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Adaption-Innovation: In the Context of Diversity and Change Paperback – September 27, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0415298513 ISBN-10: 0415298512

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (September 27, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415298512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415298513
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 7.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #344,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


The need for scientists and engineers to understand how humans solve problems and the diverse ways in which they do so has never been greater. This rich and challenging book offers critical insights into the problem solving process and its key variables with a rigor that technically trained minds will find both appealing and impressive. It serves as a key reference in several of our graduate-level courses, including a 3-course module focused on problem solving, invention, and technical leadership. If you are looking for ways to understand and facilitate technological change to solve the increasingly complex problems of society, this book should be at the top of your reading list. – Dr. Kathryn W. Jablokow, FASME, Penn State University, Mechanical Engineering

Developing our organization is critical to continued business vitality, and effective change management is the underlying focus in our daily work. KAI theory, explained richly and in depth by Dr. Kirton in Adaption-Innovation, provides clear insight into two distinct approaches to problem solving via the Adaptive (A) and Innovative (I) cognitive styles. Successfully managing and applying this diversity of style reaps great rewards and expedites positive organizational change and sustainability. – Charles Allen, Senior Vice President, Honda R&D Americas

In these times of globalization and rapid change Kirton’s Adaption-Innovation (KAI) theory provides a framework that clearly explains the need for the changing roles of leadership including those in education, business and government. Along with acting as catalysis to changes in leadership paradigm, KAI provides methods of managing team problem solving diversity that result in more successful solutions for the problems plaguing the world today. – Dr. William H. Riffee, Dean of Pharmacy, Dr. Cheri Winton Brodeur, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida

The notion that as a problem solver, I am an agent of change and a leader resonates with students enrolled in our leadership education courses. It is upon this principle of A-I theory that students become engaged in learning about problem solving so they may become better leaders. Dr. Kirton’s connection between problem solving and leadership is unmistakable as the problems our future leaders face will become more complex and require diverse problem-solving styles. If you are a leadership educator, you need to consider incorporating this book into your leadership programming. – Rick Rudd, Ph.D., Department Head, and Curtis Friedel, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Agricultural and Extension Education, Virginia Tech.

This broad-ranging book represents the fruits of a career’s research and consultancy experience. If it does not persuade you that psychology has got a lot to offer organisations in a period of unprecedented change, then nothing will. – Peter Herriot, formerly Birkbeck College, London University (retired)

Any HR professional managing change in their organisation will find this book invaluable. It is both hugely well researched and highly practical. … I strongly recommend this book to all professionals leading businesses. … It will make a difference. - Helen Sweeney, Group HR Director, NG Bailey

As a researcher I have been associated with adaption-innovation theory and its application to Information Systems, for the last twenty years. During this time, I have conducted a number of studies which made use of the Adaption-Innovation (A-I) theory to measure cognitive style. These have consistently shown that users are significantly more satisfied with computer systems developed by analysts of similar cognitive style. This exemplifies but one of many uses which can be made of Adaption-Innovation Theory in a practical occupational situation. In achieving this end, Adaption-Innovation is an indispensable guide to the modern manager, applied psychologist, business consultant, IS consultant and occupational researcher. - Mike Mullany (Ph.D.) NorthTec, New Zealand

This book provides the crucial foundation upon which 'creativity' can now be recognised as valuable and fundamental. Rigorous research and real world application provides the certainty for all managers that A-I theory has an important role to play in the tough real world of business from the shop-floor to the boardroom. If business managers could take nothing more away from this book than the notion of 'Problem A and Problem B',  (how the team collaborates on diverse tasks; how the team's members manage their own diversity) then I believe this book will be truly transformational - Tim Morley, Creativity Lab, Royal Mail

An in-depth and well written book that covers the central concept of A-I theory and gives a clear pathway into the complex issues of problem solving, decision making and diversity. A-I theory and its inventory have a proven record of success and are priceless when developing teams, managers and professionals in the current times of change and creative challenges. This book (and the 2006 reprint changes) expands A-I theory into the field of diversity. It offers invaluable advice and practical cases for the practitioner next to painstakingly documented scientific detail and the psychological foundation of the theory. Recommended reading for all who work with teams in the vast field of diversity and problem solving. - Helga Hohn PhD, Tias Business School, Tilburg University, The Netherlands

This book has theoretical beauty and immense practical value. Kirton’s critical thinking separation of cognitive style, level, process and technique and his dialectical synthesis of the enabling and restricting functions of cognitive structures have immediate practical use in every domain where problem solving is involved. Reading this book I experienced an insight – I wondered on how readily Kirton has touched on issues in problem solving I had struggled to find solutions to before. - Dr Slavi Stoyanov, Educational Technology Expertise Centre, Open University of the Netherlands

Using the A-I framework for problem solving provides leaders with an effective alternative strategy when dealing with complex business issues involving human resources development such as managing diversity and change. Additionally the form and style presented in this book provides graduate business learners insight into what scholarly work should look like. - John Walker, Ph.D., Strategic Leadership MS Program, Roberts Wesleyan College

[A-I Theory] provides powerful insights into individual and organisational behaviour including styles of thinking and aspects of creativity, problem solving, decision making, conflict resolution, and the effective management of organisational change. The KAI Inventory is also one of the most psychometrically robust instruments available. Had I been familiar with the theory during my previous career as an R & D manager in the electronics industry, my problems would have been halved. - Professor Steven J. Armstrong, Hull University Business School

My students have benefited from the exposure to this thought provoking theory and many have experienced 'ah- ha moments' as they personally synthesized a different meaning for change and diversity via the filter of Kirton’s amazing work. This book puts it all together in one convenient location. - Stephen Harris, Ed.D. Chief, Program Evaluation, Air University

Thought-inspiring! Like taking a journey into Dr Kirton’s mind. This comprehensive masterpiece captures the vast applicability of A-I Theory. Each time I study a page or section my understanding grows - I discover new connections with problem solvers and their leadership and I find myself generating higher-level questions that probe deeper into the Theory. This is a must-read (and re-read) resource for all problem-solvers. - Scott Miller, Lt Col, USAF (retired)

A-I theory has proved to be the most useful model currently available to the 'real' world problem solvers in profit, not for profit, and community organizations. This book, and the associated psychometrically superior KAI instrument, should be required in any organization or group that is really serious about using diversity to attain superior performance while creating an environment of mutual respect. - Dr. Peter K. Hammerschmidt, Professor of Economics and Senior Trainer and Research Associate of the Leadership Development Institute, Eckerd College, Saint Petersburg, Florida

The theory, in its application, is a clear, very practical and visible way to analyse group dynamics and team communications. To maximise performance, teams need to exploit their own diversity rather that let that diversity impede team performance. To do this, team members must be both self aware and appreciate the problem solving process, including styles, of others. With this appreciation comes improved communications, better idea generation and improved performance. - Niall Connolly, Engineering Manager, Hewlett Packard

A-I theory, which is scientifically derived and validated, has proven to be very useful and practical in the management of new product development processes in industry [in my time] both as a senior academic and a former senior manager in Du Pont. The knowledge of an individual’s creativity style enables the formation of powerful teams that are able to communicate and accomplish a great deal. Understanding where in the process people will be most productive, by matching their style with the work to be done, creates an effective and efficient organization that enables the growth of businesses. - Robin A. Karol, Ph.D., NPDP CEO Product Development & Management Association, Adjunct Full Pro...

About the Author

Dr. M. J. Kirton is the director and founder of the Occupational Research Centre, with many years' experience in academia and management. He originated the Adaption-Innovation Theory and its measure KAI. He was awarded a DSc by the Council for national Academic Awards in 1991 for his work on Adaption-Innovation.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Skorskimus on April 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for class and after the first inspection I was very pleased. The book is literally PACKED with information. Kirton does a great job of talking not only about the adaptation and innovation theory, but also of many other theories. If you are looking for a book to help you understand how to manage your (or others) creativity this is a great book. I'm specifically coming at it from the science end, so if you are expecting a book that talks about creative marketing, this really isn't the book for you.

With all of that positive information there is one terrible downside... THE FORMATTING IS TERRIBLE!! And by terrible I really mean out of this world bad. The text is fairly small and there is very little white space. This book is a good reference for me now, but reading it straight through is a chore. Imagine taking a 500 page word document, make it single space, remove indents, and then drop it to size 10 times. That is this book.

Long story short, I'm not terribly mad to have it as a $20 reference book after taking the class, but I'm not sure this is the book I would get if I was just being introduced to A-I theory.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wish I had purchased the printed version of this book. Sure, I read the review about the awful formatting but did not fully appreciate how much the non-existent formatting would influence my experience. The format of this book has made me dread going back to read it, forced me to re-read text, and is impeding my understanding. There are no visual cues for changes of topics, sections, or thoughts.

It's a shame.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Colin J. Horton on October 24, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was purchased as a text for a course on creativity and problem solving. Kirton's main premise is that we are ALL creative, just in different ways. Worth reading even if you don't have to take a course on problem solving.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Scott G. Isaksen on July 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent scholarly resource for those with a keen interest in Kriton's Adaption-Innovation thoery and measure. The main criticism is that the book takes way too many liberties with the work of other scholars - and it seems that the main reason for many of the distortions is to try to make Kirton's theory even more acceptable. It is a useful theory without needing to go to those lenghts.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Britt on October 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
There is great insight in this book on how people solve problems. Dr. Kirton has many years of research and lots of case studies (real life examples) of why all his information holds true. While the text can be a bit challenging, for non-fiction this is a good read. After years of required reading for my psych degree, this proved to be much more readable than most.
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