Profiting from Multiple Intelligences in the Workplace

By: Joyce Martin


Size: 244mm x 169mm

Pages : 256

ISBN : 9781904424659

Format: Paperback

Published: August 2004

Economic competitiveness depends on having the smartest workforce possible. Organisations who want to survive and grow need to be open to new ways of uncovering and developing their employee's abilities.

Profiting from Multiple Intelligences in the Workplace turns Howard Gardner's revolutionary theory of multiple intelligences into user-friendly tools for understanding and assessing success in everyone from CEOs to cleaners. It provides a complete system for:

  • The examination of staff needs

  • Matching applicants and job specifications

  • Successful interviewing and induction

  • Effective supervision

  • Focused training and development

The results not only allow the identification of individual abilities but also uncover the mosaic of abilities needed for multi-skilling, multi-tasking and efficient teamwork.

No other book provides a method of translating the theory of multiple intelligences into workplace practice. Unlike other books which centre on only one intelligence (for example emotional intelligence), the inventories presented here work towards a balance between traditional skills, general competencies and social skills.

Picture for author Joyce Martin

Joyce Martin

Joyce Martin PhD is a lecturer in social psychology at the Australian Catholic University, Sydney. She has been involved in adult education and training for over 20 years and has produced a wide range of research papers, books for working with diversity and career advice materials for Zonta International, Sydney. Joyce has worked as a consultant with the NSW police on the use of action learning.


  1. The book has been very useful and I have passed it on to several colleagues. Visual intelligence has a very clear layout that is attractive in its focus with very practical but challenging assessment exercises. I particularly liked the approach being both practical and academic which can be used both in group situations and for individual reflection.
  2. This book starts with a very informative introduction to the concept of multiple intelligences. The work by Howard Gardner has been widely quoted and used by a number of other writers and researchers, notably in the UK by Charles Handy in his book The Hungry Spirit. Others, like Daniel Goleman have made a whole industry around exploiting the idea of one of the multiples, Emotional Intelligence. So an accessible introduction and reminder that there is more to this thinking that the headlines is very welcome indeed.

    Thinking outside of our normal understanding of intelligence as measured by our school and examination system is an essential pre-requisite to harnessing the potential of diversity and valuing the contribution and potential of everyone. It is therefore in the application of the theory of multiple intelligences to the workplace where this book really adds value. The organisational system will be all the better when it is structured around the contributions that individuals can make which add value, rather than force-fitting individuals into a job description that limits their potential contribution.

    Martin provides a number of analysis tools and inventories to measure the different intelligences and apply the ideas to the workplace. The sheer number of inventories make the second part of the book more of a resource than a read, and could detract from its potential value to someone other than an HR Manager. There seemed to be a great deal of duplication between the inventories when applied to different situations, where some basic principles and examples would have sufficed, allowing the reader to draw up their own tools to meet their specific application.

    Overall the book does challenge the traditional HR policies that are prevalent in most organisations. The wider understanding and use of multiple intelligence theory, which this book provides in a practical form, is necessary for us to deal with the changing nature of employment in the 21st Century and make work meaningful and fulfilling for all.
  3. Joyce Martin's book, Profiting from Multiple Intelligences in the Workplace, provides an update on the changing world of HR with respect to finding the right person for the job. It is aimed more at the HR manager who is involved in hiring new staff, although it also provides a number of questionnaire forms for gaining a better understanding of Howard Gardner's model of multiple intelligences.

    The job market does not remain static; you cannot rely on last year's thinking about CVs or recruitment. Labour market conditions are constantly changing, and the skills and abilities being sought get redefined, based on a variety of new models as each previous model is found wanting. What we do know is what doesn't work. For Joyce Martin, that would be IQ as a predictor of job success. There is no way a single number (such as an IQ score) could do that.

    Which brings us to the major issue here: how is it possible to predict how someone will perform in a job? Early models, such as Rodgers's Seven Point Plan (1952), tended to focus on superficial aspects ” the visible or easily identified top layer of “personality.' Many psychologists have sought to find more reliable and stable aspects of “personality'. Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligence model has been widely trialed in educational systems over the last decade, and has “brought about significant changes in how educators define learners and their abilities” (p. 218). Joyce Martin's book is the first to apply this model to the adult workforce, and is a useful step along the way of meeting the needs of HR departments.
  4. Until now, the theory of multiple intelligences has been applied primarily in schools. Joyce Martin presents an original synthesis of the ways in which the theory applies to a range of roles and situations at the workplace. Her book is comprehensive, thoughtful, and useful.

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