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Critical Thinking and Forces of Influence Affecting Decision Framing

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Critical Thinking and Forces of Influence Affecting Decision Framing

               Organizational leaders in today's global marketplace must continually make decisions, solve problems, and chart effective courses of action to ensure that their companies survive and flourish. The ability to think critically is essential for today's leaders, yet leaders are often unable to do so. This paper examines how developmental learning and adaptive flexibility relates to the level of critical thinking among organizational leaders. Critical thinking is reasonable, reflective thinking that is focused on what to think or do. It requires an ability to recognize problems, gather pertinent information, interpret data, appraise evidence, and to evaluate lines of thinking, points of view, and personal insights that might contribute to the framing of logical, effective, reality-based action. Critical thinking cuts to the heart of effective managerial work. A leader with critical thinking abilities will make better decisions and effect action of enlarged scope and heightened quality. Critical thinking is considered to be to be purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that judgment is based. Critical thinking is essential as a tool of inquiry. The ideal critical thinker is habitually inquisitive, well-informed, trustful of reason, open-minded, flexible, fair-minded in evaluation, honest in facing personal biases, prudent in making judgments, willing to reconsider, clear about issues, orderly in complex matters, diligent in seeking relevant information, reasonable in the selection of criteria, focused in inquiry, and persistent in seeking results which are as precise as the subject and the circumstances of inquiry permit.

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Although critical thinking means many things to many people, it may be helpful to think
of it as having the following major components.

  • Identifying and challenging assumptions, that is, trying to identify the assumptions that underlie the ideas, beliefs, values, and actions that we take for granted. Once the assumptions are identified, examine their accuracy and validity. In this procedure we will figure out how critical thinking helps in shaping up our habitual perceptions, understandings, and interpretations of the world.  These interpretations influence the behaviors and critical thinkers become aware of how all thoughts and actions are influenced by the specific context in which they take place. 
  • Becoming aware of the context in which you act, the culture and time in which you live. When you become aware of how context shapes what you consider normal and natural ways of thinking and living, you will realize that in other contexts entirely different norms of organizing the workplace, behaving politically, interpreting the media are considered ordinary. 
  • Imagining and exploring alternatives, that is, new ways of thinking and acting. Critical thinking requires the ability to imagine and explore alternatives to existing ways of thinking and acting. Considering alternative contexts and the assumptions, which underlie them.

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                     Develop a vision of what it might be like to live in the best of all societies and imagine how such a vision might be made practical .

            Some qualities that a manager can have while being a critical thinker, that is a person who is aware of all the factors explained above.

  •  Uses evidence skillfully and impartially
  • Organizes thoughts and articulates them concisely and coherently
  • Distinguishers between logically valid and invalid inferences
  • Suspends judgment in the absence of sufficient evidence to support a decision
  • Understands the difference between reasoning and rationalizing
  • Attempts to anticipate the probable consequences of alternative actions
  • Understands the idea of degrees of belief
  • Sees similarities and analogies that are not superficially apparent
  • Can learn independently and has an abiding interest in doing so
  • Applies problem-solving techniques in domains other than those in which learned
  • Can structure informally represented problems in such a way that formal techniques, such as mathematics, can be used to solve them
  • Can strip a verbal argument of irrelevancies and phrase it in its essential terms
  • Habitually questions one's own views and attempts to understand both the assumptions that are critical to those views and the implications of the views
  • Is sensitive to the difference between the validity of a belief and the intensity with which it is held
  • Is aware of the fact that one's understanding is always limited, often much more so than would be apparent to one with a naive attitude.
  • Recognizes the fallibility of one's own opinions, the probability of bias in those opinions, and the danger of weighing evidence according to personal preferences.


Internet Sources:

Retrieved from the World Wide Web on Dec. 03, 2001

  • www.calpress.com/pdf_files/what&why
  • www.tavinstitute.org/abstract
  • www.nadn.navy.mil/Users/polisci/purkitt/decisionfactors.ppt
  • special.northernlight.com/ecommerce/b2becommerce
  • www.sbu.ac.uk/cibs/acrobats/12tode98

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