Accession Number:

ADA234381

Title:

Cognitive Frames of Reference and Strategic Thinking

Descriptive Note:

Final rept.

Corporate Author:

ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1991-04-05

Pagination or Media Count:

63.0

Abstract:

Using Stratified Systems Theory and the research on expertise as a conceptual framework, this study explored the differences in the structure and content of the cognitive frames of reference that mid-level and strategic-level leaders used when engaged in strategic thinking. During a one hour interview, subjects ten mid-level leaders, five regional experts, and five strategic-level leaders thought aloud about the most significant strategic issues facing the U. S. military in the future and how the defense establishment should prepare to face the issues. A diagraming technique was used to depict the frames of reference from the interview transcripts, resulting in 189 diagrams. Frame-of- reference diagrams were analyzed for structure and content. The results revealed discernible differences in the frames of mid-level and strategic-level leaders. Compared to the frames of reference of mid-level leaders, strategic-level leaders frames of reference were more interconnected, sophisticated, and action oriented. Strategic-level leaders were also more likely to anticipate second- and third-order effects because their frames of reference contained complex casual networks. Strategic-level leaders oriented on the organizations external environment to a greater extent than did mid-level leaders. Findings are discussed in terms of the implications for strategic leader education and development.

Subject Categories:

  • Psychology

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE