Insight into interaction between team members leads to better performance

New research project on cognitive styles

How do people cooperate in a team? What makes a good team? Many trainees have gained a better understanding of their own and their co-workers’ behaviour through our Cognitive Style Indicator, or CoSI®, developed by Professor Herman Van den Broeck and his team. “But companies want practical tools that are relevant in an international context as well,” Herman says. “And that’s why we’re looking for individuals and companies to partner in this new research project on cognitive styles. We’re aiming to have 20 individuals and two companies.” What can you expect? You will be able to compose better balanced teams and increase co-worker understanding and appreciation of other team members, which will manifest in an improvement of the quality of the decisions teams take, and therefore also in their performance.

Your cognitive style determines your behaviour and performance

Today’s workplace is all about processing the (overload of) information we are continuously confronted with, and consequently the need to expeditiously take the right decisions. Cognitive styles are the consistent and innate preferences individuals display when organising and processing information. As such, these styles influence individual behaviour and performance. One person may judge something as boring, whilst someone else may find that very same thing captivating. One colleague may consider particular information very useful, whereas another may adjudge it as mere anecdotic detail.

In order to understand the impact of cognitive styles upon our daily work behaviour, we embarked on a journey of exploring this intriguing field. Following upon an extensive literature review and well-focused research, we developed a unique theoretical model and measurement instrument – the Cognitive Style Indicator®.

Four basic cognitive styles play a key-role in this model: fact-finding, planning, creating and co-operating. Depending on the dominance of one or more of these basic styles, a person will display a preference for particular ways of dealing with facts and figures, planning, creativity and cooperating with others. The majority of co-workers score high on a combination of two basic styles, which translates to six profiles: expert, inventor, adviser, go-getter, accomplisher and pacesetter.

What happens when people work together?

These preferences characterise a person’s unique value within a team. Consequently, failure to appreciate the logic related to cognitive styles makes hiring and the coaching of co-workers a daunting task. Composing teams without taking cognitive styles into account is therefore fraught with risk.

The Cognitive Style Indicator® increases your insight into how people differ and how they complement each other in their working environments. When we understand each other’s cognitive style this not only helps to improve interpersonal relations, but, as a consequence, also improves the performance of teams and of the organisation. By respecting diverse cognitive styles, sound problem-solving and creative thinking is enhanced, and the organisation’s flexibility to cope with change is simultaneously improved.

Interested in joining our new research project on cognitive styles? Contact us for detailed information or read more on the new Knowledge Centre on Cognitive Styles.



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