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Abstract

This study examines the relationship between cognitive style (adaptors versus innovators) and the learning curve when implementing new information technology. Kirton’s proposition that adaptors and innovators find equally creative ways of solving problems based on cognitive preferences was tested using a longitudinal case study. Test subjects were paramedics from a large metropolitan area. Cognitive style of the paramedics was determined, along with their individual learning curve when transitioning from a paper medical record to an electronic medical record. Results indicate Kirton’s proposition of equal performance between adaptors and innovators was only supported during stable periods. There was no statistically significant difference between adaptors and innovators either before implementation of the new system or post-stabilization. However, following system implementation, adaptors and innovators differed significantly with regard to their initial change in task completion times, pattern of learning, and the number of days required to reach stabilization.

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