Strategic Intelligence and Leadership

The main purpose of this project is to explore the relationship between strategic intelligence based on the following two arguments. The first argument is that there are tow levels of intelligence: strategic intelligence at the higher level and operational intelligence at the lower level. Strategic intelligence is a meta-level ability and it enables people to be mission-driven and think broadly, deeply, and dynamically. Operational intelligence is a primary-level ability and it enables people to deal with routine tasks and function well in daily life. The second argument is that strategic intelligence is the major underlying force of leadership and it distinguishes people who can lead and who need to be led. 

A two-level paradigm of Intelligence: Operational Intelliegence and Strategic Intelligence

Intelligence tests were originally created with the practical goal of identifying students in need of alternative education (Binet & Simon, 1916). Because intelligence tests were originally devised to predict school grades, the items were intentionally designed to measure a general ability to profit from explicit instruction, concentrate on a task, and engage in intellectual material.Indeed, research shows that such a general ability does seem to exist. Over a century ago, Spearman (1904) discovered that when a wide range of cognitive tests 1 William Hazlitt (1846), “Essay IV. Whether Genius Is Conscious of Its Powers?” in Table Talk: Opinions on Books, Men, and Things, Second Series, Part I (pp. 37–49). New York, NY: Wiley & Putnam. that have explicit instructions and require effortful concentration is administered to a diverse group of people, all of the tests tend to be positively correlated with one another, a finding often referred to as a “positive manifold.” Spearman labeled the factor on which all individual tests loaded g, for general intelligence. Over the past 100 years, the existence of g as a statistical phenomenon is one of the most replicable findings in all of psychology (Carroll, 1993; Chabris, 2007; Jensen, 1998). Nonetheless, there is still work to be done to determine what explains the positive manifold (see Maas et al., 2006), the cognitive mechanisms that support g (see Chapter 20, Working Memory and Intelligence, this volume; Kaufman, DeYoung, Gray, Brown, & Mackintosh, 2009; Sternberg & Pretz, 2005), and whether there are other forms of cognition that display meaningful individual differences and predict intelligent behavior above and beyond g and the cognitive mechanisms that support g. 

Research evidence has suggested that mechanisms relating to the cognitive unconscious – “mental structures, processes, and states that can influence experience, thought, and actions outside phenomenal awareness and voluntary control” (Dorfman, Shames, & Kihlstrom, 1996, p. 259) also make an important contribution to intelligent behavior. Although intelligence testers have done a remarkable job developing tests that measure individual differences in explicit, controlled cognitive processes, the investigation of individual differences in implicit, nonconscious processes has not received nearly as much attention (Kaufman, 2009a, b).

Furthermore, researchers have created clever experiments to probe the nature of the cognitive unconscious by looking at implicit memory, implicit perception, and other forms of implicit cognition and thought3 (for reviews, see Kihlstrom, 1987, and Litman & Reber, 2005), but they have focused primarily on group-level data, ignoring individual differences (see Cronbach, 1957). Additionally, some researchers have downplayed the existence of continuous individual differences in the cognitive unconscious that are meaningfully related to important life outcomes (Reber, 1993; Stanovich, 2009).

The idea that the unconscious can be smart is also illustrated by the title of a recent popular summary of the fast-andfrugal heuristics literature: Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious (Gigerenzer, 2007).5 Today there is a strong consensus among contemporary researchers in cognitive science, philosophy, cognitive psychology, social psychology, reasoning, and morality that humans possess two quite distinct modes of thought – one controlled and the other more automatic (Epstein, 2003; Evans & Frankish, 2009; Stanovich & West, 2002). Indeed, dual-process theories of cognition are becoming increasingly necessary for explaining a wide variety of cognitive, personality, social developmental, and cross-cultural phenomena (Evans & Frankish, 2009). 

Klaczynski and Cottrell (2004) have argued that “metacognitive intercession” often occurs, whereby responses derived from intuition are available in working memory, where reflection is possible. However, according to Klaczynski, most people do not take advantage of the opportunity to reflect on the contents of working memory, taking the contents from the experiential system as selfevidently valid.

In contrast, type 2 processes are typically characterized by deliberately controlled, effortful, and intentional cognition. Individual differences in this system have been linked in the past to psychometric intelligence (see Stanovich, 2009).

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