Diagnostics Assessing
                            Management Orientations

                                       
          (Styles, Traits, Competencies (skills))

 
Caution -- They cannot be taken as generic indicators of effective managerial work

(instead they are to be seen as an interpretive account)

Note:  It is common for empirical managerial research to statistically relate particular styles, traits, competencies to managerial effectiveness criteria.  At best, the relationships generated are weak and are representative only of the particular time bound context researched.   If examined over many contexts the relationships discovered can, at best, only be viewed as statistical tendencies.  Unfortunately, many consumers of such research tend to view such relationships as one-to-one correspondence between the personal predisposition in question and the effectiveness criteria at issue.  In the foregoing approach to building knowledge an assumption is made that a diagnostic captures some stable property of an individual that does, in fact, exist.  A radically different perspective views a diagnostic as simply an "interpretive account" -- one of many, hypothetically infinite, ways in which a person's predispositions to behave can be represented. 

 
Caution -- Recognize that the diagnostics do not present a true picture of self

(Diagnostics squeeze self into prespecified categories…they should be seen only as a tool
for reflecting on the different ways we can come to know about ourselves)

Note:  Diagnostics need to be seen as tools for "taking stock" of the many ways in which our selves can be characterized.  It is inevitable that there will be contradictions between these empirically measured representations of self and one's "intuited" picture of their self.  Too often, psychological measures are taken as truths about oneself. One source of information that can lead to a questioning of these so-called truths is one's intuition of self based on a reflection on one's personal thoughts, feelings, behaviors, etc.  Therefore, you need to ask:  "do the results of a particular diagnostic make sense given my own personal experiences with the world?"

 
Action learning can facilitate choice of which orientations to "take on board"

The process should be self aware and involve critical thinking about choice of orientations

Note:   The implication here is that an opening exists for changing oneself.  If you're going to use diagnostics, you need to use them self-reflexively.  You need to consciously choose how you wish to construct yourself.  So, if you have personally validated a diagnostic result (e.g., I am an "converger" - just as the Learning Style Inventory indicates) and you wish to strengthen your predispositon to engage in another orientation (e.g., I wish to become more of an "accomodator") you can experiment with engaging in behaviors associated with that orientation (e.g., letting go of carefully planned actions sooner when confronting difficulties implementing those action plans and taking more risk by modifying those plans based on your 'feeling' for the situation at hand).  Through such action learning you can experiment with behaviors which, once successfully manifested, can reinforce and  strengthen your general predispostion to engage in those behaviors.