Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


McCrae (1993-1994, 1996) recognizes the need for further research between the personality domain of Openness to Experience and the closely related field of cognitive styles. McCrae (1996) asserts that the construct measured by the Kirton Adaption-Innovation (KAI) has a high "saturation of content related to Openness", although there were no data to support this assertion. The current study examined the relationship between an individual's tendency to prefer adaption or innovation as a cognitive style of decision making in problem solving and their preference for variety, intellectual curiosity, and independence of judgment. A measure of cognitive style (the KAI) and the Openness measure of the Five-Factor model of personality (the NEO PI-R) were taken from subjects (N= 163). Pearson Product-Moment correlations were utilized to examine the relationships between the scores from the KAI and the NEO PI-R. Support for all five hypotheses was demonstrated at the (11 < .0 I) level. As hypothesized, significant relationships were demonstrated between an innovative cognitive style preference and the facets of Openness to Experience, thus providing empirical support for McCrae's assertion. In addition, individuals with a preference for an adaptive cognitive style scored significantly higher on the personality domain of Conscientiousness, and the facets of Order and Dutifulness. Innovators demonstrated significantly greater Extraversion scores on the overall domain and the facets of Assertiveness, Excitement-Seeking and Activity. As hypothesized, a significant relationship was revealed between the Originality subscale of the KAI and Openness. In addition, individuals who reported ease in following group rules (Rule-Group Conformity) scored significantly lower on Openness. Significant relationships were also demonstrated between Adaption and Agreeableness, Compliance, and Straight forwardness. Adaptors and high conformers (Low RC scores) also scored significantly higher on Neuroticism. These results are discussed as they apply to the use of these instruments in organizational settings and their implications for further research.


Robert Markley

Date of Award

Spring 1998

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1998 Paul P. Karlin


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