Leadership, Skills and Mindset

Picture of male and female leaders walking together

What are the characteristics desired in leaders and decision makers? This collection of research papers examines some potential relationships between critical thinking skills and mindset  to leadership and program success.

Effectiveness of Officer Training

  • An assessment of the command and general staff college core course effectiveness in developing student critical thinking.  Civils TH (2016) Dissertation, Kansas State University  Eight student staff groups (n=120) were selected from the Command and General Staff Officer Common Core Course Class 15 population, and the quantitative data used to conduct the analysis was derived from a pretest and posttest using the Military and Defense Critical Thinking Inventory (MDCTI), a national recognized instrument designed specifically for individuals in the defense and military profession. Analysis of the student pretest and posttest score change results indicated statistically significant changes in analysis, induction, deduction, and Overall critical thinking skills, and in the communicative confidence, professional confidence, expression, and directness habits of the mind attributes.

Library Anxiety

  • A negative multivariate relationship was found between critical thinking disposition and library anxiety. Kwon N, et al.  (2007). College and Research Libraries. Weak critical thinking dispositions were associated with high levels of library anxiety. College and Research Libraries. Because both critical thinking and library anxiety have been found to play an important role in determining learning outcomes, it is possible that these two constructs are related in some way. In the present study, we have attempted to identify the nature of the association between critical thinking disposition and library anxiety among 170 graduate students. Findings revealed a negative multivariate relationship between these two sets of affective variables. Specifically, weak dispositions toward critical thinking were associated with high levels of library anxiety. Implications of the findings were discussed with respect to the approach to teaching information literacy in academic libraries.

Leadership Behavior and Mindset

  • Critical thinking disposition and transformational leadership behaviors. Godzyk KE. (2008). One of the greatest challenges confronting organizations is how to select and develop leaders. The dearth of inexpensive, easily administered assessment instruments contributes to the problem. The current explanatory, quantitative study was conducted to examine the correlation between the critical thinking disposition and leadership behaviors of leaders in service industries in the United States. The study result indicate a moderately positive correlation between the critical thinking disposition and transformational behaviors of the study participants. The study result has potential implications for trait theory of leadership and leadership development and may provide the foundation for a new model of leadership assessment: leadership disposition.

Learning Styles

  • Critical thinking and learning styles of students in conventional and accelerated programmes. Suliman WA.(2008). International Nursing Review. This study assessed differences in critical thinking disposition (CCTDI) and learning styles (KOLB Learning Styles) in nursing students in the conventional (Stream I) and the accelerated (Stream II) baccalaureate nursing education programmes in Saudi Arabia. A convenience sample consisted of 80 Stream I and 50 Stream II students. Stream II students had significantly stronger overall scores (P=0.000), and scores on inquisitiveness (P=0.000) and self-confidence (P=0.002). There was also a weak (r=.209-.328) though significant (P=0.017-0.000) correlation between learning styles and various critical thinking disposition scales.

Learning Styles

  • Critical thinking dispositions and learning styles of baccalaureate nursing students from China. Zhang H, Lambert V. (2008). Nursing Health Science. The purposes of this study were to assess the learning styles and critical thinking dispositions of Chinese baccalaureate nursing students and to identify the relationships among the learning styles, critical thinking dispositions, and demographics (100 Chinese baccalaureate nursing students enrolled at two universities). The data were obtained through a Demographic Data Questionnaire, the CCTDI, and the Index of Learning Styles. The primary learning style dimensions were found to be reflective, sensing, visual, and global, while the overall critically thinking disposition in our sample was found to be weak. A number of positive and negative correlations were found among the demographics, learning styles, and critical thinking dispositions. These findings suggest further examination on how to increase nursing students’ critical thinking skills based upon their preferred learning styles.

Assessing Trainers

  • Nurse educators’ critical thinking dispositions and research utilization. Profetto-McGrath J, et al. (2008). Nurse Education Practice. This paper reports research utilization behaviours and critical thinking dispositions of a random sample of nurse educators across a western Canadian province (n=287). The majority (82.1%) of nurse educators scored in the 280-350 range on the CCTDI, with 15.4% of them scoring above 350, indicating strong critical thinking dispositions. Nurse educators scored quite high on overall research utilization (mean=4.4/5). There was a statistically-significant correlation between nurse educators’ total critical thinking dispositions and all measures of research utilization.

Diagnostic Delay

  • The cognitive structuring of patient delay. Facione NC, Facione PA. (2006). Social Science & Medicine. This study reports results of a multi methods study of diagnosis seeking behavior of women with breast symptoms possibly indicative of breast cancer. Reasoning processed that lead to delay in seeking a diagnostic visit or decisions not to seek diagnosis are explained using argument and heuristic thinking analysis methods.

Investigating Expertise

  • Construct validity of the Health Science Reasoning Test. Huhn K, et al. University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. J Allied Health. (2011) The aim of this study was to evaluate the construct validity of the Health Science Reasoning Test (HSRT) by determining if the test could discriminate between expert and novice physical therapists’ critical-thinking skills. Experts identified from a random list of certified clinical specialists and students in the first year of their physical therapy education from two physical therapy programs completed the HSRT. Experts (n = 73) had a higher total HSRT score (mean 24.06, SD 3.92) than the novices (n = 79) (mean 22.49, SD 3.2), with the difference being statistically significant t (148) = 2.67, p = 0.008. The HSRT total score discriminated between expert and novice critical-thinking skills, therefore establishing construct validity. To our knowledge, this is the first study to compare expert and novice performance on a standardized test.

Clinicians’ Research Utilization

  • Research utilisation and critical thinking among newly graduated nurses: predictors for research use. A quantitative cross-sectional study. Wangensteen S, et al. Karlstad University, Sweden. J Clin Nurs. (2011). The aim was to describe research utilisation among newly graduated nurses and to explore critical thinking dispositions and other individual and contextual factors as possible predictors for research use. A cross-sectional design was chosen. Data collection was carried out from October 2006 to April 2007 using the Research Utilization Questionnaire (RUQ) and the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory (CCTDI). The response rate was 33% (n =617). The respondents reported a positive attitude towards research, but only 24% (n = 148) were defined as research users. A significantly higher proportion of research users reported high critical thinking scores. Critical thinking explained 20% of the variance in attitude towards research and 11% of the variance in research use. Availability and support to implement research findings was the second strongest predictor for research use. Nurse leaders play an important role in nurturing newly graduated nurses’ critical thinking and assisting them in transferring their positive attitude towards research into research use. Nurse educators play a significant role in supporting, challenging and supervising nursing students to be critical thinkers and strong believers in research utilization.

Australian Nurses Population Study

  • Critical thinking skills of undergraduate nursing students: description and demographic predictors. Hunter S, Pitt V, Croce N, Roche J. School of Nursing & Midwifery Statistical Support Service and the School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, Australia. Nurse Education Today. (2014). This study investigated the critical thinking skills among undergraduate nursing students in Australia to obtain a profile and determine demographic predictors of critical thinking. Data about critical thinking skills were collected via the Health Science Reasoning Test (HSRT). Linear regression analysis investigated the predictors of nursing students’ critical thinking skills. The students in third year had a profile of critical thinking skills comparable with HSRT norms. Year of study predicted higher critical thinking scores for all domains (p<0.001) except the subscale, analysis. Nationality predicted higher scores for total CT skill scores (p<0.001) and subscales, inductive (p=0.001) and deductive reasoning (p=0.001). Nursing associated experience predicted higher scores for the subscale, analysis (p<0.001). Age and gender were not predictive.

Nurse Managers and Thinking Mindset

  • Health Policy and Systems: Critical Thinking of Nurse Managers Related to Staff RNs’ Perceptions of the Practice Environment.  Zori S, et al, (2010). Journal of Nursing Scholarship. The positive relationship between strength in critical thinking dispositions of nurse managers and their respective staff RNs’ perceptions of the practice environment. Nurse managers with stronger CT dispositions may be better able to create positive practice environments that are conducive to job satisfaction and thus the retention of staff RNs. Inclusion of strategies to support the development and use of CT in nurse managers is recommended. CT and other leadership attributes and skills including emotional and social intelligence and management of change through an appreciative inquiry process may provide opportunities to improve leadership effectiveness in nurse managers.

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