Cognitive problem solving style as related to person-vocation fit and person-organizational hierarchy level of fit

Basadur, T.M., Basadur, M.S. and Gelade, G. (2008). Cognitive problem solving style as related to person-vocation fit and person-organizational hierarchy level of fit. Presented at the Southwest Academy of Management Conference, February 24-28, Houston, TX.

Abstract

This paper reports an empirical study of person-vocation fit and person-organizational hierarchy level fit based on the construct, cognitive fit. Cognitive fit refers to the degree of match between an individual’s cognitive style of problem solving and the style demanded by the work context. Based on the analysis of 3,942 completed Creative Problem Solving Profile inventories over a broad cross section of organizations, the results support the argument that certain occupations, or vocations, do tend to favor specific cognitive problem solving styles. Additionally, the results offer evidence that the cognitive styles favored or demanded by organizations change as one’s career advances into higher levels of the organizational hierarchy. In particular the results showed that the ratio of Conceptualization cognitive style to Implementation cognitive style of organizational members increases at increasingly higher organizational hierarchical levels. These findings also lend support to research proposing that individuals can utilize adaptation to increase their fit with their work environment (Wheeler et al., 2005; Sternberg, 1997). The paper concludes with suggestions for future research.

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