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Critical thinking and Decision-making
Critical thinking is in most times confused with creative thinking or even thinking outside the box, which are different things altogether. Clemen (1991) defines critical thinking as “…the identification and evaluation of sources, processes and evidence given to assist in making informed decisions” (p.23).
The sole reason of critical thinking is to make decisions that enable one to solve certain problems in a given circumstance. Fisher, Ury and Patton (1991) argue that critical thinking is a way of striving to achieve the highest possible level of reasoning and making judgments.
Whatever the understanding is, critical thinking helps one make a good analysis of information, and using reason effectively to make sound judgment in certain situations (p.7). With the rapidly growing competition in the corporate world, managers who fail in critical thinking subsequently make wrong decisions and fail to solve problems and conflicts, which cost the organizations a lot. This can be in terms of reputation as well as in terms of profits.
In order to be in the perfect position to make decisions, it is important to have a clear understanding of what decision-making is all about. Decision making can be defined as the process of clearly identifying hypotheses, rating the evidence that is provided as well as the possible outcome of actions or plans of action and keenly considering the relationship that may be in existence between the two(Glaser,1949, p.34).
This results to the making of sound judgments that will have the least amount of risks compared to any other possible options. Decision-making may be required in such incidences as solving problems existing between employees and the organization, individual employees and the management of the organization or personal differences between the employees.
Critical thinking and dispute resolution at the work place
The responsibilities related to human resource management in corporations that are success-oriented require vesting on people who portray excellent critical thinking abilities. This is because such offices are important in that they hold the keys to either the success or the failure of the corporations. Decisions made in these offices can have either the best or the most catastrophic impacts on the overall operations of the organizations.
For instance, in cases whereby there are problems between workers and the management, which may possibly result into a strike, it is important to reach a consensus, which favors both the management as well as the workers. This means forging a win-win situation for both the workers and the organization. Certain critical thinker’s characteristics should be evident in the personality seeking to broker the agreements. Rationality and open-mindedness are among the most important characteristics of a critical thinker.
According to Glaser, E. (1949), in solving problems, the mediator or the intervener should be able to employ reason rather than emotions while making decisions (p.33). For instance, in the case of workers threatening to go on strike through their union leaders, it is important that the manager involved be able to broker an agreement without any emotional influence to opt for decisions such as victimizing the workers.
Therefore, they should be able to clearly seek explanation on the actual grievances and enquire for sound explanations concerning the grievances. He/she will be in a position to reach at a decision that will seem to both favour the workers and the organization and save both parties from possible inconveniences.
Thinking critically requires that one be able to evaluate all available inferences into existing problems. This happens through taking a considerable number of viewpoints and seeking to understand the existing problem from every available perspective.
his involves the ability to be open to any alternatives that can be used to make the decision. For instance, in a case whereby the workers are planning to go on a strike following a failure by the management to increase their remunerations, addressing the possibility of the increase option is important rather than maintaining its impossibility.
Clemen, R. (1991). Making Hard Decisions: An Introduction to Decision Analysis. Boston, MA: PWSKent Press.
Fisher, R., Ury, W., & Patton, B. (1991). Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving. New York: Penguin.
Glaser, E. (1949). An Experiment in the Development of Critical Thinking. New York: Columbia University Press.