Cognitive Diversity

In this white paper David Loseby focuses on cognitive diversity and the role it can play in solving problems and creating competitive advantage in procurement and supply chain management.

David highlights a wide range of academic definitions and suggests that cognitive diversity can be defined as ‘The ability to clearly and distinctively differentiate and conceptualise the context, situations, people and circumstances, and thereby effectively re-frame them to accommodate a wide range on thinking styles to reflect knowledge, skills, expertise, values and beliefs to fully exploit the potential breadth and depth of problem solving and/or value creation.’

Within the white paper David also considers how cognitive diversity can impact teams and outlines his conceptual model for procurement which recognises future skills, balanced with knowledge/skills, creativity with rationality and experience with novel perspectives.

The paper also takes the reader through the importance of cognitive diversity when interfacing with people from outside your organisation. Clearly, for procurement functions, Supplier Relationship Management is a crucial element of a team’s success. If procurement teams can recognise, adapt and understand the different perspectives objectively it will positively impact upon organisational success and act as a foundational pillar of trust.

David highlights that considering cognitive diversity within existing teams is vital and explores the concept of cognitive diversity and psychological safety, offering thoughts on the importance of generating trust, consistency and flexibility, amongst others.

Finally, David discusses how recognising cognitive diversity within an organisation can require a ‘cultural re-set’. and that possible conflict and challenge will need to be carefully managed. He also addresses the notion of ‘affinity bias’ and the positive impact that recognising cognitive diversity can have upon recruitment.

Cognitive Diversity
Download our white paper which reviews Cognitive Diversity

Version: 1.0
Published: June 1, 2021


David Loseby

This white paper has been written by David Loseby and peer reviewed by Robin Young. 

David Loseby is currently the Managing Director of Barkers Commercial Services and previously the Group CPO for Rolls Royce plc. He is also a doctoral researcher in Behavioural Science at the University of East Anglia, Editor for the International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management (IJOPDLM). Further he is one of the founders of the Procurement Doctor, advisor to various conferences and thought leadership organisations in P&SM.

Robin Young is currently an NED, advisor, and Board Chair to several organisations specialising in Operations, IT, Digital and Cyber Security. Previously Executive Director in FTSE 250 organisations such as Mitchells & Butler & Citi.

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Find out more about our MD, David Loseby

David Loseby

David joined Barkers in May 2021 from his previous role as Global CPO at Rolls Royce. David brings with him over 30 years’ experience at senior executive level and academic specialisms in behavioural science.


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