Examining the Linkages Between Organizational Resilience and Cognitive Style - an Exploratory, Multi-Method Study
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- Master of Science 
This thesis aims to narrow a research gap by exploring the linkages between organizational resilience and cognitive diversity. More specifically, we wanted to investigate cognitive differences in problem-solving style between levels of power in organizations. Using the VIEW database, quantitatively analyzing the responses of 16,303 subjects working in for-profit organizations, we discovered a significant cognitive gap between upper management and clerical staff. In a bid to go deeper we conducted interviews to qualitatively assess if these differences existed in the real world and to identify potential challenges and opportunities connected to the gap. We advocate the overarching importance of organizational resilience and how it can be connected to achieving resilient communities. We argue that cognitive gap can potentially have a negative impact on resilience capabilities. Thus, effectively managing the gap is key to increasing organizational resilience. The inter-item correlation in the quantitative analysis indicated that most substantial differences could be found between Upper/Senior Management and Clerical/Other staff in the Orientation to Change dimension and Novelty and Structure – Authority sub-scales. While the Search Strategy sub-scale lacked statistical significance, the overall quantitative findings revealed the existence of a cognitive gap. These findings were supported in the interviews. The interviewees provided clear evidence of the gap, along with costs caused by the gap and approaches to close the gap. Based on the quantitative and qualitative findings we found that leadership behavior and two-way-communication, which are interconnected, are vital to effectively managing the gap. We suggest that it would serve leaders well to be more aware of their own preferences and the preferences of others in the organization and use that understanding and knowledge to reduce potential personal tension and maximize collaboration and cooperation. Additionally, they must be provided with methods and tools on how to engage in effective communication. Implications for practice and future research is presented, along with limitations.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Business, Leadership and Change - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2021