Date of Award

5-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Major Professor

Joan R. Rentsch

Committee Members

Terry Leap, John Haas, Brent Mallinckrodt

Abstract

Rational and intuitive cognitive styles represent two typical manners of acquiring, organizing, and processing information. Rational style is data-driven, slow, and detailed. Intuitive style is feelings-driven, fast, and global. People have a stable preference for one style over the other and style underlies such processes as decision making (Leonard, Scholl, & Kowalski, 1999). The present study took the perspective that cognitive style is an individual difference upon which members of a decision making team may vary and that diversity in cognitive style is related to team processes and outcomes. Specifically, it was hypothesized that diversity in cognitive style would increase task and affective conflict, lead to lowered similarity of teammate’s cognitive representations of task information, but ultimately, improve team performance over that of less diverse teams. Teammate’s perspective taking ability was hypothesized as a moderating variable. The hypotheses were tested using three-person teams who completed a complex decision making task in a laboratory setting. Linear regression and hierarchical moderated multiple regression were used to test the hypotheses. No support was found for the hypothesized relationships. One explanation could be that the research context and task deviated too much from past research to be analogous. Several results supported previous research findings. Contributions and future research ideas are discussed.

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