Sunday, March 20, 2011

Are you a right-brained or a left-brained thinker?

Do you think rationally or intuitively? Experts say this is a question of hemispheral dominance, that is, if you are a right-brained or left-brained thinker.

Partiality in either hemisphere produces a specialized way of thinking. The left brain, psychologists and neurologists say, analyzes and reduces information and events to bits and pieces. The right brain relates, connects and synthesizes information into wholes. The left brain thinks verbally, analytically and rationally. The right brain thinks tacitly, holistically and synthetically.

Of course, we use both our left brain and right brain to some degree. And either hemispheral direction is not the absolute way of correct thinking. However, management consultants say that the left- or right-brain distinction is an important issue in achieving development and creating wealth.

Even national macro-cultures are now characterized through this hemispheral dominance theory. Charles-Hampden Turner, a consultant who studied macrocultures, says that the approach of nations that experienced early industrialization, with hostility to strong government, has culminated in a generally left-brain, individualistic vision of capitalism. On the other hand, the right hemisphere synthetic approach combined with later industrialization and more tolerant attitude toward strong government has culminated in a cooperative vision of capitalism, he explains.

The United States’ macroculture, Hampden-Turner declares, is “overwhelmingly left brain.” It emphasizes analysis, separation and isolation of elements from each other. The British business culture is also partial towards the left brain. Japan, however, is biased toward the right brain. Its leadership veers toward a broad, diffuse and holistic style which permits wider avenues of participation and interpretation by subordinates.

The left- and right-brain distinction also characterizes job functions. Studies and surveys suggest that finance managers develop strong left-hemisphere biases. They look to profits as the company’s ultimate goal, have the propensity to work alone, oriented to countable objects, and are much more insistent on higher income and greater personal responsibility. In contrast, marketing people are more holistic-oriented and focus on cooperativism, teamwork and relationships and reject profitability as the sole criterion of business success.

So which hemisphere can contribute more to wealth creation?

Experts stress that the mental processes necessary to business or economic success vary from one circumstance to another. The challenge, however, lies in the integration of right and left brain configuration to generate productive combinations and coherent meanings that are necessary for progress and wealth creation.

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