This paper discusses key elements of scientific problem solving from a cognitive perspective in an effort to help scientists and engineers understand and manage their problem solving efforts more effectively. Toward this end, the Adaption-Innovation (A-I) theory of Kirton is reviewed and placed into the context of science in order to highlight its potential contributions and possible limitations. In particular, A-I theory is used to help explain different preferences for managing scientific structure, the need for a diversity of cognitive styles in scientific work, and the relationship between scientific progress and the paradox of structure. Directions for future research in this area and comments on the special implications of A-I theory for senior scientists and other technical problem solving leaders are also discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Human Factors and Ergonomics
- Business and International Management
- Sociology and Political Science