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Role of cognitive styles in business and management : reviewing 40 Years of Research

Armstrong, Steven J.; Cools, Eva; Sadler-Smith, Eugene


Steven J. Armstrong

Eva Cools

Eugene Sadler-Smith


In line with increased attention on the application of cognitive approaches to industrial, work and organizational psychology, the last 40 years have witnessed a growing interest in application of the cognitive style construct to the field of business and management. The purpose of this paper is threefold. First, we wish to advance understanding of cognitive styles research by elucidating trends and perspectives related to business and management. Second, we identify gaps in the literature and promising areas of research that can be further developed. This is accomplished by means of a review of papers published between 1969 and 2009. Eight themes emerged from our analysis: (a) vocational and occupational issues; (b) national culture; (c) teamwork and interpersonal relationships; (d) learning; (e) decision making; (f) creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship; (g) sales and marketing; and (h) management information systems, information management and use. Third, we identify valid and reliable methods of assessment of cognitive style for use in business and management settings. Finally we draw a number of conclusions regarding the current state of cognitive styles research and promising directions for future research. © 2011 British Academy of Management and Blackwell Publishing Ltd..


Armstrong, S. J., Cools, E., & Sadler-Smith, E. (2012). Role of cognitive styles in business and management : reviewing 40 Years of Research. International Journal of Management Reviews, 14(3), 238-262.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Jun 15, 2011
Publication Date 2012-09
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2014
Journal International Journal Of Management Reviews
Print ISSN 1460-8545
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 3
Pages 238-262
Keywords Management of Technology and Innovation; Strategy and Management; General Decision Sciences
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date Nov 13, 2014