The Science

Studies. Statistics.

Richard McElroy, Ph.D. in Human and Organization systems, wrote a paper titled Measuring Intellectual Behavior: The Hierarchical Stages of Complex Reasoning in Executive Development. The following points are excerpts from this paper:

•The principal objective of the research was to show that hierarchical stages of complex reasoning can be measured for the executive within an organizational setting. This was clearly shown.

•The Model of Hierarchical Complexity was found to be well-suited for reducing measurement of development bias within an organizational setting.

•From investigation of other development assessment methodologies, the conclusion was that the MHC, as applied in an organizational setting, is a superb one for measurement of cognitive ability and executive development.

•He successfully demonstrated that executives’ development can be measured in an absolute scale of hierarchical stages of complex reasoning.

Michael Commons’ Paper in the Behavioral Developmental Bulletin, 2007. Bringing about Changes in Workplace Behaviors.

•The better one’s perspective-taking skills, the better one’s management skills (Weathersby, 1992). When the perspective of an individual or group is excluded from the decision-making process, unresolved tensions often dominate the workplace and may hinder productivity.

•The better the perspective taking skills of individuals within an organization, the more likely they will be to integrate the organization’s perspectives into their own decisions. In practical terms, this may be called loyalty or allegiance.

•Someone in an organization that reinforces higher stage responses to dilemmas increases the perspective-taking abilities of its members.

Ardith K. Bowman, Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems wrote a paper titled The Relationship Between Organizational Work Practices and Employee Performance: Through The Lens Of Adult Development. In this paper she compared traditional organizations with high performance organizations. She found that:

•In a simulated organizational setting, subjects demonstrating more cognitive complexity applied more strategy and planning to their decision making process.
•67% of the employees in the traditional organization described the atmosphere as Formal stage. None described it as Systematic.
•90% of the employees in the high performance organization described its atmosphere as systematic. The stage of performance in the traditional organization is primarily formal operations.
•80% of the employees in the traditional organization described their performance at Formal.
•70% of the employees in the high performance organization described their performance at Systematic, and 30% at Formal.
•The mean job satisfaction of 4.3 in the high performance organization is moderately higher than the mean of 3.6 (t = .46, p = .05) in the traditional organization.
•Successful performance in the high performance organization appears to require a higher stage of reasoning than successful performance in the traditional organization.

In Commons-Miller’s Stage of Pricing Strategy Predicts Earnings: A Study of Informal Economics

•A cross cultural study of vendors’ pricing of goods and services showed that the stage of the vendor predicted pricing strategy.
•Those at a higher stage used more complex pricing strategies and as a result earned the most money.

In Commons, Miller and Kuhn (1982), The Relation between Formal Operational Reasoning and Academic Course Selection and Performance

•A study performed with Freshman and Sophomore college students showed that Formal stage participants took twice as many math/science credits as Concrete stage participants.

•In a follow up study of 182 students in math/science courses, only one student scored at the Concrete stage. The remainder performed at least at the Formal stage. The scientists concluded that lower stage participants tended to avoid courses in the fields of mathematics or physical sciences.

•This proportion of roughly .5% is significantly different from the 12% of a general college population (as opposed to those enrolled in science/math courses) who were classified as “concrete” in the first study.

Thomas Gutheil, M.D., a recipient of several major awards in the forensic psychiatry field, as well as multiple teaching and writing awards, was former president of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law. He wrote a paper titled Expert Witness Travel Dilemmas: A Pilot Study of Billing Practices.

• In this paper, he used the Model of Hierarchical Complexity to show that expert witnesses who were a higher stage were less likely to use duplicative billing as a response to complex billing situations.


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