Tag Archives: CPP

Reassessment of the Cognitive Process Profile

By Cognadev on August 15, 2019


The validity of CPP results

The CPP capitalises on a person’s cognitive responses to new and unfamiliar information. A candidate’s first CPP results are thus usually the most valid, unless:

  • The candidate’s performance has been affected by emotional factors including extreme performance anxiety, stress, preoccupation and/or demotivation (note that a manageable degree of performance anxiety may even improve concentration and will thus not affect the validity of the report);
  • Physical factors related to excessive fatigue, medication, disability and/or pain, for example, have played a role;
  • The assessment took place under unfavourable assessment conditions, which may include noise, extreme temperatures, technological problems and/or other disturbances; and
  • A considerable period of time has elapsed since the previous CPP assessment, during which time the candidate may have developed further cognitive skills.

In the absence of the factors listed above, and in instances where the first CPP can be regarded as valid, a reassessment should be postponed by at least 5 years or more if possible. An exact time frame for valid reassessment is, however, difficult to specify.

At times it is, however, useful to re-administer the CPP to determine the impact that developmental initiatives, work exposure, maturity, changes in attitude, self-confidence and interests may have had on a candidate’s cognitive functioning. It may also be useful to reassess those whose existing CPP reports are of questionable validity.


What if there are several sets of CPP results available?

When several sets of CPP results are available for one candidate, qualitative interpretation by a skilled practitioner is required. Cognadev consultants can assist in this regard. Cognadev consultants normally also link the most valid set of results to the client’s account. Accredited practitioners may, however, request access to all the various sets of results of a particular candidate.


The potential impact of CPP reassessment

Certain processing scores are more easily affected by reassessment than others. The “Learning”, “Speed”, “Judgement” and “Memory” scores of a second or third set of CPP results are often somewhat elevated – but not for all candidates. Other dimensions are, however, more resistant to change. These include the “Potential level of work” indication, as well as the “Units of information”, “Complexity” and “Integration” scores.

It seems that candidates who prefer familiarity are more likely to obtain higher scores when reassessed, whereas candidates who tend to seek cognitive challenge and who achieved strategic profiles with a first CPP assessment, may not find a repeated exposure to the task as engaging. The latter candidates may, therefore, not apply themselves as rigorously as they initially did. This may result in somewhat lower reassessment scores for such candidates. Their first set of CPP results, thus, remain the most valid.


Statistical evaluation of CPP reassessment

Even though reassessment may affect the validity of the assessment results, the CPP test-retest reliability studies on a homogeneous sample of n = 87 and heterogeneous samples of n = 2724 and n = 475, have indicated test-retest Gower similarity indices of around 0.7 to 0.9 for the cognitive styles, processing competencies and level of work results. These reliability studies are reported on in more depth in the CPP Technical Manual. To read up more on the evidence-based research on the CPP, please take a look at Cognadev’s Technical Report Series.

Strategies to develop analytical and strategic thinking

By Maretha Prinsloo on June 26, 2019


This blog follows on the principles of organisational and individual learning entry which focused on the different ways in which organisations can extend the traditional concept of learning by implementing principles of “learning organisations”(See the link to navigate to this blog included here: https://www.cognadev.com/principles-of-organisational-and-individual-learning). In this previous entry, it was found that organisations can enhance learning by focusing on the development of employees’ cognitive thinking processes. 

In order to influence the cognitive development of employees within an organisation, it is necessary to start by assessing the current and potential cognitive processing capabilities and preferences of individuals and their teams. Two of the assessment techniques available for this purpose are the Cognitive Process Profile (CPP) and the Learning Orientation Index (LOI) as provided by Cognadev. Both these tools offer automated simulation exercises which operationalise, externalise and track thinking processes according to thousands of measurement points. The results are algorithmically interpreted by expert systems and comprehensive reports on an individual’s cognitive functioning and metacognitive awareness are generated. Metacognition refers to an awareness of one’s own thinking processes as well as the use of certain metacognitive guidelines or criteria to direct and evaluate these thinking processes.

The cognitive requirements of the organisational work environment may also be assessed by means of the Contextualised Competency Mapping (CCM) tool, which allows for person-job and team-job matching to guide learning and development initiatives. The CCM tool is also provided by Cognadev.

All of Cognadev’s cognitive assessments and training initiatives are based on a theoretical model of thinking processes. More so, the cognitive developmental initiative itself is guided by the application of a particular methodology anchored in metacognitive awareness.


The theoretical foundation for the Cognitive Process Profile (CPP) and the Learning Orientation Index (LOI):

The Information Processing Model (IPM) is the theoretical model on which both CPP and LOI assessments are based. It can be represented as follows, whereby the various cognitive processes are organised holonically, and guided from a metacognitive perspective.


The Information Processing Model (IPM):Metacognitive Criteria Illustration


The following metacognitive criteria guide the application of all processing skills:

Metacognitive Criteria Illustration


Taking account of the above, the development of both analytical and strategic thinking skills will briefly be explained here.

Additionally, once the strengths and development areas, stylistic preferences and the complexity capabilities of candidates have been assessed, suitable cognitive development programmes can be planned and implemented. These should ideally involve facilitated group exercises which capitalise on real, job-related cognitive challenges.


The importance of metacognition in developing cognitive skills:

Analytical thinking and Systems / Strategic thinking skills courses should ideally entail two to three days of intensive facilitation. This should also be followed up in the longer term in collaboration with peers and mentors from the work environment. Besides, as these two thinking skills programmes are of a purely cognitive focus, a broader perspective to develop emotional and consciousness factors in addition to these cognitive skills should also be offered. This will accommodate for the highly integrated nature of human functioning. Most participants are able to embrace these broader principles with relative ease, whereas the development of advanced cognitive skills requires long term practice aimed at the internalisation of metacognitive criteria.


1. The development of analytical thinking skills:

Analytical skills are particularly useful for dealing with the challenges of operational environments. Due to the dynamics and fuzziness of practical situations, everyday problem-solving challenges are often vastly more complex than the available theoretical models. Analytical problem-solving skills are thus required. The good news is that these can be developed with relative ease.

Specifically, analytical skills development entails the activation of metacognitive guidelines to deal with domain specific, job-related, problem-solving challenges. A methodology aimed at transferring and internalising specific metacognitive criteria is recommended.

The learning outcomes of analytical skills development normally includes the following capabilities, including the ability to:

  • Explore situations in terms of the metacognitive criteria of relevance and clarity;
  • Establish an appropriate level of detail versus generality at which to deal with a task;
  • Work with the required detail and precision;
  • Compare various task-related aspects spontaneously;
  • Identify and apply rules systematically;
  • Differentiate between elements;
  • Identify relationships and link related aspects;
  • Order and structure information coherently to make sense;
  • Integrate new and discrepant information into existing frameworks;
  • Restructure maps and models to accommodate emerging requirements;
  • Contextualise own solutions, models or ideas appropriately; and
  • Show metacognitive awareness of all of the above cognitive processes.


Analytical skills training thus involves the assessment of each candidate’s current cognitive preferences and capabilities. Their metacognitive awareness is of particular interest. Once these profiles have been investigated, strengths and development areas in terms of metacognitive awareness can be identified at the individual and team level. A metacognitive “voice”, which best reflects a person’s strength, can then be allocated to that individual member. For example, one person may take on the role of “The voice of relevance”, another “The voice of coherence”, or “The voice of clarity” (refer to the IPM).


Furthermore, analytical skills training sessions should be facilitated by a trained professional who understands the dynamics involved in cognitive functioning. Exercises in these sessions centre around dealing with real job-related challenges. Typically, during this facilitated process, those holding certain metacognitive “voices” have the authority to interrupt the group’s problem-solving process at any time, in order to create an awareness of a neglected metacognitive criterion. The facilitator’s role will, therefore, include to capitalise on such insights as well as to reinforce the internalisation of specific metacognitive criteria or “voices”.

The full training process is thus aimed at the “automation” or internalisation of metacognitive criteria by participants to guide their thinking processes in future. Once all group members have practised their metacognitive strengths, the roles are reversed so that they take on their underdeveloped metacognitive “voices”. This facilitated workshop should be followed up with applicable projects and include the involvement of mentors or peers to further consolidate the metacognitive skills acquisition of each person.

Whereas analytical thinking involves a focus on the constituent parts of systems, strategic / systems thinking processes reverse the relationships between the parts and the whole. In other words, in the case of systems thinking, the parts can only be understood in terms of the dynamics of the whole.


2. Building strategic / systems thinking capabilities:

Systems thinking remains a critical prerequisite for the strategic viability of organisations. This skill is unfortunately seldom taught within educational and training contexts, where the focus is mostly on the transfer of knowledge and skills. Unless systems / strategic thinking awareness is cultivated within an organisation, the principles of learning organisations will not be adopted by a critical mass of people. This may result in the gradual deterioration of learning values and ideals into mere ‘window dressing’.

According to a systems approach, the world is regarded as an integrated, dynamic whole, or a series of nested sub-systems forming a holon. In agreement with Ken Wilber (2007), who popularised Arthur Koestler’s concept of holons, the entire universe is organised such that subsequent systems levels include and transcend their predecessors.

The development of systems thinking skills to optimise strategic thinking is thus aimed at the acquisition of integrative, intuitive and holistic cognitive capabilities. As in the case of analytical thinking training, pre-assessment of delegates’ cognitive capacity and preferences will guide the specific design of a systems thinking development initiative.

A Systems / Strategic thinking course normally involves a focus on real organisational challenges in terms of four phases of analysis and conceptualisation, namely:

  • An in-depth investigation of the strategic challenges of the organisation to generate ideas, externalise positions and polarise perspectives. The complex information generated is then analysed according to a typical, matrix-like technique (Kepner-Tregeo, 1997), using unique and appropriate evaluation criteria. At the end of the first phase, most participants will fully understand the strategic challenges faced. These challenges can then be defined and metaphors selected to represent their underlying dynamics.
  • The next phase involves a dynamic analysis of the root causes of these strategic challenges, and the identification of leverage points and catalysts of change. Here the definition of strategic challenge is analysed in terms of the four most appropriate archetypes as proposed by Peter Senge (1990).
  • The following step involves creative strategy formulation, whereby unusual techniques are used to stimulate creativity. Initially, this is often met with resistance from rationally trained executives and managers. However, in retrospect, these creative exercises are often regarded as the most liberating and enlightening aspect of the course. Various intuitive techniques are practised – most of which have been proposed by the intuitive Sue Mehrtens (2002).
  • Consolidation of the entire process takes place by evaluating the extent to which the formulated creative strategy – aimed at dealing with the organisation’s strategic challenges – can be implemented and contextualised. Factors such as organisational structure, processes, power dynamics and measurement options to track intangible progress, are considered.


Thus, to summarise, in the case of analytical thinking, elements are isolated, the nature of interrelationships are investigated, a detailed and precise approach followed, single variables are modified, and a linear or structured approach applied. Systems thinking, on the other hand, involves unifying interrelationships, investigating the effects of interaction, considering groups of variables, and is best suited to dealing with vague, fuzzy, complex, and dynamic information. Systems thinking focuses on purposes and objectives and considers the impact of the duration of time.

Nevertheless, the analytical approach is often criticised for its somewhat reductionist and factual nature, and the systems approach, characterised by holistic thinking, thereby emphasise the different sides of the proverbial coin. Both are equally valuable components of individual and organisational learning and performance.  Ultimately, all learning is rooted in culture and values – constructs that are best described by the construct of consciousness.  Organisational and individual learning initiatives should, therefore, be approached in an integrative manner, by simultaneously taking into consideration the impact of cognitive preferences and the valuing systems or cultural memes rooted in consciousness.


An in-depth description of the above mentioned cognitive training processes can be found in http://integralleadershipreview.com/15984-15984/.





Beck, DE & Cowan, CC (2005). The Spiral Dynamics: mastering values, leadership and change. Wiley-Blackwell.

Kepner, CH & Tregeo, BB, (1997). The New Rational Manager. Princeton Research Press.

Mehrtens, Sue E (2002). Intuition overview. Unpublished article.

Mindell, Arnold (2010). Process Mind: A User’s Guide to Connecting with the Mind of God. Quest Books. Theosophic Publishing House, Wheaton IL.

Prinsloo, M. & Prinsloo, R. (2018). The assessment and development of Analytical and Systems thinking skills in the work environment. Integral Leadership Review, November. http://integralleadershipreview.com/15984-15984/

Prinsloo, M & Barrett P (2013). Cognition: Theory, measurement, implications. The Integral Leadership Review, June. http://integralleadershipreview.com/9270-cognition-theory-measurement-implications/

Prinsloo, M (2012). Consciousness models in action: Comparisons. The Integral Leadership Review, June http://integralleadershipreview.com/7166-consciousness-models-in-action-comparisons/

Senge, Peter (1990). The Fifth Discipline (2nd Edition). Cornerstone Import.

Wilber, Ken (2007). The Integral Vision. Shambhala Publications: Boston.


Understanding Human Consciousness: Theory and Application

M Prinsloo
October 08, 2018

The study of consciousness attracts the attention of psychologists, philosophers and scientists. It is, however, mostly dealt with in a descriptive and speculative manner, without explaining the nature of the subjective experience and the dynamics involved.
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Equifinal profiling

Towards an Integrated Assessment of Leadership Potential

M Prinsloo
August 15, 2018

This paper focuses on the assessment of leadership potential in terms of a number of related philosophical, theoretical, and technical considerations. A critical evaluation of current assessment practice is followed by the introduction of alternative assessment methodologies and techniques aimed at measuring consciousness, cognition, and motivation. Practical guidelines for integrated and holistic leadership assessment, as well as the future of assessment, are also addressed.
Introduction The issue of leadership is central to the practice of industrial psychology and psychometrics, the purpose of which include realising human potential and transforming counter-productive cultural patterns in order to enhance sustainability, integration, and evolution within the realm of organisational and other social systems. Leadership research includes a focus on the individual (for purposes of personal development); an organisational orientation (to enhance performance and value add in the work environment); or an existential-philosophical perspective (focused on the evolution of consciousness). The aim of this paper is to contextualise the construct of leadership potential in terms of complexity, collective consciousness, and personal traits. Factors related to cognition, levels of consciousness, and motivation are integrated in terms of a Jungian perspective based on the work of Mindell in particular. Given the shortcomings of current psychometric offerings, alternative assessment methodologies and techniques are proposed for the measurement of the following:
  • cognition by the Cognitive Process Profile (CPP);
  • levels of consciousness by the Value Orientations (VO); and
  • motivational factors by means of the Motivational Profile (MP).
This paper is the first in a series of four on leadership, including:
  • this discussion of leadership assessment solutions;
  • a second article describing a theoretical model of cognitive processing;
  • a third contribution proposing an integrative theoretical framework of levels of consciousness; and
  • a fourth paper explaining the development of consciousness and cognition within the leadership context.
These four aspects represent a holistic perspective on the assessment and development of leadership potential.
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Equifinal profiling

Technical Report Series

P Barrett
August 15, 2018

Technical Report Series These articles provide detailed expositions of analyses undertaken as part of the evidence-base supporting Cognadev products. Each contains an executive summary, along with the logic, analysis-details, results, and critical evaluations supporting the statements made in that summary.

  • Evaluating the relationships between 4 subscales and the Full IQ scales of Sigma Assessment System's Multidimensional Aptitute Battery (MAB)
  • Evaluating the relationships between the Abstract Reasoning subscale of Psytech International's General Reasoning Test Battery (GRT2) and a range of CPP attributes which appear in/contribute to the CPP assessment report. The sample numbered 259 South African employment candidates assessed within a recruitment process by an organizational development consultancy. 143 cases completed the CPP, with 138 cases with complete data on both the CPP and GRT2 Abstract Reasoning scale.
  • Evaluating the relationships between the Verbal and Numerical subscales of Psytech International's Critical Reasoning Test Battery (CRTB2) and a range of CPP attributes which appear in/contribute to the CPP assessment report. The sample numbered 128 South African employment candidates assessed within a recruitment process by an HR consultancy.

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Technical Report 1

  • The retest reliability of the VO was assessed, where the test results to be compared are two ordered-category sequences of selected and rejected orientations, consisting of up to three orientations per sequence (Accepted Values) and one or two orientations (Rejected Values). A new computational comparison analysis algorithm was constructed to work with ordered category sequences, generating a percentage match index varying between 0% (no agreement) to 100% (absolute identity).

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Technical Report 2

  • Using the VO Technical Manual mixed-gender sample dataset of n=3,683 cases, four homogeneity (reliability) coefficients were computed for every values orientation "scale"

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Technical Report 3

  • Analysing and reporting upon the relationships between VO selected and rejected values orientations, MBTI personality scores & types, Belbin ranked team types, and CPP attribute-scores, levels of work, and ranked cognitive styles.

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Technical Report 4

    Investigating short, medium, and long-term (> 5 years) retest reliability using two samples of data:
  • 87 students undertaking an Accounting degree course at a South African University
  • 2,724 respondents comprised primarily of job applicants who had completed the CPP on two separate occasions, but also included some students, and attendees at CPP training courses.

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Technical Report 5

  • Does a small deviation r-square value have any pragmatic value at all?
  • What magnitude of deviation r-square is worth reporting beyond: nothing to see here?

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Technical Report 5

  • This paper investigates how the cost of implementing the Q12 Employee Engagement assessment may be critically evaluated in terms of calculating the likelihood of making or losing money as a corporate-wide Q12 score is increased. i.e. The question posed and answered via computational simulation is "what are the odds of a company making or losing money as a result of an increase in score from 36 (average) to something higher".

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Technical Report 5

  • This study is aimed at answering the question of whether the CPP results of individuals tend to match the complexity requirements of their work as indicated by the Stratified Systems Theory (SST).

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Technical Report 5

  • This study investigates the relationship between: - Cognadev’s Cognitive Process Profile (CPP) - Cognadev’s Values Orientations (VO) - Bar-On’s Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQi)

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Technical Report 5

  • This study investigates the nature of the proposed holonic model of information processing constructs on which the Cognitive Process Profile (CPP) is based, and what distinguishes low and high information processing competency groups in terms of their preferred cognitive styles, functional area of employment, and educational qualifications.

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Technical Report 10

  • In this investigation, we look at how preferred cognitive styles vary over different job families and age-groups, equated on their educational level. A sample of the most recently acquired 60,572 cases of CPP data were used, subdivided into four age groups (20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50 and above). We computed the median ranked style for each of the 14 CPP cognitive styles, within each age-group, across 10 job families.

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Technical Report 11

  • This investigation examines the variation in scores on the 14 CPP Information processing competencies (IPCs) as a function of various current employment categories, age at CPP completion, and highest attained educational level, using a sample of the most recently acquired 60,572 cases of CPP data.

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Technical Report 12

13. THE BINOMIAL EFFECT SIZE DISPLAY (BESD) Is this always an accurate index of effect?
  • I provide the definition, some warnings of the conditions under which it may not always produce accurate results, and some worked examples demonstrating those conditions. Overall, I think it’s a pretty good ‘quick approximation’ … but it is no substitute to having all the data at hand to calculate the actual effect/accuracy implied by a correlation/validity coefficient.

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Technical Report 13

Two articles support the content of this technical report: 

Rosenthal, R., & Rubin, D.R. (1982) A simple, general purpose display of magnitude of experimental effect. Journal of Educational Psychology, 74, 2, 166-169.

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A simple, general purpose display of magnitude of experimental effect.

Hsu, L.M. (2004) Biases of success rate differences shown in Binomial Effect Size Displays. Psychological Methods, 9, 2, 183-197.

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Biases of success rate differences shown in Binomial Effect Size Displays.

14. EQUIFINAL PROFILING I was asked this question recently by an executive responsible for hiring in a large corporate:
  • “We observe too often that people with seemingly disparate profiles can excel in the same role. What type of analyses can someone do with a big dataset of predictors and criteria to determine whether multiple "profiles" can predict success? It seems that traditional model approaches can’t do this as they just create a single ‘average’ profile or solution.”

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Technical Report 14

The “protective” long term effects of education on information processing skills

By Cognadev on August 7, 2018

Written by Paul Barrett and Maretha Prinsloo

In this investigation, we look at how the scores on the 14 Information Processing Competencies (IPCs), which are graphically represented in the CPP reports, vary over various current employment categories, as a function of age at CPP completion, and highest attained educational level.

The dataset we used was a sample of the most recently acquired 60,572 cases of CPP data where a subset of cases provided a current employment position which we subsequently coded into 9 categories (for example: Professional/Technical Consultant, Managing Director/CEO, Supervisor/Foreman). Some categories are not entirely discrete and are broad in terms of the industry sectors represented by cases within a category. However, for the purposes of analysis they might still be considered ‘informative’.

Three levels of education were created from five fixed-response categories:

  • 10-12 year of schooling
  • Diploma/Certificates
  • A single degree, or multiple degrees, including postgraduate degrees

Step 1

We initially created 27 graphs, three for each current employment category (one for each educational level), displaying LOWESS smoothed trend lines for all 14 IPCs. An example of one of these graphs is shown below:

The graph is displaying the IPC score-trends as a function of age, for the single and multiple-degree group for Professional and Technical Consultants.

By comparing the trends in the three graphs, one for each educational level for a single current employment position, several patterns can be seen (which are detailed in our Technical Report #12 available from our Technical Report Series web-page). Of interest to us here is what looks to be a ‘protective’ effect of education on certain IPCs for certain kinds of employment position.


Step 2

In order to show more clearly the specific trends, a subset graph was constructed showing the LOWESS trends for all three educational-level groups, for a specific IPC and employee group. Five clear examples of these are shown below:








In all examples, we see a clear trend for the single and multiple-degree group to show less attenuation of the information processing competency as a function of age. Certainly examples 1, 2, and 4 show a clear monotonic trend for what might be referred to as a ‘protective of competency level’ effect of education.

This finding may, however, also indicate that graduates show higher levels of intellectual functioning to begin with and may migrate towards careers where intellectual skill is required and constantly practiced.

The decline in the average IPC scores of those in Operational roles (admin, clerical, trainee, supervisory…) with increasing age, may also be an indication that individuals with higher levels of cognitive capability, over time obtain further educational qualifications or get promoted to more complex job environments.

Organisational and leadership transformation: a case study

By Maretha Prinsloo on June 26, 2018

The following case study was conducted in a multi-national manufacturing company with head office in Switzerland and operations in Europe, Asia, and North and South America. However, the processes and principles that were applied are applicable in organisations of any size.


A due-diligence evaluation of the executive and organisational performance indicated that the core organisational challenge was associated with its culture, which closely resembled that of the broader industry-sector within which it operated; characterised by inadequate governance and compliance standards. Given the entrenched nature of business development practices in the industry, a fundamental approach to the cultural transformation of the organisation was required.

The solution involved the appointment of a new CEO and HR Director; a review of the executive leadership of the organisation; an evaluation of the organisational culture and its long term social and environmental implications; and the development of executive leadership capability and awareness. Aspects involved included the assessment of senior leadership; an evaluation of job-related competency requirements; an analysis of organisational practices; the optimisation of people-job matching at executive levels by focusing on the “right person for the right job at the right time”; and the personal development of the executive leadership.

Given the emerging possibility at the time of a merger/acquisition opportunity, the organisational effectiveness and its potential impact on the long-term sustainability of the industry as a whole, were important considerations in the design of the transformational solution.

The Strategy

In order to fully understand the various local cultural milieus and the local and global work requirements of the existing executive talent, a structured assessment and evaluation strategy was deployed on 300 executives across regions in Asia, Europe, North and South America. This holistic assessment strategy included an evaluation of the business-related factors and job analyses. The complexity and competency requirements of the executive positions were assessed by means of the Contextualised Competency Mapping (CCM) process as provided by Cognadev.

In addition to the normal annual performance appraisals that were conducted at executive levels in the organisation, specific psychological characteristics of the executives were assessed:

  • cognitive preferences and capabilities;
  • value orientations and worldviews;
  • motivational drivers;
  • personality and team role preferences.

The assessment battery comprised the following instruments:

  • Cognitive Process Profile (CPP)
  • Value Orientations (VO)
  • Motivational Profile (MP)
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
  • Belbin Team roles.

Supervised assessments were conducted globally by Cognadev. All executives received individualised feedback on their assessment results aimed at enhancing self-insight. Feedback sessions included the discussion of job-related performance issues. Competency reports were compiled for all participants.

After the assessment phase was completed, developmental initiatives were then implemented.

Although the executive team had been performing at a satisfactory level globally with the organisation showing adequate growth and profitability across regions, the assessment results indicated development areas that needed to be addressed.

Given the fact that time was of the essence, it was decided to restructure executive positions where necessary and to allocate executives to roles that best suited their personal profiles. Two thirds of the executive were subsequently moved to newly structured roles.

The psychological assessment results further informed the design of appropriate development programmes and business coaching initiatives which were undertaken by a leading European business school. In addition, the results of the job analyses and the competency reports were used by the HR Director of the company for the joint purposes of job structuring/refinement and people placement. His primary aim was to optimise person-job matching to achieve a sense of “flow” for the executives involved, as this was expected to optimise job effectiveness, job satisfaction and engagement at the executive level.

In collaboration with the organisation, the developmental initiatives undertaken by the business school comprised structured lectures and personal business coaching sessions. This systematic approach involved behaviour-based leadership interventions aimed at self and business awareness, self-empowerment, self-transcendence and the acceptance of accountability in pursuit of business, social and environmental goals.

Given the potential impact of organisational culture and the associated values and behaviours of the executive, a focus on culture and values formed a core component of the transformational initiative. It involved the identification of the core values of the organisation including those of people development, integrity and customer excellence. Efforts at embedding these values throughout the organisation involved the operationalisation of the broad values in terms of their behaviours.

This information was then incorporated into a performance appraisal system which was deployed among employees within all levels of the organisation, assessing criteria such as:

  • “lead self”, which refers to owning the desired values;
  • “lead others”, demonstrated by acting as a role model and continuously promoting organisational values;
  • “lead the organisation”, demonstrated by the alignment of business practices and decisions with the organisational values.

Throughout the entire process, the HR Director monitored the impact of the initiative on the organisational culture as well as the morale at both executive and operational levels of the organisation; taking feedback from the executives on the impact and effectiveness of the various components of the solution.

The Outcomes

The executive assessment and development strategy spanned approximately three years. On completion of the project, the performance of the executive teams in the various regions was again formally evaluated. Another due-diligence exercise was conducted to assess the broad impact of the organisational transformation process and its contribution to the organisation’s financial value in particular, this latter being especially important given the upcoming merger/acquisition opportunity.


1. Financial

A marked difference was found between the results of the two due-diligence procedures that were conducted within the 3-year time frame. The transformational initiative was gauged to have contributed to a significant improvement in the performance of the executive team and the organisation as a whole. This translated into an increment of approximately €3bn to the net asset value of the organisation, which had a significant positive impact on the value of its shares and, therefore, the final acquisition consideration of the organisation.

2. Human Capital

Additionally, the impact of the executive development initiative was observed in executives reporting greater self-actualisation and job satisfaction, and giving positive feedback on the effectiveness of the business coaching. The enhanced executive performance was verified by 360-degree feedback results in which the majority of executives received increased performance scores. The modal location within bell-curve representations of executive performance moved significantly toward higher levels of performance and effectiveness.

3. Business Unit Performance

All the business units showed a compelling degree of enhanced business performance. The CEO of the organisation publicly attributed this to the transformational initiative, led by HR, which had focused on the organisational culture and values as well as the assessment and development of the executive.


4. Organisational Governance

The previously identified organisational culture of inadequate compliance and governance was replaced by one more conducive to robust and enduring organisational success. The negative financial effect of unethical business practices (calculated as amounting to approximately a third of all organisational expenses) was substantially reduced without impacting on the turnover or market viability of the organisation.


The ROI of this organisational transformation project which primarily involved executive assessment and development exceeded all expectations. Not only did it result in employee engagement and effectiveness at the strategic levels of the organisation, it also benefited employee morale and contributed to a culture of compliance and ethical business practices that led directly to a significant increase in the financial value of the company.

Cognitive complexity and cognitive styles: implications for strategic work

By Paul Barrett on June 21, 2018

This research study investigates the nature of the proposed holonic model of information processing constructs on which the Cognitive Process Profile (CPP) is based and its implications for strategic work. This is done by determining the relationship between high versus low levels of information processing competence (as a measure of cognitive complexity), and cognitive styles (as a measure of cognitive preferences associated with the inherent altitude and inclusivity of the proposed holonic model).

The Cognitive Process Profile (CPP) assessment

The CPP measures a person’s cognitive preferences and capabilities by means of a simulation exercise which was designed to externalise and track thinking processes according to thousands of measurement points. The results are analysed by an expert system and automated reports are generated. The CPP primarily measures the following constructs: information processing competencies, cognitive styles, units of information, learning potential, a suitable working environment, as well as cognitive strengths and development areas.

The theoretical model of thinking processes

The CPP is based on a self-contained theoretical model of thinking processes. The Cognadev Information Processing model is holonically organised in that the various thinking processes are represented as a “soft hierarchy” of increasingly complex and inclusive operations. A holon refers to a system which consists of various subsystems, each of which incorporates and transcends underlying subsystems. The thinking processes incorporated in the CPP model can be regarded as functional information processing categories.

Information processing constructs

Each of these information processing constructs consists of a number of sub-constructs, all of which are guided by the application of metacognitive criteria. For example, the processing construct of Exploration consists of sub-processes including scanning, searching, focusing, hypothesising, investigating, discriminating, selecting and eliminating information. The metacognitive criteria that guide exploration activities are those of clarity, relevance and depth. A high score on the information processing construct of Exploration, indicates the effectiveness by which a person investigates unfamiliar information.

Not all the information processing constructs measured, indicate effectiveness in thinking, though. Some processes such as Quick closure and Assumptions amongst others, may actually indicate ineffective thinking strategies or an absence of metacognitive awareness.

The theoretical model of thinking processes on which the CPP is based, can be depicted graphically as follows:


The various metacognitive criteria responsible for the effective application of each of the processes are shown below:


Cognitive Styles

The cognitive styles as measured by the CPP primarily describe the cognitive preferences a person shows in dealing with unfamiliar information. However, it is highly likely that the person will generally apply those same stylistic preferences in familiar contexts also. Cognitive styles can be described as broad cognitive response tendencies and should be understood as the most frequent behaviour during the assessment.

The definition of the particular styles may not be exactly what is generally in layman’s terms associated with the title word. Logical style, for example, implies disciplined thinking in a consequential and process-based manner to transform information structures or to identify implications and consequences. This goes beyond the meaning of the layman’s term “logical”.

A person’s stylistic preferences can be magnified by certain personality and environmental factors as well as value orientations. An example is the Reflective style, which may indicate a level of caution, a risk avoidant personality trait, internalised cultural values or possible exposure to high risk or punitive environments where mistakes are not tolerated. Certain stylistic tendencies are also reinforced or adopted in certain educational and work environments. Examples include the highly analytical requirements of certain financial and scientific career fields, or the creative, intuitive, at times even random, ideas-oriented approaches required by arts and, to some extent, the social sciences. Preferences for the application of particular styles, can thus be rooted in cognitive “values” or habitually applied metacognitive criteria. Included are the tendencies to strive for accuracy; the habit to suppress reactive responses in favour of being reflective; or the tendency to create certainty by approaching tasks in an ordered and structured manner.

Other than the information processing constructs, such as Exploration, which indicates effectiveness of processing, cognitive styles such as the Explorative Style, may merely indicate the tendency to explore irrespective of the effectiveness involved. Typical cognitive styles which fall into this category include the Explorative, Structured, Reflective, Random or Trial-and-Error and Memory styles. The Intuitive and Analytical styles can partly be grouped into this category as well.

However, the Logical, Integrative, Holistic and Learning styles, presuppose effectiveness of approach. These styles also involve dealing with complexity in an “inclusive” and metacognitively aware manner. Again, the Analytical and Intuitive styles can to some extent be added into this category.

To some extent the various stylistic preferences echo the holonic nature of the proposed information processing model.

The CPP indicates a test candidate’s preference for 14 different cognitive styles by assigning a ranking to them according to the least (1) and most (14) preferred or utilised.

Investigating the nature of the holonic structure of thinking processes

The holonic nature of the proposed processing model reflects a progression towards greater complexity, inclusiveness and metacognitive awareness at higher levels of processing. In terms of the altitude inherent to the holonic model, Integrative and Transformational styles (as reflective of integrative and logical reasoning processes) can thus be expected at higher levels of organisation on the holonic model than those of the Explorative and Analytical styles. The more complex styles can therefore be expected to be associated with greater information processing competence.

Evidence for the altitude and inclusivity of the holonic processing model can be investigated by differentiating between individuals with high versus low processing competence and comparing this to stylistic preferences to determine the degree of inclusiveness or altitude of both the proposed processes of the information processing model, as well as the associated styles.

Information processing competencies (IPCs) and Styles

For the purposes of the current analysis, a sample of the most recently acquired 60,572 cases of CPP data were used, selecting two clearly discrete groups from within this dataset according to a simple filter:

  • Low IPCs; contains individuals who score at or below the 25th percentile (the lower quartile) on every one of the 14 IPCs (n = 796).
  • High IPCs; contains individuals who score at or above the 75th percentile (the upper quartile) on every one of the 14 IPCs (n = 581).

The median ranked styles across all 14 styles of the two groups were then compared, where the lowest (1) ranked style is the least preferred, and the highest (14) is the most preferred/utilised.

Comparing median ranked styles in low and high IPC groups (1=least preferred, 14 = most preferred)


High IPC cases show a greater preference for the cognitive styles Learning, Logical, Integrative and Holistic. Less conclusive results were found in the cases of the Analytical, Reflective, Memory, Intuitive and to some extent, the Structured, styles.

Low IPC cases show a greater preference for the cognitive styles: Metaphoric, Explorative, Reactive/Impulsive, Trial-and-error/Random.

What can we conclude?

Styles that largely reflect the use of less inclusive processing skills, were associated with lower levels of processing competence. For example, by comparing the Explorative and Analytical style preferences, it seems that the Analytical style is associated with greater complexity and altitude than Explorative style and therefore of a more inclusive nature within the proposed holonic structure of the model.

The Analytical and the Logical styles are closely related as both reflect a detailed, rule-based and rigorous approach to problem solving. In the case of the Analytical style, the emphasis is on subdividing information in a detailed and systematic manner to better understand the interrelationships between elements. In the case of the Logical style the emphasis is on following a rule-based approach through to identify consequences and implications or to restructure, transfer, transform or contextualise a solution. From the results obtained in this study it seems that a preference for a logical style is associated with greater complexity and altitude than that associated with an Analytical style.

In the case of the Structuring, Integrative, Holistic and Metaphoric styles, all are involved in meaningfully conceptualising information. The Integrative and Holistic styles are closely related as some of their building blocks overlap. The two approaches do, however, differ in that the Integrative style is largely associated with an interest in coherence and abstraction, whereas the Holistic style is aimed at providing simple contextual solutions of practical utility. It was found that the Integrative and Holistic styles reflect a greater degree of inclusiveness and altitude than the Metaphoric style.

These findings support the altitude and inclusiveness of processing constructs of the proposed holonic model of processing and indicates the cognitive styles best suited to complex work environments. The implication of this finding is that the Logical, Integrative, Holonic and Learning styles are the best suited to the cognitive requirements of strategic roles in organisations,

* Cognadev Technical Report #10 provides the detailed sample information and descriptive statistics from which this blog article has been compiled

Cognitive Process Profile (CPP) Singapore

January 23, 2018

3 Day Product Training – 20 CEUs (including 2 ethics points)

Innovative. Dynamic. Valid.

The Cognitive Process Profile (CPP) is an advanced computerised assessment technique that externalises and tracks thinking processes to indicate a person’s cognitive preferences and capabilities. CPP results contribute to the decision-making processes of: selection, placement, team compilation, developmental, organisational structuring and succession planning. The CPP has been accredited by the HPCSA.


The CPP training is aimed at HR practitioners, psychologists and psychometrists. It covers the relevant theories on which the CPP is based, such as Stratified Systems Theory, the CPP’s Information Processing model and the concept of learning potential, among others. The constructs and the application of CPP results are addressed. Completing the CPP is a prerequisite for the training.


An accreditation assignment validates the practitioner’s understanding of the CPP constructs. It involves the interpretation of two CPP reports. Understanding the reports – as verified by passing the assignment – is a prerequisite for receiving CPP reports. Guidelines and training are provided to pass the assignment.

CPP Refresher – 8 CEUs.

A CPP Refresher course is also available (it is booked as the first two days of the main CPP training). This course offers an opportunity to check one’s understanding regarding the application of the cognitive constructs and to be brought up to speed with the latest developments.

Email info@cognadev.com to find out more.

Useful downloads and tools

January 01, 2017

If you are a registered Cognadev consultant and have completed the CPP training you can download some useful files.
Installation guides and tools Research and technical manuals The following technical manuals are available:
  • CPP Technical Manual
  • LOI Technical Manual
Contact Cognadev for the latest manuals.