Leadership is typically understood as a process of social influence. The effective exercise of influence, however, requires leaders to think. In the present effort, we examine the major approaches used to understand leader cognition noting that cognitive models are typically domain based. Subsequently, we examine leader cognition in one domain held to be critical to leader performance — cognition under conditions of crisis or change. Leaders typically formulate solutions to the problems broached by crises through generation of sensemaking systems. The generation of sensemaking systems is held to depend on case-based, or experiential, knowledge as well as multiple processes (e.g., scanning, case analysis, forecasting). The implications of these knowledge structures and processing operations for understanding leader performance are discussed.
The Leadership Quarterly – Elsevier
Published: Dec 1, 2007
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