Volume 25, Issue 2 (summer 2023)                   Advances in Cognitive Sciences 2023, 25(2): 133-143 | Back to browse issues page

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Mousavi S M, Khanifar H, Pourkarim J, Talkhabi M, Naderibeni N. Identifying the cognitive competencies of elementary school principals. Advances in Cognitive Sciences 2023; 25 (2) :133-143
URL: http://icssjournal.ir/article-1-1510-en.html
1- PhD Student in Educational Management, Faculty of Management and Accounting, Farabi College, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
2- Professor, Faculty of Management and Accounting, Farabi College, University of Tehran, QOM, Iran
3- Associate Professor, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
4- Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Management, Farhangian University, Tehran, Iran
5- Assistant Professor, Faculty of Management and Accounting, Farabi College, University of Tehran, Qom, Iran
Abstract:   (460 Views)


In recent years, schools have faced new and diverse challenges that emphasize the need for changes in management methods (1). Despite numerous attempts to enhance education management, issues persist in the selection process of managers. These problems require thorough analysis, and appropriate solutions must be identified and implemented. One of the essentialaxes of rethinking in the field of organizational leadership is paying attention to cognitive science. Cognitive competence refers to a set of general and independent cognitive activities such as the knowledge and skills of goal setting, planning, analysis, reflection, self-esteem, quality, and the ability of a person to understand and respond. It seems to raise individual and social needs (4). Paying attention to the cognitive skills of educational managers provides
  • a competitive advantage in the organization,
  • a better and deeper understanding of the functions of the brain,
  • a better understanding of human activities in the field of management and leadership,
  • and better facing challenges.
Environmental factors (14), include increasing flexibility, the ability to show appropriate reactions to changing environmental conditions, and adapting to the environment (6). Since knowing how the brain works gives new managerial opportunities for strategic development and understanding global and individual characteristics (18), educational leaders and managers must benefit from cognitive skills, and it can be promising—goodthings in the future of education and leadership and management.


Qualitative and theoretical methods were used in this research. The field of research included university professors specializing in cognitive education who were working in the academic year 2021-2022, and 25 people were interviewed in a targeted manner and based on the principle of saturation. A semi-structured interview was used to collect data. The interviewees in this research were selected purposefully and theoretically because we are purposefully looking for those people who have the most information about cognitive skills (19). Data collection will continue until the analysis process reaches complete theoretical saturation. Data saturation or theoretical saturation is an approach used in qualitative research to determine adequacy (20). Semi-structured and in-depth interview methods are used to cover the various dimensions of the investigated phenomenon. Acceptability, transferability, and reliability criteria were used to evaluate the validity of qualitative data. The selection was made with the maximum diversity of cognitive education professionals to ensure acceptance. In addition, the codes prepared from the interviews will be provided to the participants for confirmation. The steps of the research implementation, the environment, and the context of the implementation were fully explained to the readers to ensure transferability. In order to provide the reliability criterion, the process of conducting the study was provided to the experts. In qualitative research, reliability often refers to the stability of the responses of multiple coders to the data set (21). In this research, while guiding the flow of the interview, asking the same questions for different interviewees and guiding the organized recording, writing, and interpretation of data. Documenting and recording the interviews were also done to maintain reliability. In order to analyze the data of the qualitative section and the interviews, Glazeris interpretative analysis method and the process of open, central, and selective coding were carried out.


Based on the results of the data analysis, the cognitive competencies of elementary managers were identified in ten categories and 37 concepts. Cognitive action, mental representation, self-awareness and individual development, psychological capital, language and linguistic abilities, neurocognition of emotions, social cognition, neuro-centered leadership, awareness of neurocognitive sciences and principles, and perceptual and mental ability are formed into the competence categories. The first category includes four concepts: innovation and creativity, cognitive flexibility, planning and goal setting, and changeability and evolution. The second category includes three concepts: decision-making, problem-solving, active memory, and attention. The third category includes three concepts: physiological awareness, mindfulness, and self-development. The fourth category includes three concepts:  resilience, hope, and mental well-being. The fifth category of linguistic and linguistic abilities includes three concepts: verbal ability and effective listening, non-verbal ability (body language), and meaningful ability. The sixth category includes three concepts: understanding, controlling, managing and regulating emotions and feelings, and managing stress and motivation. The seventh category of social cognition includes four components: social perceptions, social capital, cultural perceptions, and economic perceptions. The eighth category of neuro-oriented leadership includes five components: coaching and cognitive knowledge management, cognitive supervision and guidance, team building and working groups, conflict leadership, and contingent leadership. The ninth category of knowledge of neuroscience and principles includes three components: knowledge of the primary symptoms of neuro-based diseases, knowledge in the field of brain and learning, and knowledge of brain-based principles and guidelines. The tenth category of cognitive and mental ability includes six components: logical ability and cognitive reasoning, critical thinking, technological thinking, analytical and explanatory ability, comprehensive and systemic thinking, and strategic and forward-looking thinking.
The cognitive competencies of primary managers consist of ten categories and 37 concepts. Each category is consistent with the results of research conducted in management. Some of them are mentioned below. In the explanation of the first behavioral category, it should be said that the research results show that managers value planning and targeting too much, while they should be creative and insightful in managing affairs. Furthermore, use innovation to bring about changes in the education system while leaving the safe zone. The eighth category is nerve-oriented leadership. According to this category, in the 21st century, people who have diverse skills are needed. Research findings indicate that conflict and behavioral disorders are significant barriers to accomplishing educational goals in schools. However, if addressed positively and constructively, they can potentially foster learning and personal development (31). The third category is self-awareness and personal development. Today, organizations focus more on the self-development of leaders. If the place of education in the organization is considered an opportunity for improvement from the individual’s point of view, it will have no result other than the effectiveness of the employees. 
Ethical Considerations
Compliance with ethical guidelines
The conditions of this research were such that no mental or physical damage existed to the study participants. Besides, the current research has followed the ethical principles that include obtaining informed consent and the principle of secrecy of the participants for the confidentiality of their information. Furthermore, in this research, the subjects were given sufficient information about how to conduct the research, and the participants were free to withdraw from the study.
Authors’ contributions
All authors were involved in topic selection, study design, concept definition, data collection, analysis, writing, and drafting of the article. The article’s final version was also studied and approved by all authors.
The authors received no financial support for the present research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. This research was extracted from the PhD dissertation of the first author in the Faculty of Management and Accounting, Farabi College of Tehran University, Iran. 
In the end, the authors are grateful to all participants in the research and all those who have facilitated the research’s implementation.
Conflict of interest
The author declared no conflict of interest.
Full-Text [PDF 916 kb]   (124 Downloads)    
Type of Study: Research |
Received: 2022/12/31 | Accepted: 2023/07/4 | Published: 2023/09/20

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