TMS Research – Perspectives: Age and Analytic and Belief Preferences

Tom GibbonsPreference Assessments, Research, Social Construction2 Comments

Over the next little while I will be writing some posts using the data which comes from the newest version of Team Management Systems research; RM5.

A couple of things about these posts:

  • I will be using data  directly from the TMS research material
  • I will be adding my subjective perspective on why this data may be what it is
  • I’ll be asking others for their perspectives

The TMS research does not establish ‘causality’.  It provides data gathered from demographic groups from around the world.  Our perspectives on causality are subjective but nevertheless I think can produce some valuable and needed conversation.  They can illustrate lots of differing ideas that can potentially be of use, not only when working with the TMS material but in our considerations of organizations and people within those organizations.

To start let’s take a look at what the research has to illustrate about age and the analytic and belief preferences which are part of the Team Management Profile (TMP).  Here is a very high level description of the Analytic and Belief preference.

Below is an extract from the TMP research outlining means and standard deviations by age groupings for the 4 Measures of Work Preference used in the TMP.  These 4 Measures are Extroversion/Introversion, Practical/Creative. Analytic/Beliefs, Structured/Flexible.  I have highlighted the column with means for the Analytic and Belief preference for use in this post.  The means can range from -30 to +30 with positive numbers representing a preference for analytic and negative numbers a preference for beliefs. 

Perhaps the most obvious thing this data illustrates is an overall preference for analytic decision making, regardless of age group.  For me, this was not surprising; I’ve worked with the TMP for years and every group I have worked with, including young people, have exhibited more analytic preferences overall.  The context of work, even for young people (I will often ask them to think of their school work or teams they are on as a work context) seems to influence preference toward the analytic.

What did jump out at me however was that the youngest and oldest age groups illustrated the lowest mean, especially the youngest age group.  Those groups also have the highest standard deviation so a larger range of net scores is being seen.

… The first thing that came to mind for me was that the work context drives the belief preference out of us and when we get to an age where the work context isn’t as important anymore, we reclaim some of that belief preference….

Certainly a subjective ‘opinion’ and yet I will stand by it as I stand not too far from that older age group!

So the question am am now considering is: ‘what are organizations driving out of us from a preference perspective and what is it that we may be reclaiming?’  The next post will capture some musings on this question but for now I wonder what your perspectives are on this data; as subjective as they may be?


2 Comments on “TMS Research – Perspectives: Age and Analytic and Belief Preferences”

  1. Great post Tom..Look forward to more of your interpretations of the data from Version 5 of the Team Management Systems Research Manuals!

    I think there is a strong social construct influence in the work preference RIDO scales, particularly with the Analytical-Beliefs scale, This is highlighted in the Comparative Studies section of the new Manual. In this study of over 500 respondents, 60% were ‘Analytical’ and 40% ‘Beliefs’ in the work environment.  Outside of work 42% reported Analytical preferences and 58% for Beliefs. Similar changes occurred for the Structure-Flexible (S-F) scale – S changing from 47% to 38% and F from 53% to 62%. This study shows a bias towards ‘AS’ preferences at work, but is counterbalanced by a shift towards ‘BF’ outside of work. This is convincing evidence that people’s preferences at work can be substantially different from their preferences outside work.

  2. Tom – thanks for sharing and I look forward to hearing more of your interpretations.

    I’m surprised by the 60% analytical and 40% beliefs and thought it would have been higher on the analytical side. Important piece to note that people’s preference can be substantially different from outside work.

    The question of generational differences was asked in a recent debrief session so this is timely.

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