My Thinking

Discovering My Personality Type, 4.

According to: Allen F. Harrison and Robert M. Bramson, Styles of thinking: strategies for asking questions, making decisions and solving problems.  Doubleday: Anchor Press, c1982.  202p.  Index.  

Harrison and Bramson found that as behavioral scientists, consultants and teachers that people approach problems in identification and resolution by ways fundamentally different from one another.  Decisions follow from differing psychological bases as well.  Therefore, they have concentrated on the “styles of thinking” that people use to attack and deal with issues.

Much of their work is based on the studies of C. West Churchman (The Design of Inquiring Systems, 1971) in the analysis of his five identified modalities of thinking.  An inventory, developed by Harrison-Bramson, the InQ, offers five choices for each of 18 questions.  Respondents rank the choices from 5 (most like me) to 1 (least like me).  A scoring sheet calculates scores to each of the modes that translate to preferences in ways of asking questions and making decisions.  These preferences are:

  • Sythesist (11%): Look for perspectives that link otherwise contradictory views and produce a “best fit” solution.
  • Idealist (37%): Look for shared goals among a group or society as a whole and that commonality, when recognized, will bring people together.
  • Pragmatist (18%) Look for whatever works based upon experience with the immediate situation, here and now, in order to get on with the task.
  • Analyst (35%): Look through examination and application of theory for a scientifically verifiable best way that is rational, predictable and stable.
  • Realist (24%): Look for verifiable facts on which people can or ought to agree in order to fix things.

 In successive chapters, Harrison-Bramson, discuss each style as to its character, approach and methods or strategies for problem solving and decision-making.  Since combinations of styles are also possible, one chapter describes the Synthesist-Idealist, and so on.

 Harrison-Bramson aim at two objectives.  People can learn the differences in the styles so they appreciate better their differences with others and can learn to work with them.  People can also understand their own style more profoundly so that they can develop their strengths and know when they should correct, temper, or expand them by the processes of other styles.  Another whole chapter is devoted to very clearly presented ways to employ thinking processes in each of the styles.

Using InQ, I show a strong preference for the Idealist mode and a moderate preference for the Analyst mode.  I took the inventory at two different times with the same results as to style but slightly differing emphases.

Dates Synthesist Idealist Pragmatist Analyst Realist
June 2001 54 69 51 60 36
Sept. 2002 42 78 47 60 43

As an Idealist-Analyst (IA), the Synthesist mode comes in third but not high enough to score as a preference.  Generally, I have thought of myself as a synthesist, but this preference did not score distinctively high because I flee from conflict.  Synthesists are on the lookout for conflict, identifying and articulating conflicts in order to bring opposing views together.  Surprisingly, I scored higher as a Pragmatist than a Realist, through both were low.  Philosophically, I have had a low opinion of pragmatism, regarding it as a valueless and unexamined expediency.  But, this inventory showed on the first results an absolute neglect of the Realist position because I can only stand just so much minutia when they begin to crowd out principles from their deserved –  and for me – primary consideration.  The second time, scores showed a better balance and more attention to data at the further weakening of the Synthesist position.

Happily, I resonated with Harrison-Bramson’s characterization of the Idealist-Analyst combination as one who takes a broad, comprehensive view, and one who is a future-oriented planner.  The IA seeks to achieve high standards and aims using the best possible methods.  Therefore, the IA process takes time for examination and mulling over.

I see parallels in this inventory with Myers-Briggs where I am a strong INTJ.  Certainly, however, I am less of an analyst in the collection of data, due to my judging (J) preferences, than I am an idealist, being iNtuitive (N), my dominant preference.

My Thinking is part 4 of a multi-part look at my personality based on various approaches.  See also My INTJ (1), My LifeKey (2), My Learning (3), My Solo (5).

 © 2009 by Roger Sween

 My Thinking appeared in CeptsForm on Blogspot, 2009, and moved to WordPress, 13 Nov. 2010.

I welcome substantive comment on the contents of this blog.  Personal comments may be made to my email address,

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