Middle Eastern intuition? A comparison of the cognitive styles of Arab and English management undergraduates

Ghada El-Kot, College of Management & Technology, Arab Academy, for Science & Technology, Alexandria, Egypt

Eugene Sadler-Smith, University of Plymouth Business School, UK


There is mixed evidence for the notion of cross-national differences in rational/intuitive behaviour. Some authors argue that eastern cultures are characterised by intuition whilst their western counterparts are more rational and analytic; others argue that this pattern is in fact reversed. Using a sample of over two hundred participants this study examines the differences between two groups of students studying at management schools in Egypt and the UK. The measure of style used was the Cognitive Style Index (Allinson and Hayes, 1996). The validity of the CSI as a measure of intuition-analysis in Arabic culture is explored as is the relationship between nationality and style. The implications for cross-national working in both educational and occupational contexts are discussed.

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