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Thinking research

Organisational scholars now have a set of tools for implicit measurement, an area ready for impactful ‘next generation’ research, says Dr Jochen Menges

A new study in organisational research methods encourages further exploration of spontaneous and often ‘implicit’ measures that influence workplace behaviour.

‘Getting Explicit about the Implicit’ is co-authored by Dr Jochen Menges, University Lecturer in Human Resources & Organisations at Cambridge Judge Business School, who says the paper refers to two different ways of thinking.

The first is ‘explicit’, which involves contemplating, thinking about choices with time spent on considering options and leading to making careful decisions. This takes effort and is slow and probably does not characterise how people think about their work most of the time.

“The second type of thinking is the ‘implicit’ one, which is quick, automatic and efficient to let us make instant conclusions; [it] allows us to have our intuitions ready to guide us.

“This implicit knowledge builds up in our brain through associations and preferences that we make while we are working and as we grow up. It builds over a long time period but it is very efficient and helps us make decisions quickly when necessary. This type of implicit thinking has not been the focus of researchers so far, and I think it should be.”

Dr Menges, in an interview for the School’s website, said the paper offers an ‘implicit measurement toolkit’ for organisational scholars which they have not previously had, and identifies avenues for impactful ‘next generation’ research.