Original Research

Cognitive style and the interpretation of organisational change

J. Swart, L. J. van Vuuren
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 24, No 3 | a658 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v24i3.658 | © 1998 J. Swart, L. J. van Vuuren | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 June 1998 | Published: 25 June 1998

About the author(s)

J. Swart, Rand Afrikaans University, South Africa
L. J. van Vuuren, Rand Afrikaans University, South Africa

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Abstract

The ability of individuals to interpret change is considered to be a criterion for successful organisational change. Accordingly the influence of a specific infra-individual variable, i.e. cognitive style (field dependence and independence) on the sensitivity to identify change needs, was assessed. For this purpose the Organisational Change Interpretation Scale (OCIS) was constructed. The OCIS in conjunction with the Hidden Figures Test, a measure of field independence, and the Field Dependence Questionnaire, a measure of field dependence, were administered to 307 managers within 14 industries. It was found that the cognitive restructuring process as measured by the Hidden Figures Test, explains 72% of the variance of the interpretation of change, as measured by the OCIS. It was concluded that the OCIS could be utilised as a selection instrument for the identification of change agents.

Opsomming
Die vermoe van individue om verandering te interpreteer, kan as kriterium vir suksesvolle organisasie verandering beskou word. Op grond hiervan is die invloed van 'n spesifieke intra-individuele veranderlike, naamlik kognitiewe styl (veldafhanklikheid en -onafhanklikheid) op die sensitiwiteit vir die identifisering van veranderingsbehoeftes, ondersoek. Vir hierdie doel is die Organisasie Verandering Interpretasieskaal (OVIS) gekonstrueer. Die OVIS is in samehang met die Versteekte Figure Toets as meting van veldonafhanklikheid, en die Veldafhanklikheidsvraelys as meting van veldafhanklikheid, op 307 bestuurders in 14 industriee geadministreer. Daar is bevind dat die kognitiewe herstruktureringsproses, soos gemeet deur die Versteekte Figure Toets, 72% van die variansie in die interpretasie van verandering, soos gemeet deur die OVIS, verklaar. Die afleiding word gemaak dat die OVIS onder andere nuttig as keuringsinstrument ter identifisering van veranderingsagente gebruik kan word.


Keywords

Cognitive style; Cognitive interpretation; Organisational change

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