Cognitive style similarity: is your perception your reality?


Author/Creator ORCID




Towson University. Department of Psychology


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Existing literature on cognitive style similarity has shown its importance in workplace relationships. But there is inconsistency in results across these studies as to whether similarity is beneficial or a hindrance. The present study addressed this and aimed to explore whether the inconsistency is because perceptions of the similarity are just as important as the actual similarity. More specifically, it explored whether actual cognitive style similarity or subordinate-perceived cognitive style similarity in supervisor-subordinate dyads are related, and further, which best predicts subordinate outcomes. Results indicated that actual similarity and subordinate-perceived similarity are not significantly related, and that subordinate-perceive similarity significantly predicts interpersonal/social outcomes (empowerment, LMX quality, and relationship) and actual cognitive style similarity significantly predicts task-related outcomes (task conflict). Additionally, results indicated similarity is more advantageous than dissimilarity. Suggestions for future research as well as implications for theory and practice are discussed.