The purpose of this study is to theoretically link design thinking with behavioural strategy, using empirical results that relate three cognitive dimensions: design thinking personality traits, cognitive passive resistance and linear thinking, and, consequently, determine: if there is a negative relationship between design thinking traits and cognitive passive resistance and if this relationship is mediated by linear thinking.
This study used a quantitative methodology of covariance-based structural equation modelling. The data were collected from a three-scale, self-completed questionnaire, which was constructed using the existing modelling of the academic literature. The questionnaire was validated by confirmatory factor analysis and applied to a sample of 342 professional engineering and business graduates in Colombia.
The results of the structural equation modelling demonstrate a negative relationship between design thinking traits and cognitive passive resistance, and this relationship is mediated by linear thinking. These findings link design thinking and behavioural strategy and build new foundations for future studies, providing further theoretical support to the academic literature’s discussion of the relationship between design thinking and theories of managerial practices and innovation management.
The main limitation of this study is the subjectivity of the answers because of potential bias from the respondents in completing the questionnaire. Another limitation is that the research was conducted only in the context of Colombia, so it is recommended that other studies be carried to generalise the results. This study has several theoretical implications. This study contributes to existing research on design thinking, evidencing a promising field of study to support it theoretically, such as the behavioural strategy. This study also contributes to the literature on innovation management deepening into a field of study that has received less attention in the literature, such as passive cognitive resistance to innovation. Likewise, this study presents a theoretical contribution to the dual process of cognition, proposing a new dimension to the construction of the multidimensional concept of nonlinear thinking. This study also contributes to the behavioural strategy field, evidencing a growing area of application in strategic management, such as design thinking. Finally, this research also proposes the development of a new research avenue about the concept of knowledge hiding as a possible source of innovation resistance.
This research also has implications for business and engineering education and practice. This study’s results suggest that before implementing an organisational initiative such as design thinking, which seeks to change people's behaviour, it is necessary to approach it as a cognitive process and develop strategies to mitigate passive cognitive resistance to change. This research’s results also present implications for business and engineering education, evidencing the need to include other perspectives of thinking that allow non-designers to develop creative thinking.
To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first quantitative study on design thinking as a business management concept using linear thinking of non-designers to relate design thinking traits with cognitive passive resistance. This research provides theoretical and empirical support for framing design thinking within the field of behavioural strategy.
Giraldo Ospina, J.M. and Guevara Sánchez, D.E. (2022), "Design thinking traits and cognitive passive resistance: mediating effect of linear thinking", Management Research Review, Vol. 45 No. 9, pp. 1155-1184. https://doi.org/10.1108/MRR-11-2021-0803
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