Is Capability only about Intelligence?

If one looks back into psychological academic literature, one would see that research on cognition and capability has developed in parallel to one another over the years, with both being identified as influencers of individual and organisational performance.

As a result, several theorists have assumed that cognition / intelligence may be linked to an individual’s capability to handle complexity

At BIOSS, we carried out a research study on 100 candidates who had completed the Career Path Appreciation (CPA), which is a unique assessment of an individual’s ability to make decisions in the face of uncertainty, as well as the Wechsler Adult intelligence Scale (WAIS III) assessment, which is probably the flagship assessment of general intelligence found in the market. The aim of this study was to identify if there is a relationship or correlation between the capability to handle complexity and intelligence / cognition, and what this relationship entailed.

The findings of this research were very interesting and supported the theoretical foundation of what capability is meant to measure, as originally defined by Elliot Jaques. That is, capability appears to be more of a measure of social, conceptual and common sense reasoning, and the ability to hold several concepts in one’s mind and manipulate them than a measure of nonverbal perceptual reasoning, processing speed, or visual motor perceptual reasoning.

The implications of this study are quite significant. For example, these findings suggest that even if based on the same underlying framework (SST), cognitive tools do not assess the same construct of “capability” that is assessed in the CPA. Further there is a clear distinction between “clever” people who learn quickly, and process things fast and those who can deal with uncertainty and complexity the way it was defined by Elliot Jacques.

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