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Study shows how cognitive style and personality of leaders determine what they are good at

Human Resource Management International Digest

ISSN: 0967-0734

Article publication date: 2 August 2019

Issue publication date: 9 August 2019




The authors wanted to find out if they could establish a connection between the cognitive styles and also the personality traits of managers and the roles they were best at.


They tested a series of six hypotheses on 101 managers and senior managers in diverse leadership roles in India. The four major types of cognitive style were intuitive thinking (NT), sensing thinking (ST), intuitive feeling (NF) and sensing feeling (SF). Meanwhile, the Big Five personality traits were openness to experience (O), extraversion (E), consciousness (C), agreeableness (A), and neuroticism (N). Finally, the three categories of leadership roles were identity work, institutional work, and integrative work.


The data from 101 managers in diverse industries found that an “intuitive feeling” cognitive style is suitable for identity work, whereas an “intuitive thinking” style works well for integrative work. Meanwhile, “openness to experience” and “conscientiousness” are correlated positively with identity work. “Conscientiousness” was also the most important trait for managers doing institutional work, but “agreeableness” had a negative effect on both institutional and identity work.


The authors said that no previous researchers had measured the impact of personality and cognitive style on work types. They said it was important for organizations to make sure they found the right roles for their managers depending on their individual characteristics.



(2019), "Study shows how cognitive style and personality of leaders determine what they are good at", Human Resource Management International Digest, Vol. 27 No. 6, pp. 7-9.



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