap in the ongoing discussion on internationalization in the literature. To do this, the authors adopted the commonly accepted organizational change model of Burke and Litwin (1992) and made a comprehensive discussion on both transformational (external environment, mission and strategy, leadership, and organizational culture) and transactional (structure, task requirements and individual skills, individual needs and values, motivation, management practices, systems, climate) domains of the model from the perspective of internationalization in higher education. This approach is expected to clarify process, content, and context aspects of internationalization, which is essential for successful internationalization implementation.
Devos, Geert; Van den Broeck, Herman; Vanderheyden, Karlien (Vlerick Business School, 2002)
Major organizational changes yield limited success. Failure of change is frequently due to a lack of commitment and motivation of the employees who have to implement the change. In this paper a framework is developed in which employees' emotional involvement and their commitment to change is explained by change process variables and internal context variables. The process variables refer to the different aspects organizations have to follow in implementing fundamental changes. The internal context variables are located at the organizational, work unit and individual level. We found that emotional involvement is an important mediating variable between change process and context variables and commitment to change. To explore the merits of this framework, we studied the perceptions of employees involved in major changes of different organizations. Results indicated that the organization's change history, jobsatisfaction, participation in the change process, availability of time and emotional involvement are important variables in understanding commitment to change. Study findings are discussed and implications for research and theory-building are suggested. Key words: organizational change, commitment, emotional involvement
Van den Broeck, Herman; Vanderheyden, Karlien; Cools, Eva (Vlerick Business School, 2003)
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between cognitive styles and values. Cognitive styles and values are both frequently studied domains, but the relationship between these concepts has been investigated rarely. Individuals increasingly become points of reference in the shaping of values and attitudes. Moreover, people are confronted with more alternatives. Hence, cognitive styles are becoming more important, since they are the vehicles for choosing relevant information and for building our value system. To study differences in cognitive styles the profoundly investigated analytic-holistic dimension was used. Examination of values was based on the theory of Schwarz (1992, 1994). 15,616 Belgian citizens filled out our self-developed questionnaire. The results revealed different value patterns for analytic and holistic thinkers, indicating that analytic people were more conservative, while holistic people were more open to change. Moreover, two types of analytic thinkers (knowing and planning style) were identified, each attaching importance to different values. As to the dimension of self-transcendence versus self-enhancement, a significant difference was found between the two types of analytic thinkers, as well as between analytic and holistic individuals. Keywords: cognitive styles, values, individual differences
Bouckenooghe, Dave; Van den Broeck, Herman; Cools, Eva; Vanderheyden, Karlien (2005)
In this article we reopen the search for those features that distinguish entrepreneurs from non-entrepreneurs. Because the trait psychology approach failed to fulfill this promise the cognitive psychology approach was adopted. The exploration of cognitive styles among 497 entrepreneurs and 521 non-entrepreneurs in Flanders distinguishes six profiles: omnipotent thinkers, lazy thinkers, pacesetters, experts, inventors, and implementors. A comparison of both groups yields differences in the prevalence of inventors and implementors. We find significantly more inventors in the group of entrepreneurs and significantly more implementors in the group of non-entrepreneurs. Finally, the results of this study also indicate that entrepreneurs may differ in the cognitive style profiles they hold. Keywords: cognitive styles, entrepreneurs, non-entrepreneurs, cluster analysis
There is currently considerable interest in the key elements of person-environment fit to understand vocational behaviour and to develop strategic human resource management practices. In the light of this interest, we wanted (1) to investigate with the new Cognitive Style Indicator whether people within similar functions have similar cognitive styles, and (2) to examine the consequences of cognitive (mis)fit on three work attitudes. We used two large-scale databases (N = 24,267 and N = 2,182) to address these issues. We identified mainly a knowing-oriented cognitive climate in finance, information technology (IT), and research and development (R&D) functions, a planning-oriented cognitive climate in administrative and technical and production functions, and a creating-oriented cognitive climate in sales and marketing functions and general management. Furthermore, our findings demonstrated that people with a creating style show more job search behaviour and intention to leave than people with a planning style, irrespective of the cognitive climate they are working in. We contribute to increased understanding of the influence of cognitive styles on organisational behaviour and work attitudes. This study is relevant for selection and recruitment policies of organisations and in the context of training, job design, and workforce planning.
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