The impact of supervisors' cognitive styles on the quality of research supervision in management education

Armstrong, Steve (2004) The impact of supervisors' cognitive styles on the quality of research supervision in management education. British Journal of Educational Psychology., 74 (4). pp. 599-616. ISSN 0007-0998

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Background. An aspect of teaching and learning that has been seriously overlooked
in higher education is the process of research supervision. High failure rates for
research dissertations in the social sciences have been partly attributed to student
dissatisfaction with supervision and poor student-supervisor relationships. One
personality variable that has been shown to be partly responsible for shaping the
effectiveness of supervisory relationships is cognitive style.
Aims. The study examined the effects of supervisor cognitive style on the quality of
supervision for students undertaking a research project in the field of management
Sample. Both parties in each of 118 supervisor-student dyads within a university
business school in the UK participated in the study.
Method. Data were collected using the Cognitive Style Index to measure subjects on
the analytic-intuitive dimension of cognitive style. A self-developed Thurstone attitude
scale was used to measure students’ perceptions of the quality of supervision. The
scale’s validity was assured by making extensive use of subjects’ (N = 100) judgments
from the population of interest in the scale’s development. A second parallel scale was
developed to test the instrument’s reliability characteristics.
Results. Findings revealed that students perceived the quality of supervision to
increase significantly with the degree to which supervisors were analytic in their
cognitive style. Students whose supervisors were more analytic also achieved
significantly higher grades for their dissertations.
Conclusions. Whilst there may be many factors influencing interpersonal relationships
of this nature, this study demonstrated the potential relevance of cognitive style,
which may prove to be a fertile area for further investigation.

Keywords:cognitive style, management research, supervision
Subjects:X Education > X151 Training Teachers - Coaching
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:26662
Deposited On:10 Mar 2017 10:50

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