Thinking Styles of Australian, Chinese and Italian University Students

By Francesco Sofo, Michelle Berzins and Cinzia Colapinto.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This study discusses the thinking style of university students in three different countries and answers the key research question posed by the study’s design: is there a difference amongst the thinking styles of university students from Australia, China and Italy? Using the Thinking Style Inventory (TSI) designed by Sofo (2002) as the data collection tool, 450 students enrolled in universities in the three countries were assessed on their thinking style. The results reveal that the Chinese students had statistically significant lower scores than both the Australian and Italian samples on the Inquiring subscale of the TSI, yet significantly higher scores on the Independent subscale. Overall, Chinese students were found to have a significantly different thinking style profile compared to Italian and Australian students since there was no significant difference found between the Italian and Australian students. The findings of this study indicate a number of interesting points of convergence and similarly, two points of divergence in thinking style among the three samples of students. The opportunity exists for the study to be extended to include a comparative analysis of a wider selection of students (such as those from differing disciplines) or to explore the similarities and differences between post-graduates or those students in the second or third year of their university studies.

Keywords: Thinking Style, Comparative Analysis, Survey Questionnaire, University Students

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp.221-232. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 652.907KB).

Prof. Francesco Sofo

Faculty of Education, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Associate Professor of Human Resource Development, and currently convener of postgraduate programs in Professional Development Education and Human Resource Development. Career goal is to be the best he can in assisting in the learning and development of individuals, teams and organisations. Fellow of both the Australian Institute of Management and the Australian Human Resource Institute.

Dr. Michelle Berzins

Faculty of Education, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Sessional lecturer in the Faculty of Education (University of Canberra). Recipient of two Chancellor’s Commendations and an Australian Postgraduate Award for research into cartel conduct. Research interests include white collar crime, critical thinking and the transfer of learning.

Dr. Cinzia Colapinto

University of Milan, Italy

Dr. Cinzia Colapinto received the Laurea in Political Sciences in 2002 and the Ph.D. in Business History and Finance in 2005 from the University of Milan. Journalist since 2004, she is teaching assistant and research fellow at the Department of Economics, Business and Statistics of the University of Milan (Italy) and at the China Media Observatory of the University of Lugano (Switzerland). She has been Visiting Researcher at the Communications and Media Policy Institute, University of Canberra (Australia), at the School of Commerce and Administration Laurentian University (Canada) and at the Institute for creative industries and innovation (CCI) of the Queensland University of Technology (Australia). Her research interests include: media management/economics, focusing on media strategy (particularly on digital television and the approaches to the Chinese market by western media companies); venture capital and innovation, highlighting the role of entrepreneurial universities; university and corporate spin-off in an international and comparative analysis; thinking styles in the decision-making processes.


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