NEW YORK -- Army brigadier generals are smarter, more patriotic and better educated than a comparable group of chief executive officers, presidents and vice presidents in private business, according to a new study. The military men's thinking patterns, however, appear to be somewhat less flexible.
The generals showed "a clear and consistent tendency . . . to stand out when competitiveness and forcefulness are required," Dr. David Campbell, a psychologist with the Center for Creative Leadership, told the American Psychological Association's annual meeting here. When cooperation was needed in a group, the generals scored about the same as their business counterparts, Campbell said.
When it came to measuring flexibility, however, the generals scored below their business counterparts and at about the same level as a group of 1,000 mid-level managers who attended the center.
The findings are based on nine years of work at a Greensboro, N.C., leadership center, where business executives and high-ranking military officers undergo evaluation and receive training in leadership and management, many at the request of the Army or their company.
When Campbell compared the profiles of 163 brigadier generals who participated in the week-long program to those of 100 CEOs, presidents and vice presidents of American companies who also attended, he found that the generals were better educated -- 88 percent had master's degrees, compared with only 19 percent of the business executives -- and scored higher on IQ tests than their business counterparts.
"I didn't expect them to be that bright or that well-educated," Campbell said.
The generals were also slightly older -- average age of 47 compared with 42 for the business executives -- and included more minorities than the executive group.
In addition, the generals scored higher on tests that measure integrity, personal values, achievement and belief in a democratic government. "This was where the generals' sense of duty to their country showed through," Campbell said.
As for interest in medical service, drama, writing and the arts, the generals scored below average and even indicated some aversion to these activities, Campbell said.