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Strategies in Decision Making - Critical Thinking and Decision Making

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Critical Thinking and Decision Making MGT 350: Strategies in Decision Making Critical Thinking and Decision Making Human beings have been preoccupied with thought and the concept of thought for centuries as is evidenced by the many philosophical and religious writings we find dating from ancient times. After all, we as human beings hold ourselves to be the masters of intelligence in the natural world since no other specie seems to exhibit the capability of thought and intelligence as demonstrated by human beings, the very term "homo sapiens" infers the ability to think. Critical thinking is asking the right questions about the information we are presented with on any given situation. Or as Brown and Keeley put it, it is "asking critical questions." (Pg. 2) To put it more specifically, asking critical questions "provide(s) a structure for critical thinking that supports a continual, ongoing search for better opinions, decisions, or judgments." (Brown and Keeley, 2000, Critical Thinking, Asking the Right Questions, Pg. 2). This is, in the view of the writer, the best and most accurate way to define critical thinking. There would be no need for critical thinking, or asking pertinent questions, except we are in search of "better opinions, decisions, or judgments" about what we think. ...read more.


In the context of the present class, problem solving and decision making are synonymous terms. But it is the view of the writer that decision making does not necessarily have to involve a manager solving problems in the context of a business environment; deciding what to have for breakfast or what suit to wear are simple decisions that we make each day. Decision making and problem solving are in deed closely related, but both processes amalgamate more and more only when we are given more information about a particular matter that increases its importance. Deciding what to eat for breakfast or what to wear each day may not fit the definition of a problem although it may have some importance. Bu if we are going on a job interview that particular day, our appearance may be more important today than other days, so we may decide to wear our best suit of clothes today because we want to look our best for the interview. Someone observing us who may not know that we are going on an interview that day may wander why we are spending more time and effort deciding what to wear. Just the same, we might not think much about what we have for breakfast each morning, but if we suffer from diabetes, then deciding what to eat suddenly becomes a delicate matter. ...read more.


The sponge approach, and (2) the panning-for-gold approach. McCall and Kaplan in the book Whatever It Takes, cite Ibid describing "a turbulent stream rather than... an assembly-line operation... a twisted, unshapely halting flow." (Pg. xvii, Preface) Both analogies involve the idea of either water, or a running stream. To establish a correlation between the two using a simile, we could say that: the turbulent stream and murky waters of the decision-making process may seem at first very difficult to overcome. But if we use critical thinking, and absorb the stream of information, screening out the debris by panning carefully for the meaningful information as we ask the right questions, we may be able to find that desired but elusive nugget of gold hidden in the chaotic mess of the torrid organization, a good decision. In other words, critical thinking is a necessary part in decision making. It allows us to identify the problem, evaluate the information, choose an alternative, and decide. Working in the finance office of a medium size business, this writer finds the decision-making and problem-solving processes not only present, but utilized by some to a high level of skillfulness. 1 Quote from T.Connolly, "Uncertainty, Action, and Competence: Some Alternatives to Omniscience in complex problem-solving," in Uncertainty: Social and Behavioral Dimensions, ed.S. Fiddle (New York: Preger, 1980) 1 Critical Thinking and Decision ...read more.

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