In the Context of Diversity and Change

M. J. Kirton

Publisher: Routledge, 2011, 395 pages

ISBN: 978-0-415-29851-3

Keywords: Change Management, Type Theory, Human Resources, Creativity

Last modified: July 27, 2013, 5:28 p.m.

Adaption-Innovation theory (A-I theory) is a model of problem solving and creativity which aims to increase collaboration and reduce conflict within groups. A-I Theory and the associated Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventory (KAI) have been extensively researched and are increasingly used as tools for teambuilding and personnel management. In Adaption-Innovation: In the Context of Diversity and Change, Dr Kirton outlines the central concepts of the theory, including the processes of problem solving, decision making and creativity. In addition, Dr Kirton focuses on how wide diversity within a team affects problem solving, creativity and effective management of change, as well as offering practical information for those helping diverse teams succeed in today's demanding climate.

This timely and comprehensive text is written for anyone who wants to know more about problem solving, thinking style and creativity. As such it will appeal to a broad range of people, from human resource managers, business consultants and group trainers, to students of psychology, business, management, sociology, education and politics.

  1. Introduction
    • A Guiding Outline
    • A Background Study
    • Its Residual Problems
    • Its Conclusions
  2. Organisation of Cognitive Function
    • Problem Solving is the Key to Life
    • The Brain's Problem-solving Departments
    • Defining Style
  3. Describing and Measuring Adaption-Innovation
    • Description
    • Perception of Change
    • Measure
  4. Style and Personality Theory
    • Style and Dimensions of Personality
    • Style and Personality Relationships
  5. Structure and Cognition
    • Problem Solving and Learning Theory
    • Decision Making
    • From Concepts to Paradigms
    • The Paradox of Structure
  6. Problems with Creativity
    • Its Definition
    • Creativity, Innovation and Invention
  7. Style, Level, Process and Technique
    • Level
    • Process
    • Technique
  8. Link with the Management Literature
    • Problem Solving and Social Structure
    • On Defining Normal Change
    • The Search for Ideal Leaders and Ideal Solutions
    • An Example in Depth May Help
  9. The Management of Diversity
    • Diversity of Problems and People
    • Adaption-Innovation as a Problem of Diversity
    • Development of Complexity
    • Management of Diversity Needs to be Taught
  10. Managing Cognitive Gap
    • Agents of Change
    • Climates of Change
    • Cognitive Climate
    • Leaders and Bridgers
    • Coping Behaviour
    • Coping, Stress, and Disorder
  11. The Management of Change
    • Alternative Climates
    • The Progression of Change
    • The Pendulum of Change
    • The Spiral of Change
    • The Making of Resisters to Change
    • The Environment as Opportunity for Change
    • The Problem-solving Leader
  • Appendix 1: Management Initiative Case Studies
  • Appendix 2: Examples of Instinct
  • Appendix 3: The Curse of Progress
  • Appendix 4: Stamp's Level vs. Style Schema
  • Appendix 5: Cognitive Style in War
  • Appendix 6: KAI Tables



Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Decent ****** (6 out of 10)

Last modified: July 27, 2013, 5:29 p.m.

I have to admit that I just love the KAI, since I was introduced to it in my MBA-studies. It complements the MBTI so nicely and explains so much of human behavior (including your own) that it is unbelievable. And this is the background to the theory, laid out in dry, boring prose…

With that said, I'm a bit disappointed that it didn't include the questionnaire, so that you could identify your KAI-scores, and it is really boorishly written. Altogether, I still like it, as very much information is in there, but it really should have been helped by a decent editor, outside of the University sphere.

Recommended reading, if you can get through it…


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