Adaptors & Innovators – Why New Initiatives Get Blocked

-Dr M J Kirton

The Adaption-Innovation theory is concerned with differences in the thinking style of individuals, that affects their creativity, problem solving and decision making. These concepts will have particular relevance for managers, since they focus on the interaction between people and their often changing work environment, offering managers new information on, and insight into, the personality aspects of change in organisations.

Thinking style is the least understood element of human problem solving. This article explains the theory, outlines its background and development and reviews some of the research and current thinking which have emerged from studies using its measure – Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventory.


The Adaption-Innovation Theory defines and measures a range (continuum) of thinking style that markedly influences all decision-making1,2. Much current management thinking and also the creativity literature concentrate on defining and assessing level (capacity) of problem solving and creativity rather than style and do not make the distinction between them clear. Yet it is obvious that how well one can problem solve is not the same as in what way it is done. Splitting up these concepts has advantages in the practical world of business, commerce and administration. Besides being able to measure or to assess a person’s intelligence, knowledge, experience, know how or scope of action, this theory and its measure adds the critical problem solving dimension of thinking style. Style, when better understood, completes a set of assessments that can be applied to human problem solving. They are: the insight to take up appropriate opportunity; generating the appropriate level of motive to exploit that opportunity (wanting to solve the problems that arise); using (if necessary, developing) the appropriate skills; and applying the appropriate style needed by the nature of the problem and desired solution. Where one’s preferred style is inappropriate one needs the insight to know this and to learn coping behaviour so as to deploy non-preferred styles.

To concentrate on the style dimension, according to the Adaption-Innovation Theory, everyone can be located on a continuum ranging from highly adaptive to highly innovative, according to their score on the Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventory. A person’s preferred style has been found to be unvarying – it is behaviour that is flexible. Many research studies2 show that style distributes normally in the general population, everywhere. For the purpose of clarity the following descriptions characterise individuals located towards the ends of the continuum.

Adaptors characteristically produce a sufficiency of ideas* based closely on, but stretching, existing agreed definitions of the problem and likely solutions. They look at these in detail and proceed within the established paradigm (theories policies, mores, practices) that is established in their organisations. Much of their effort in effecting change is in improving and ‘doing better’ (which is the style that tends to dominate much of management, much of the time, e.g. Drucker3). Innovators, by contrast, are more likely in the pursuit of change to reconstruct the problem, separating it from its enveloping accepted thought, paradigms and customary viewpoints, and emerge with much less expected, and probably less acceptable solutions (see Fig. 1). They are less concerned with ‘doing things better’ and more with ‘doing things differently’.

The development of the A-I theory began with observations made and conclusions reached as a result of a study of management initiative4. The aim of this study was to investigate the ways in which ideas that had led to radical changes in the companies studied, were developed and implemented. In each of the examples of initiative studied, the resulting changes had required the co-operation of many managers and others in more than one department.

* Factor analyses show that total adaptor-innovator scores are composed of three traits: sufficiency versus proliferation of originality; degree of (personal) efficiency and degree of group-rule conformity. They are closely related respectively to Rogers ’ 6 creative loner; Weber’s 7; and Merton’s 8 typical bureaucrat and bureaucratic behaviour.

Figure 1: Behaviour descriptions of adaptors and innovators


  • Characterised by precision, reliability, efficiency; seen as methodical, prudent, disciplined
  • Concerned with resolving problems rather than finding them
  • Seeks solutions to problems in tried and understood ways
  • Reduces problems by improvement and greater efficiency, with maximum of continuity and stability
  • Seen as sound, conforming, safe, dependable
  • Does things better
  • Liable to make goals of means
  • Seems impervious to boredom, seems able to maintain high accuracy in long spells of detailed work
  • Is an authority within given structure
  • Challenges rules rarely, cautiously, when assured of strong support and problem solving within consensus
  • Tends to high self-doubt when system is challenged, reacts to criticism by closer outward conformity; Vulnerable to social pressure and authority; compliant
  • Is essential to the functioning of the institution all the time, but occasionally needs to be ‘dug out’ of the current systems
  • When collaborating with innovators: supplies stability, order and continuity to the partnership
  • Sensitive to people, maintains group cohesion and cooperation; can be slow to overhaul a rule
  • Provides a safe base for the innovator’s riskier operations


  • Seen as thinking tangentially, approaching tasks from unsuspected angles; undisciplined, unpredictable
  • Could be said to discover problems and discover less consensually expected avenues of solution
  • Tends to query a problem’s concomitant assumptions; manipulates problems
  • Is catalyst to settled groups, irreverent of their consensual views; seen as abrasive, creating dissonance
  • Seen as ingenious; unsound, impractical
  • Does things differently
  • In pursuit of goals liable to challenge accepted means
  • Capable of detailed routine (system maintenance) work for usually only short bursts. Quick to delegate routine tasks
  • Tends to take control in unstructured situations
  • Often challenges rules. May have little respect for past custom
  • Appears to have low self-doubt when generating ideas, not needing consensus to maintain certitude in face of opposition; less certain when placed in core of system
  • In the institution is ideal in unscheduled crises; better still to help to avoid them, if can be trusted by adaptors
  • When collaborating with adaptors: supplies the task orientations, the break with the past and accepted theory
  • Appears insensitive to people when in pursuit of solutions, so often threatens group cohesion and cooperation
  • Provides the dynamics to bring about periodic radical change, without which institutions tend to ossify

Numerous examples of successful ‘corporate’ initiative, such as the introduction of a new product or new accounting procedures were examined. These analyses highlighted the stages through which any initiative passed on the way to becoming part of the accepted routine of the company, i.e. perception of the solution, agreement to change, acceptance of change, delegation and finally implementation. The study looked at what went wrong within these various stages and how the development of a particular initiative was thus affected. From this, a number of anomalies were thrown up that, at the time, remained unexplained.

(1) Delays in Introducing Change

Despite the assertion of managers that they were collectively both sensitive to the need for changes and willing to embark on them, the time lag between the first public airing of many of the ideas studied, and the date on which an idea was clearly accepted as a possible course of action, was longer than mangers remembered, sometimes as much as two or three years.

Conversely, a few were accepted almost immediately, with the bare minimum of in-depth analysis. (The size of proposed changes did not much affect this time scale, although all the changes studied were large.)

(2) Objections to New Ideas

All too often, the new idea had been formally blocked by a series of well-argued and reasoned objections which were upheld until some critical event – a ‘precipitating event’ – occurred, so that none of the former, seeming cogent, but contrary arguments (lack of need, lack of resource, etc) was ever heard again. Indeed, it appeared at times as if management had been hit by almost collective amnesia concerning past objections.

(3) Rejection of Individuals

There was a marked tendency for the majority of ideas that encountered opposition and delays to have been put forward by managers who were themselves outside or on the edge of the ‘establishment’ group. This tended to continue to happen, not only when the ideas were first proposed but even after these ideas had not only become accepted, but even rated as highly successful. At the same time, the ideas of managers within the establishment were seen as more plausible. Even if these ideas were later rejected or failed, these managers were not seen as having personally failed – more a case of ‘brave try’ or ‘bad luck’.

The A-I theory offers a measured explanation of these findings whilst providing a rational link between them.

Adaption-Innovation – a continuum of thinking style

Adaptive solutions are those that depend directly and obviously on generally agreed paradigms, are more easily grasped intellectually, and therefore more readily acceptable by most – by adaptors as well as the many innovators not so directly involved in the resolution of the problem under scrutiny. The familiar assumptions on which the solution depends are not under attack, and help ‘butter’ the solution advanced, making it more palatable. Such derived ideas, being more readily acceptable, favourably affect the status of their authors, often even when they fail. This especially so when the authors of such ideas are adaptors in an organisation of which the mode of the ‘establishment’ group is also adaptive so that they all share critical underlying assumptions1. Indeed, almost irrespective of their rank, they are likely to be part of that establishment, which in the past has led innovators to claim somewhat crudely that adaptors owe their success to agreeing with their bosses. However, Kirton9 conducted a study in which KAI scores were compared with superior/subordinate identification in a sample of 93 middle managers. No connection was found between KAI scores and tendency to agree with one’s boss. Instead a more subtle relationship is suggested, i.e. that those in the upper adaptive hierarchy are more likely to accept the same paradigms as their adaptor juniors, and that there is, therefore, a greater chance of agreement between them on broad issues and on approved courses of action. Where they disagree on detail within the accepted paradigm, innovators may be inclined to attach less significance to this and view the broad agreements reached as simple conformity.

However, just as there is concord between adaptors and adaptor establishments, so there is also between innovator idea proposers and an innovative inclined ‘establishment’. The main difference is that it is the adaptor setting that is the better supported by the prevailing paradigm.

It can thus be seen how failure of ideas is less damaging to the adaptor than to the innovator, since any erroneous assumptions upon which the ideas were based were also shared with colleagues and other influential people. The consequence is that such failure is more likely to be written off as ‘bad luck’ or due to ‘unforeseeable events’, thereby directing the blame away from the individuals concerned.
In stark contrast to this, innovative ideas, not being as closely related to the group’s prevailing, relevant paradigms, and even opposing such consensus views, are more strongly resisted, and their originators are liable to be treated with suspicion and even derision. This rejection of individuals tends to persist even after their ideas are adopted and acknowledged as successful. [It should be noted that both these and the further descriptions to come are put in a rather extreme form (to make the points more clearly) and so usually occur in a somewhat less dramatic form.]

Differences in Behaviour

Over decades, evidence has accumulated2,10 from many studies that these characteristic differences between adaptors and innovators are part of a deep-seated dimension of personality. Indeed, first, it must be so, since the way in which one thinks affects the way in which one behaves, and is seen to behave. Second, other personality characteristics are related to the core ones (see Figure 1) that closely relate to decision making. Some of these are described next.

Innovators are often seen by adaptors as being abrasive and insensitive, despite much innovator denial. This misunderstanding usually occurs because the innovator attacks the adaptor’s theories and assumptions, both explicitly when he feels that the adaptor needs a push to hurry him in the right direction or to get him out of his rut, and implicitly by showing a disregard for the rules, conventions, standards of behaviour, etc. What is even more upsetting for the adaptor is the fact that innovators do not even seem to be aware of the havoc being caused. Innovators may also appear abrasive to each other, since neither will show much respect for the other’s theories, unless of course, their two points of view happen temporarily to coincide.

As adaptors can also be viewed pejoratively by innovators; those located on the scale’s extremes are far more likely to disagree than collaborate. Innovators tend to see adaptors as stuffy and unenterprising, wedded to systems, rules and norms, which, however useful, are too restricting for their (the innovators’) liking. Innovators seem to overlook how much of the smooth running of all around them depends on good adaptiveness7, 8 but are acutely aware of the less acceptable face of efficient bureaucracy. Disregard of convention when in pursuit of their own ideas has the effect of isolating innovators in a similar way to Rogers ’ creative loner.6
While innovators find it difficult to combine regularly and closely with others, adaptors find it easier. The latter will more rapidly establish common agreed ground, assumptions, guidelines and accepted practices on which to found their collaboration. Innovators also have to do these things in order to fit at all into a company but they are less good at doing so, less concerned with finding out the anomalies within a system, and less likely to stick to the patterns they help form. This is at once the innovators’ weakness and source of potential advantage.

Where are those more innovative and those more adaptive located?

Much of Kirton’s earlier research was devoted to the description and classification of cognitive style. More recently, attention has been focused on the issue of how adaption-innovation style is distributed and whether any distinctive patterns emerge. It has been found from a large number of studies that KAI scores are by no means haphazardly distributed. Individual’s scores are derived from a 32-item inventory, giving a theoretical range of 32-160, and mean of 962. The observed range is slightly more restricted, 46-146, based on over 1000 subjects; the observed mean is near to 95 and the distribution confirms almost exactly to a normal curve. The studies have also shown that variations by identifiable subsets are predictable, their means shifting from the population mean in accordance with the theory. However, the groups’ range of scores is rarely restricted – even small groups showing ranges of approximately 70-120 – a finding with important background implications for change, against the background of differences found at cultural level, at organisational level, between jobs, between departments and between individuals within departments. This is a somewhat arbitrary grouping since norms of cognitive style can be detected wherever a group of people define themselves as different or distinct from others, by whatever criteria they choose, be it type of work, religion, philosophy, etc. So, it is not surprising to find that all broad-ranging jobs, e.g., teachers2,11, engineers or managers2,12, have identifiable sub-sets with significantly different means (drama versus maths teachers; R&D versus maintenance engineers). However, while allowing for a certain amount of overlap, the majority of research studies can be classified according to these groupings.

Innovators and Adaptors in Different Cultures

A considerable amount of research information has been accumulating regarding the extent to which mean scores of different samples shift from culture to culture. Specially collected general population samples2 from US, France (including sub-samples from Canada and Belgium), Netherlands (including Flemish), Italy, and Slovakia (including Czech) have shown no different distribution, means and ranges from three British general population samples; studies that involved thousands of respondents. When the KAI was validated on a sample of Eastern Managers from Singapore and Malaysia13 their mean scores of 95 (S.D. 12.6; N=145) were compatible with those of their Western counterparts (e.g. UK managerial sample had a mean of 97; S.D. 16.9; N=88) compared to general UK samples which together yielded a mean of 95.3, D.D. 17.5, N=532).

The conclusions are that this theory and measure are not influenced by national culture14,15,16. This is true also of a comparison of the average means of those in similar jobs, working in different countries, as shown in a review of 11 studies, involving 5 different jobs (data for each job from more than one country), in 5 countries and nearly 2,000 respondents17. These studies were undertaken over a period of more than two decades. Minor studies show the same pattern, as do studies with teen-age samples.

There is also a further speculation put forward by Kirton18 that people who are most willing to cross boundaries of any sort are likely to be more innovative, and the more boundaries there are and the more rigidly they are held, the higher the innovator score should be of those who cross. In the Thomson study managers in Western-owned companies in Singapore scored higher in innovativeness than either those working for a private local company or those in the Civil Service, and those in this last category had the most adaptive scores of the triad.

Innovators and Adaptors in Different Organisations and Jobs

Organisations in general7,19 and especially organisations which are large in size and budget20 have a tendency to encourage bureaucracy and adaptation in order to minimise risk. It has been said by Weber, 7 Merton8 and Parsons21 that the aims of a bureaucratic structure are precision, reliability and efficiency, and that the bureaucratic structure exerts constant pressure on officials to be methodical, prudent and disciplined, and to attain an unusual degree of conformity. These are the qualities that the adaptor-innovator theory attributes to the ‘adaptor’ personality. For the marked adaptor, the longer an institutional practice has existed, the more he feels it can be taken for granted. So when confronted by a problem, he does not see it as a stimulus to question or change the structure in which the problem is embedded, but seeks a solution within that structure, in ways already tried and understood – ways which are safe, sure predictable. He can be relied upon to carry out a thorough, disciplined search for ways to eliminate problems by ‘doing things better’ with a minimum or risk and a maximum of continuity and stability. This behaviour contrasts strongly with that of the marked innovator. The latter’s solution, because it is less understood, and its assumption untested, appears more risky, less sound, involves more ‘ripple-effect’ changes in areas less obviously needing to be affected; in short, it brings about changes with outcomes than cannot be envisaged so precisely. This diminution of predictive certainty is unsettling and not to be undertaken lightly, if at all, by most people – but particularly by adaptors, who feel not only more loyal to consensus policy but less willing to jeopardise the integrity of the system (or even the institution). The innovator, in contrast to the adaptor, is liable to be less respectful of the views of others, more abrasive in the presentation of his solution, more at home in a turbulent environment. In addition, is seen initially as less relevant in his thinking towards company needs (since his perceptions may differ as to what is needed), less concerned with people in the pursuit of his goals than adaptors readily tolerate. Tolerance of the innovator is thinnest when adaptors feel under pressure from the need for imminent radical change. Yet the innovators’ very disadvantages to institutions make them as necessary as the adaptors’ virtues in turn make them. The underlying principle is more general, apparent advantages and disadvantages in both adaptors and innovators are task specific. An advantage in one context is a disadvantage in another, hence the need to manage diversity successfully.

Every organisation has its own particular ‘cognitive style climate’ because, at any given time, most of its key individuals reflect the general outlook, perceived needs and problems of their organisation. People do not change their preferred style, so if the general business climate changes, research shows that the group’s style means changes because of selective recruitment, turn-over; eventually, because of such processes the cognitive style will again reflect the general organisational ethos. However, the range seems to remain unaffected, and this is very useful for the whole group as there are usually potential agents of style change available within it when needed.

Sufficient evidence has been collected to enable predictions to be made not only about the direction of, but the extent to which these shifts in KAI mean will occur from organisation to organisation. Kirton22 early hypothesised that the mean scores of managers who work in a particularly stable environment will incline more towards adaption, while the mean scores of those whose environment could be described as turbulent will tend towards innovation. This hypothesis is well supported. For example, by Thomson13, whose study, as we have already noted, showed that a Singapore sample of middle-ranking Civil Servants were markedly adaptor-inclined (mean=89, S.D. 10.5) whereas the means of a sample of managers in multi-national companies were just as markedly innovator-inclined (mean=107, S.D. 11.4). Those who work in tighter structures have an adaptive mean – and vice versa.

Holland23,24 suggests that bank employees are inclined to be adaptors; so are local government employees25. Employees of R&D oriented companies, however, show the opposite inclination26,27. Two of these studies support and refine the hypothesis that given time, the mean KAI score of a group will reflect its ethos. Both Holland and Hayward and Everett found that groups of new recruits had means away from those of the established group they were joining.

However, within 3 ( Holland ) or at most 5 ( Hayward and Everett ) years, as a result of staff changes, the gaps between the means of the new groups and the established groups narrowed sharply.

If there are predictable variations between companies wherever selection has been allowed to operate for a sufficient length of time, then variations may be expected within a company as adaptors and innovators are placed in the parts of the organisation which suit them best. It is unlikely (as well as undesirable) that any organisation is so monolithic in it structure and in the ‘demands’ on its personnel that it produces a total conformity of personality profiles. This hypothesis was tested and supported by Kirton22 when adaptors were found to be more at home in departments of a company that must concentrate on solving problems which mainly emanate from within their departmental system (e.g. production) and innovators tend to be more numerous in departments that act as interfaces (e.g. sales, progress chasing). Studies by Keller and Holland28 in American R&D departments found that adaptors and innovators had different roles in internal company communications; adaptors being more valued for communication on the workings of the company and innovators being more valued for communications on advanced technological information26. Kirton22 also found that managers who tend to select themselves to go on courses (i.e. selected) will have significantly different mean KAI scores from the managers on courses who were just sent as part of the general scheme (i.e. personally unselected), the former being innovator-inclined. Members of three groups of courses were tested: one British ‘unselected’, one British ‘selected’ and one Canadian ‘selected’. The results22 showed that the unselected managers scored significantly more adaptively than the selected groups. Among the Canadian sample of managers, there was sufficient information on their job titles to be able to divide them into two groups of occupations: those liable to be found in adaptor-oriented departments (e.g. line manager) and those liable to be found in innovator-oriented departments (e.g. personnel consultant). The latter group were found to be significantly more innovative than the former, having a mean of 116.4 for non-line managers as opposed to a mean of 100.14 for line managers*. These findings later led to a full-scale study29 in which data on 2,375 subjects collected in 15 independent studies were cross-tabulated with reference to different occupational types and varying degrees of self-selection to courses. Engineering instructors and apprentices were studied as examples of occupations involving a narrow range of paradigms, thorough rigid training and a closely structured environment, while research and development personnel were examined as examples of occupations involving a number of flexible paradigms and a relatively unstructured environment. The differences were large, significant and in the expected direction. Research over decades shows established jobs tend to attract either the more innovative or the more adaptive. Jobs, which are newly devised, i.e. computing some years ago, tend initially to attract innovators. The mean of these groups alter much as expected from the style nature required by the bulk of the tasks associated with each job, although the range of styles remains wide. This is because no complex job can require only one style. The jobs found to attract (and keep) those more adaptive are: bank managers, civil servants, cost accountants, plant managers, production managers, maintenance engineer managers, engineering apprentices. Those jobs that attract the more innovative include: R&D, marketing, finance, personnel (HR), fashion buyers. Jobs which include clearly defined sub-groups with widely different tasks (e.g., engineers, teachers, managers, nurses) yield general means close to the general population samples2
As we can see from these studies and data above, the variations which exist between companies and between occupational groups are also found within the relatively narrow boundaries of the jobs. For example, work in progress suggest that within a job there may be clear subsets whose tasks differ and whose cognitive styles differ e.g, an examination of the job of quality control workers for a local government body revealed that the job contained two major aspects. One was the vital task of monitoring, and one was the task of solving anomalies which were thrown up in the system from time to time. The first of these tasks was carried out by an adaptive inclined group, and the second by an innovative one.

* Because of the nature of this course and selection system, both groups’ means were displaced towards innovativeness, however, they retain their distance vis-à-vis each other.

Who Are the Agents of Change?

Although the means of different groups may vary according to the nature of their tasks, their ranges are usually about equally wide – roughly, the more numerous the group the wider the range. This suggests that many a person is part of a group whose mean adaptor-innovator score is markedly different from his* own. There are three possible reasons why these individuals should be caught up in this potentially stressful situation:

(a) they are in transit, for example, under training schemes;

(b) they are trapped, unhappy and may soon leave; 25,30

(c) they have found a niche which suits them and have developed a particular role identity.

(These three categories should be regarded as fluid since given a change in the individual’s peer group, boss, department or even organisational outlook, he may well find himself shifting from one category to another.)

It is the identification of the third category, which will most repay further investigation since it contains refinements of the A-I theory, which have considerable practical implications. The individual who can successfully accept and be accepted into an environment alien to his own cognitive style must have particular survival characteristics, and it is those characteristics which make him a potential agent of change within that particular group. In order to effect a change an individual must first have job ‘know-how’ which is also an important quality keeping him functioning as a valuable group member when major changes are not needed. He must also be able to gain the respect of his colleagues and superiors, and with this comes commensurate status, which is essential if he wants his ideas to be recognised. Lastly, if a person is embarked on a course of action for change, he will of course require the general capacity, e.g. leadership, management qualities, to carry out such a task. His different cognitive style gives him a powerful advantage over his colleagues in being able to anticipate events, which others may not see (since because of their cognitive styles, they may not think to look in that direction).

Therefore, agents of change can be seen as competent individuals who have enough skill supported by appropriate style to be successful in a particular environment. One’s style relates to in what way the job is undertaken, to do it well then, one needs both the skill and the style best suited to a particular problem. Given appropriate capacity and style the agent of change can play a supportive role to the main thrust of the group with its contrasting cognitive style. Given a ‘precipitating event’ however (particularly if he has anticipated and prepared for it), the individual becomes at once a potential leader in a new situation. In order to be able to take advantage of this position, he must have personal qualities to bring to bear, management must have the insight to recognise the position, and management development must have also played its part. However, this may need to be reinforced by individual and group counselling, which makes use of an understanding of Adaption-Innovation theory15,31, Fortunately, not all problem solving style gaps between people lead to conflict,30, although all resulting coping behaviour always costs extra effort. When well managed, however, differences add to the problem solving diversity available to mutual benefit31. Such management is the hallmark of efficient problem solving leadership.
It should be emphasised that agents of change can be either adaptors or innovators, and this is solely determined by the group composition, so that if it is an innovator group, the agents of change will be those more adaptive, and vice versa. This discovery challenges traditional assumptions that heralding and initiating change is the innovator’s prerogative because a precipitating event could demand either an adaptive or innovative solution, depending on the original orientation of the group and the work. An example in which an adaptor is the agent of change in a team of innovators might be where the precipitating event takes the form of a bank’s refusal to give further financial support to a new business enterprise. At this stage the potential agents of change (who may have been anticipating this event for months) are at hand with the facts, figures and a cost cutting contingency plan all neatly worked out. It is now that the personal qualities of know-how, respect, status and ability will be crucial for success. All this assumes that many groups will have means away from the centre. It seems likely that the more the mean is displaced in either direction, the harder it will be, the bigger the precipitating event, to pull the group back to the middle, which may be unfortunate both for the group and the agent of change. However, an ‘unbalanced’ team is what may be required at any particular time. To hold such a position and yet to be still capable of flexibility is a key task of management to which this theory may make a contribution. This requires the insight to perceive the need to change, in good time, as well as being able to do so – and get others both to perceive that need and to change in time also.

It cannot be emphasised enough that style is not a capacity. In what manner we characteristically undertake problems, is very different from how well we can solve them. There have been, over many years, in various countries, many studies that support this contention 2.

In a wider context, it is hoped that the Adaption-Innovation theory will offer an insight into the interactions between the individual, the organisation and change. By using the theory as an additional informational resource when forward planning, it may also be possible to anticipate and retain control in the face of changes brought about be extraneous factors. In addition, one must remember that adaptors and innovators can have equal capacity2, insight and creativity32. These elements of knowledge about style (one of a number of human diversities), when available to problem solving leadership, will enable needed change to take place amid less misunderstanding and confusion – indeed, hopefully, in good time and more effectively.

* Throughout for he, him, his read also she, her, hers.

1. M.J. Kirton, 1976. Adaptors and Innovators: a Description and Measure. Journal of Applied Psychology, 61, 622‑629.

2. M.J. Kirton, 1994. Adaptors and Innovators: Styles of Creativity and Problem‑Solving. Routledge, London . See Chapters 1 and 3.

3. P.F. Drucker, 1969. Management’s New Role Harvard Business Review, 47, 49‑54.

4. M.J. Kirton, 1961. Management Initiative. London : Acton Society Trust.

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6. C.R. Rogers, 1959. Towards a Theory of Creativity. In Anderson , H.H., (Ed.) Creativity and its Cultivation. New York : Harper.

7. M. Weber, 1970. From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, (H.H., Gerth & C.W., Mills, Eds. & Trans) London : International Thomson Press & Kegan Paul.

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10. J.C. Carne & M.J. Kirton, 1982. Styles of Creativity: Test score correlations between the Kirton Adaption‑innovation Inventory and the Myers‑Briggs Type Indicator. Psychological Reports, 50, pp.3l‑36.

11. M.J. Kirton, A.J. Bailey & J.W. Glendinning, 1991 Adaptors and Innovators: Preference for Educational Procedures. Journal of Psychology, 125 (4), 445-455 ().

12. G.R. Foxall & A.F. Payne, 1989. Adaptors and Innovators in Organizations. A Cross Cultural Study of the Cognitive Styles of Managerial Functions and Sub‑Function. Journal of Human Relations, 40 (7), 639‑649.

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17. A.D Tullett, 1997. Cognitive Style: Not Culture’s Consequence. European Psychologist, 2, 258-267.

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19. E.W. Bakke, 1965. Concept of the Social Organisation, in (Ed.) Mason Haire, Modern Organisation Theory. New York : John Wiley.

20. T.Veblen, 1928. The Theory of the Leisure Class. New York : Vanguard Press.

21. T.Parsons, 1951. The Social System. Glencoe: Free Press.

22. M.J. Kirton, 1980. Adaptors And Innovators In Organizations. Human Relations, 3, 213‑224.

23. P.A. Holland, 1982. Creative thinking: an asset or liability in employment. M.Ed. Dissertation, University of Manchester .

24. P.A., Holland , 1987. Adaptors and Innovators: Application of the Kirton Adaption‑Innovation Inventory to Bank Employees. Psychological Reports, 60, 263‑270.

25. G. Hayward & C.Everett, 1983. Adaptors and innovators: data from the Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventory in a local authority setting. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 56, 339-42.

26. R.T Keller. & W.E.Holland, l978a. Individual Characteristics of Innovativeness and Communication in Research and Development Organizations. Journal of Applied Psychology, 63, 759‑762.

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