Cross, Rice & Parker - Receipt Of Information Benefits

The Structure of Concern Project compares many theoretical models from many disciplines to the Adizes PAEI model, arguing that they must all be reflecting the same underlying phenomenon. One concern structure model is described below.

In a study of informal organizational information networks, Cross et al. (2001[1]) investigated workplace social networks to see how they interacted with five known benefits of information-seeking behavior. Four of these benefits fall directly into structure of concern quadrants. The fifth benefit of information seeking is a second-order benefit which would be applicable to all four concern styles, but in different ways for each style.

The four concern-structured benefits are given below in PAEI order:

P – Solutions: One can gain solutions to problems, “know-what” and “know-how”, specific information that enables action.

A – Validation of Plans or Solutions: Reassurance that things are being done properly, that they are accurate or appropriate and ‘officially’ presentable as solutions to others.

E – Problem Reformulation: Soliciting a different perspective on a problem in order to have another way of thinking about it, highlighting different problems, dimensions or possible consequences of plans.

I – Legitimization from Contact with a Respected Person: Associating one’s ideas with important others makes them more credible. One gains the ability to tell others that the respected person was consulted and expressed support, which lends authority to the ideas.

The fifth benefit Cross et al. discuss is meta-knowledge or “know-where”: increased knowledge about local people, databases and other resources useful for answering, clarifying or validating questions. This is something that would accrue under any PAEI strategy, but in a manner consistent for that style. P-style benefits would be meta-knowledge about who to turn to for quick and useful results, A-style benefits would including knowing who has knowledge and position to speak authoritatively about valid or invalid solutions, etc.

Needless to say, these styles of information benefits are not exclusive to their respective PAEI personality styles. All personalities would enjoy all the benefits of information seeking. However, different people are likely to want, seek, offer, value or depend on certain benefits more than others. Over time one would expect to see those preferences line up with other personality-derived characteristics.

1. Cross, R., Rice, R. E., & Parker, A. (2001). “Information Seeking in Social Context: Structural Influences and Receipt of Information Benefits.” IEEE Transactions On Systems, Man, And Cybernetics Part C: Applications And Reviews, 31(4), 438-448.
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