I did a thread on Harrison and Bramson Thinking Styles in 2009. I have some additional information that is more in-depth, so I decided to start a new thread for it.
Test is here:
You do not need to fill in your name, email address, or team number.
Take the test and then click 'calculate,' for your scores.
Note: Preference for a thinking style is a score of 60 or more. If you have two styles with a score of 60 or more, check for your combination style.
Categorizing Thinking Styles
Harrison and Bramson (1984) categorize thinking styles as follows:
- Synthesist. Are integrators; they like to discover two or more things that no other people may appear to have little of or no relationship at all and find ways to fit them into a new, creative combination. Synthesists tend to be interested in conflict and also like change – often for their own sake and might accept technology upgrades easily. Synthesists tend to pride themselves on their ‘creativity’.
- Direct confrontation
- Question assumptions
- Third party observation
- Suspending opposing ideas
- Speculation & fantasy
- Devil's advocate
- Idealist. The idealist mode of thinking is used by people who like to take a broad view of things and tend to be future-oriented. They also think about goals and are interested in social values. Idealists are like Synthesists in their focus on values rather than facts. Idealists like to be seen by other people as useful, supportive, open and trustworthy. When it comes to solving problems, Idealists are at their best in situations where the important things are values, judgment, feeling and emotions.
- Assimilative thinking
- Looking at the whole
- Rush to structure
- Focus on long range issues
- Pre-emptive participation
- Receptive listening
- Conciliation tools
- Pragmatist. The motto of the Pragmatist is ‘Whatever works.’ They excel at finding new ways of doing things with the materials that lie at hand. They are apt to be interested in formulating strategies and tactics for getting things done and they often like to be liked, approved of, or at least accepted. The pragmatist approach is flexible and adaptive.
- Looking for quick payoff
- Tactical thinking
- Marketing approach
- Contingency planning
- Analyst. The Analyst approaches problems in a careful, logical, methodical way, paying great attention to details. Analysts analyse and judge things within a broad framework that helps to explain and arrive at conclusions. Analysts want to be sure of things, to know what’s going to happen next. They take pride in their competence, in the sense of understanding all the facets of whatever the situation in which they happen to be.
- Deduction - theoretical
- Systematic analysis of alternatives
- Search for more data
- One variable at a time
- Charting the situation
- Realist. The Realists motto is, ‘facts are facts.’ Realists firmly believe that any two intelligent people, properly equipped with eyes and other sense organs, will at once agree on the facts. Without agreement on the fact, Realist believes, things don’t get done. The Realist always wants to get things done by proceeding on the facts that are at hand, rather than by gathering ever more data as Analysts do.
- Reality from observation & experience
- Setting firm objectives
- Making categories: specifics
- Fixing and correcting
Multiple Styles of Thinking
It is, however, naïve to assume that all individuals neatly fit into one or the other thinking style category (Harrison & Bramson, 1984). This section discusses multiple styles of thinking. Harrison and Bramson (1984) categorize multiple thinking styles as follows:
- Idealist-Analyst (I-A). The I-A is characterized by a broad, comprehensive view. They are careful, thoughtful people who want to achieve the ideal goal using the best method possible.They are unlikely to make quick decisions and possess a future-oriented, planned view of things.
- Analyst-Realist (A-R). The A-R person is highly task-oriented and objective. They like facts and structured approaches to problems. The A-R does not like situations that defy analysis and when confronted with such a situation they tend to be unable to cope.
- Synthesist-Idealist (S-I). The S-I thinking style is in many ways the exact opposite of the A-R. The S-I will tend to focus on ideas and inferences rather than structure and facts. They are perceived as being conceptualized and theorists by other individuals and therefore not very practical.
- Idealist-Realist (I-R). The I-R is characterized by the twin thrust of high standards and concreteness. They know how things should be done and also have the skill set to carry them out. They don’t seek a lot of recognition for their efforts.
- Pragmatist-Realist (P-R). The P-R is highly task oriented but approaches things in a less structured manner than the A-R. They tend to have considerable energy and drive and achieve things solely for the sake of achievement. They tend to make quick decisions with a minimal amount of data and as a result can quickly become overextended.
- Idealist-Pragmatist (I-P). The I-P combination is typical of someone who gains agreement on goals and then tolerates a great deal of latitude in method. They have a great concern for ‘people’ issues and more in tune with a person’s needs. As a leader, the I-P will appear to be over permissive and be allowing of too much latitude.
- Analyst-Pragmatist (A-P). The A-P likes facts and structure but also is willing to experiment. They know what they want and how to get there but want to have fun along the way. This can be quite damaging in relationships due to the fact that serious goals and directions will appear to be not taken seriously by the A-P.
- Analyst-Synthesist (A-S). The A-S respects structure and logic. The Analyst style seems to be more dominant in this combination most of the time. Whereas the Analyst respects structure and logic, the Synthesist understands and values the opposite. This can be the source of great internal conflict and a profound lack of understanding by people around them. They can, sometimes be very difficult to listen to but have a lot to contribute.
- Synthesist-Pragmatist (S-P). S-P’s show the greatest tolerance for change. They strive on ambiguity and uncertainty and have developed the coping mechanisms to deal with both. Their thinking style generates tremendous amount of creativity.
- Synthesist-Realist (S-R). The S-R is extremely rare due to the fact that the synthesist and realist are at the opposite ends of the thinking spectrum. The S-R is a person with great energy for unorthodox but firm achievement. They can see clearly what the proper course is and also see that the opposite way is just as acceptable.
- Three Way Thinkers. People that possess a strong preference for three of the five styles tend to be creative. This flows from the idea that they have more thinking styles available to them. They are versatile and can rely on the style that suits an individual situation.
- Flat Profile. The rarest of thinking style preferences is a person who shows no preference for any specific style. This is where the InQ test shows a relatively equal score for all five thinking styles. These people tend to be unpredictable, less intense and less recognizable than people with strong preference for other styles.
More info on individual styles here:
General categories listed are all in this .pdf