Until recently, managerial competence was widely accepted to include three elements: knowledge, skills and attitude. But recently, a fourth important element has been added to the list: meta-cognition. Meta-cognition is a higher-order skill that refers to an awareness and monitoring of one’s own cognitive state and that of others. Metacognitive skills include taking conscious control of learning, planning and selecting strategies, monitoring the progress of learning, and changing direction as necessary.In an environment riddled with complexity and uncertainty, rigorous problem-solving skills have become the foundation upon which long-term performance is built, and meta cognition plays a key role. While a focus on cognitive states has been common in the study of consumer decision-making and behaviour, these same psychological theories and methods are now being applied to the examination of managerial thinking and decision-making.In addition to the emerging demand for skills in meta-cognition, today’s environment demands two further managerial competencies: the promotion of ongoing learning at all levels of the organization in order to anticipate environmental changes and adapt accordingly; and an ability to foster stakeholder cohesion. In our view, an organization can be said to be operating at ‘optimal capacity’ when it boasts the three following characteristics:• A strong capacity for problem-solving, including the meta cognition element;• A strong capacity for learning and developing dynamic capabilities to adapt to the changing environment; and• A cohesive group of stakeholders.
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