The fuzziness of mindsets

Robert P. French II (Eastern University, St. Davids, Pennsylvania, USA)

International Journal of Organizational Analysis

ISSN: 1934-8835

Publication date: 5 September 2016



The purpose of this paper is to explore conceptualizations of mindset across disciplines with particular attention to scholars’ care in defining and operationalizing the construct of mindset. Theories of mindset have witnessed increased attention through a variety of disciplines for their applicability as processes with the potential to influence individual and/or organizational outcomes. Exploration of mindset conceptualizations and characterizations reveal substantial divergences.


This conceptual paper generally examines the utilization of mindset constructs via a multidisciplinary review of literature and specifically details three mindset theories (implemental and deliberative, global and growth and fixed mindsets) to illuminate such disparities.


This paper categorizes the significant variations of the mindset construct and research via three distinct streams. Each stream highlights knowledge as instrumental in the mindset construct; however, the ways in which varying aspects of knowledge, knowledge mechanisms or knowledge as a component of an individuals and/or organization’s identity correspond to the inherent presuppositions of varying articulations of mindset theory and praxis.

Practical implications

Effectively influencing an individual and/or organization’s mindset necessitates an accurate assessment of the mindset construct. Further, evaluating the applicability of mindset research and/or feedback from a consultant warrants attention to the assumptions undergirding the mindset construct.


Generally, mindset studies and theories have scantly attended to both the historical development of mindset research as well as divergences in the research record within and across disciplines. This paper attempts to address this deficiency. Further, this paper appears to be the first attempt to compare and identify varying conceptualizations and characterizations of mindset theory and, therefore, identifies previously unidentified assumptions.



Robert P. French II (2016) "The fuzziness of mindsets", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 673-691

Download as .RIS





Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.