TMS Research – Perspectives: Age and Analytic and Belief Preference – Part 2

Tom GibbonsResearch, Social ConstructionLeave a Comment

In the last post we looked at the Analytical and Belief preferences through the lens of age and discovered that while in all age groups there was a definite slant toward the Analytic preference, the youngest and oldest age groups showed less of this slant.  I made the comment … 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….

This post focuses on …what are organizations driving out of us from a preference perspective and what is it that we may be reclaiming?

To consider this let’s look at how the analytic and belief preferences correlate to the various work functions of the Types of Work Model.

In the graphic above the letters around the outside represent the various preferences of the Team Management Profile. So we see that the Analytic preference is most closely correlated to the Developing and Organizing work functions and the Belief preference most closely correlated to the Maintaining and Advising work functions.

The key questions being focused on in the work functions most closely correlated to the Analytic preference are:

  • Developing – What do we move forward with?
  • Organizing – What needs to be in place to ensure this happens?

And for the Belief preference:

  • Maintaining – What is really important?
  • Advising – What do we need to know?

Those questions closely correlated to the Analytic function push towards closure and action; and in most organizations closure and action in a fairly narrow focus. The objectives of our job and typically those objectives are focused on contributing to the strategic direction of the organization which typically means growth and profit of some sort. Organizations ask these questions a lot; necessarily so in order to succeed by the socially constructed definitions of success.

Those questions closely correlated to the Belief preference push towards contemplation of broad possibilities, especially at an individual level.  Organizations answer these questions from an organizational perspective, that narrow, growth and profit perspective.  There is very little room in organizational life to answer these questions from an individual perspective. We are in an organization and that is the context that defines all of these questions.

So one possibility of what is driven out of us from a preference perspective in organizations is the preference to contemplate what is important to US, to discover what we need to know about US.  When we are younger those questions are critical as our identity emerges and as we age we reclaim the capacity to again consider these questions as they pertain to us as individuals.

The cynic in me would say that perhaps organizations drive the US out of us, our unique and wonderfully broad possibility.

And yet organizations are nothing but a collection of US’s; and the choices we make. Not sure if that makes a happy or sad end to this story….. what do you think?

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