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Limitations of the Study


            There are two noteworthy limitations of this study: generalizability and longitudinal effects. The generalizabilty of these research findings are limited because they were generated in an exploratory qualitative inquiry. The research design was not intended to produce results that account for or predict the behavior of a wide classification of people as most experimental, hypothesis-testing studies are. This liability was clear at the outset. However, because the inquiry generated a relatively clear and specific Grounded Theory that can be applied to practical experiences, it should be relatively easy to design a series of focused hypothesis-testing studies to experimentally verify and expand the theory generated here. These studies would be much more likely to produce findings generalizable to larger classifications of people.

            Second, time and budget limitations made it impractical to assess how narrative-based processing might have influenced participants’ long-term thinking over multiple months or years. Some relevant literature suggests that many of the insights that come from experiential interventions such as this one may not show up until long after the intervention ends (Greenberg, Rice, & Elliot, 1993). Thus, it is possible that participants may have experienced more meaningful effects of the narrative-based processing realizations six months after the procedure ended, than on the day the data was actually collected. Collecting such data was beyond the scope of the current study. Future studies might consider narrative-based experiential learning interventions which are followed up with longitudinal check-ups for months or longer to explore if and how long-term after-effects actually occur.







This project was an exploratory qualitative inquiry into how the established principles and practices of Experiential Training and Development could be integrated with some of the applicable theories, practices and models of intuitive thinking. The purpose of the inquiry was to develop a coherent theory, grounded in empirical data, of exactly how intuitive thinking manifested itself in an innovative experiential learning procedure. To accomplish this, this procedure combined conventional experiential problem-solving initiatives with a unique narrative-based processing system whose use is unprecedented in the available literature on experiential learning.

The findings indicate a clear distinction between two psychological states I have called Fixed and Fluid Intuition. Fixed Intuition operates much like an automatic chain reaction. When triggered and not consciously disrupted, Fixed Intuition seems to rapidly play out from start point to end goal, one or more routines learned from years of experience. Fixed Intuition was generally quick, oriented on future goals, and convergently oriented. In contrast, Fluid Intuition was generally slow, oriented towards present experience, and divergently oriented. Fluid Intuition was associated with a deep sense of connection to other participants in the experience, a tendency to expand awareness, and a conscious suspension of judgement. Several implications present themselves.

Perhaps what I have so far called Fluid Intuition might be more accurately described as a hybrid state in which cognition and intuition interact effectively together. The notion of such a state of “optimal” psychological performance is well documented in literature reviewed in Chapter Two (Greenberg, Rice & Elliot, 1993). The findings of this inquiry, especially the distinction between Fluid and Fixed Intuition, seem to be conceptually similar to the theoretical and empirical work of at least three other scholars. Specifically, the construct of Fluid Intuition appears to share substantial similarities with:


·        Donald Schön’s conception of the “Reflective Practitioner” (Schön, 1983, 1987),


·         Ellen Langer’s phenomena of “Mindfulness” (Langer, 1997, 1989),


·        Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s description of the “Flow” state (1991).


The findings of this inquiry also suggest more practical and direct implications for practitioners in the field of Experiential Training and Development. The apparent success of the narrative-based processing procedure employed in this inquiry could imply a need to consider the effects of splitting the principle and practices of Experiential Training and Development into two fields: Experiential Training and Experiential Development. Experiential Training programs could continue to use the conventional teaching-based processing methods described in Chapter One. Experiential Development programs in contrast might find narrative-based processing procedures useful as a technique for “surfacing, testing and improving our internal pictures of how the world works” (Senge, 1990, p.174). Finally, providers of Experiential Learning programs might consider how effectively their programs already facilitate clients into the Fluid and Fixed Intuitive states, and how much more effective they could be if both providers and perhaps even clients became more consciously mindful or reflective about the psychological realities scholars now know about these two states.






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