Chapter IX

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Using Causal Mapping

to Uncover Cognitive

Diversity within a

Top Management Team

David P. Tegarden

Virginia Tech, USA

Linda F. Tegarden

Virginia Tech, USA

Steven D. Sheetz

Virginia Tech, USA

Abstract

The cognitive diversity of top management teams has been shown to affect the

performance of a firm. In some cases, cognitive diversity has been shown to improve firm

performance, in other cases, it has worsened firm performance. Either way, it is useful

to understand the cognitive diversity of a top management team. However, most

approaches to measure cognitive diversity never attempt to open the “black box” to

understand what makes up the cognitive diversity of the team. This research reports on

an approach that identifies diverse belief structures, i.e., cognitive factions, through

the use of causal mapping and cluster analysis. The results show that the use of causal

mapping provides an efficient and effective way to identify idiosyncratic and shared

knowledge among members of a top management team. This approach allows the

cognitive diversity of the top management team to not only to be uncovered, but also

to be understood.