Differences in thinking styles across professionals with different academic backgrounds when developing a product

Leandro Miletto Tonetto, Priscila G. Brust-Renck, Stanley Ruecker, Flavio S. Fogliatto, Diego Augusto de Jesus Pacheco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In some projects, professionals face problems in designing a product that force them to deal with uncertainties in a creative way; in others, they follow structured guidelines and rely on preexisting knowledge. In this paper, we map thinking styles (conditional, creative, exploring, independent, inquiring) used by professionals with different academic backgrounds (architects, engineers, and designers), and relate these styles to rationality, intuition, and thinking disposition. Understanding the strengths of each type of professional training is crucial to planning and managing teams that suit designs’ needs. Several professionals (n = 141) participated in a survey comprised of the Concept Design–Thinking Style Inventory, the Rational Experiential Inventory, and the Actively Open-Minded Thinking Scale. Results showed that all professionals have had their highest strength of thoughts associated with exploring new or alternative options and displayed significantly higher scores toward rationally-oriented decisions and cognitive flexibility with regards to thinking disposition. The implications of the prevalence of the different modes of thoughts for the development of new products are discussed in light of assumptions about (ir)rational human behaviour and professional stereotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-16
Number of pages14
JournalArchitectural Engineering and Design Management
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2021


  • Thinking styles
  • conceptual design
  • decision-making style
  • product design
  • thinking disposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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