Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Perkins, Jay & Tishman (1993a) consider good thinking can be characterised by seven broad dispositions. Each disposition has three elements: inclination (a person’s felt tendency towards a particular behaviour), sensitivity (a person’s alertness towards a particular occasion), and capability (the ability of a person to follow through with a particular behaviour). A good leader may be disposed towards all of the thinking behaviours and appropriately exhibit one or more of them depending on the situation. The theory of good thinking is based on logical argument (Tishman & Perkins, 1995; Tishman, 2001) and growing empirical evidence for the importance of dispositions (Facione, Facione & Giancarlo, 2000). Perkins et al. (1993a) contend that it raises provocative questions about existing models of thinking, casts new light on controversial issues in the field, connects in interesting ways to findings in other promising areas of cognitive research, and has important implications for the education of good thinking.

Any divergence between a leader’s ability to think critically and their tendency to invest fully in an opportunity can be thought of as a ‘dispositions gap’ (Perkins et al., 2000) where a disposition exists as the complex relationship between an intention, the sensitivity to an opportunity or demands of a particular context and the capability to respond. Perceptual sensitivity and capability to respond are two logically separable but functionally co-dependent elements. However, Tishman, Jay & Perkins (1993) maintain that sensitivity to context and capability in respect to thinking are insufficient to understand what people do without some consideration about aspects of motivation. Their inclusion of intention as a component creates a sufficient set of elements in what they call a dispositional framework. Adaptive expertise logically requires positive dispositions and a goal for ‘good leadership’ development should be to minimise the dispositions gap as much as possible (Tozer et al., 2007

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