My first career was in engineering (environmental), so I was particularly interested in a recent study published in The Career Development Quarterly that described thinking style differences of artists and engineers. Now, while you might immediately react with a "Duh! Of course artists and engineers are different!," look a little more closely at these differences and notice how one could have difficulties if they ended up in the wrong field.
First, artists and engineers have high visual-spatial abilities in common, so it could be easy to translate that skill into a more lucrative field (e.g. a variety of engineering jobs...not to mention that the U.S.A. needs more scientists and engineers). But this is where the commonality stops.
Engineers, as the study confirmed, think linearly and hierarchically and prefer a highly prioritized thinking style. Engineers also do extraordinarily well in carrying out the plans of others. (task-driven, follow the rules...in order).
Artists, on the other hand, did better without rules and input from others. They also displayed more emotionality, introspection, and had higher aesthetic interests.
What are the potential dangers if one thinking style ended up in a different thinking-style field? If an engineer style were in an art field, they could be branded as "in of the box" (uncreative) and could flounder if not given a strict set of rules to follow. The artist style in an engineering field could be perceived as difficult to work with and too emotional. Over time, the employee's confidence and self worth could decline if the labels are introjected (accepted and reinforced through negative self-talk). Ideally, organizations could grow to embrace both styles and value the differences of each—which could lead to improved products and output, but generally one style dominates organizational culture and flow.
EEGs of Democrats & Republicans
Interestingly, artists and engineers weren't the only group to be found with differences. A study published in Nature Neuroscience revealed neural activity differences in Republicans and Democrats. Electroencephalographs (EEGs) were performed while study participants engaged in a Go/No-Go decision task in an effort to measure their "conflict monitoring." EEGs revealed that liberals had a higher tolerance for ambiguity (able to shift gears/adapt to quick changes) while conservatives displayed more structure and consistency (persistence).