Academic journal article Journal of East European Management Studies

The Interplay between Cognitive Styles and Organisational Change *

Academic journal article Journal of East European Management Studies

The Interplay between Cognitive Styles and Organisational Change *

Article excerpt

The volatility of the business world significantly affects the relationship between economic, financial and psychological parameters. The basis of effective strategic planning is a sufficiently adequate organisational response to the assumed relevant parameters in the competitive markets environment marked by uncertainty and ill-structured problems (Spiro et al. 1988; Prahald/Hamel 1990; Canas et al. 2003; Bordia et al. 2004; Baron 2006; Santos-Alvarez et al.2012). Faced with the need to find different and new business approaches, some companies are trying to imitate successful ones, others are trying to find original, innovative solutions, and some to combine these two strategies (Barr et al. 1992; O'Reilly/Tushman 2004; Nonaka/Toyama 2002, 2005; Kleinbaum/Tushman 2007; Jansen et al. 2009; Raisch et al. 2009; Powell et al. 2011). Post-socialist economies, or economies in transition, such as Serbia, are facing the challenges of radical ownership alongside strategic, structural, personnel, technological, and cultural changes (Graber/Stark 1997; Bogicevic Milikic et al. 2008; Vukonjanski et al. 2012; Poór 2012). Generally speaking, two dominant views influence the direction of strategic actions: the "economic view," and the "cognitive view". The "economic view," assumes that industry structure has a primary influence on strategic action. The economic paradigm of organisational change is focused on economic incentives, restructuring, layoffs and reductions, and the legitimate criterion of success is measured through the value of stock markets. The "cognitive view" presupposes that managerial cognition drives strategic action. That assumption follows the principles of the cognitive approach which focuses on the psychological characteristics, skills and knowledge of the employees. The corporate culture and attitudes and behaviours of employees are crucial for the process of organisational change, and success is measured by the extent to which the organisation learns from the experience of the employees and maximizes their potentials (Schneider et al. 1996; Beer/Norhia 2000; Nadkarni/Bar 2008). We agree with the authors that the above mentioned views are related. However, in both cases the company's success largely depends on organisational and strategic flexibility.

Since organisational and strategic flexibility are important preconditions for sustained development, the cognitive approach and cognitive processes are becoming attractive fields of organisational research. As some authors point out, cognitive styles are becoming crucial for understanding organisational behaviour, since it is manifested in people's behaviour at work in areas such as leadership, interpersonal relationships, entrepreneurship, decision making, collaboration, team work, learning, exchange of knowledge, creativity, innovation etc. (SadlerSmith /Badger 1998; Nadkarni/Bar 2008; Cools et al. 2009; Armstrong et al. 2011; Santos-Álvarez et al. 2012; Durisic-Bojanovic 2013; Kozhevnikov et al. 2014). Research into cognitive style, cognitive patterns and mental models of individuals, groups and organisation, focused on two groups of questions. Firstly, the aim was to determine the connection between cognitive styles and efficiency and effectiveness in dealing with different types of tasks (Spiro et al. 1988; Rickards 1992; Boland et al. 1993; Messick 1994; Martinsen 1995; Zack 1999; Spiro et al. 2007; Vanderhyden et al. 2010; Santos-Alvarez et al. 2012), and secondly, to examine the relationship between cognitive styles and interpersonal relationships, establishing a good working atmosphere, exchange and collaboration (Teece et al. 1997; Allinson et al. 2001; Shimitzu/Hitt 2004; Van Dum et al. 2008; Cools et al. 2009).

The research which will be presented should clarify the relationship between the individual characteristics of employees and the complex processes of organisational change. More precisely, the subject of this study was to examine the relationship between individual differences in employees in terms of cognitive styles, and their readiness for organisational change. …

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