Critical thinking involves weighing alternatives

Critical thinking plays a significant role in the decision-making process, along with inquiry and reasoning Smith, , p.

Examining the overall credibility of the text

Making a sound decision involves conducting an inquiry to find out what the pertinent facts are, reasoning to evaluate how each alternative stands in relation to others, and critical thinking to examine and weigh the facts and alternatives and arrive at a decision. When I make future decisions for myself and my organization, I will use critical thinking to evaluate what I know about the issue before making my decision and then to reflect on what the potential impacts might be. I will think through what will happen if I decide a certain way to be sure that I will be able and willing to live with the consequences of my decision.

The quality of a decision can best be evaluated by its results. If I make a decision about the business and that decision results in my meeting the goal of the action without violating any of my ethical principles or compromising the firm's integrity or viability, I will consider the decision well made.

Moreover, if the decision is only positive and effective for a limited time but will cause problems down the road, it is again a bad decision. Smith, G. Journal of Management Education, 27; Write down these ideas, even if they seem somewhat zany or offbeat on first impression.

Sometimes really silly ideas can contain the germ of a superb solution. Too often, people move too quickly into making a choice without really considering all of the options. Spending more time searching for alternatives and weighing their consequences can really pay off.

Once a number of ideas have been generated, you need to assess each of them to see how effective they might be in addressing the problem.


Consider the following factors:. Some individuals and groups avoid making decisions. Not making a decision is in itself a decision. By postponing a decision, you may eliminate a number of options and alternatives.

Critical Thinking

You lose control over the situation. In some cases, a problem can escalate if it is not dealt with promptly.

  • Identify the problem;
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  • Step 2: Gather relevant information.

For example, if you do not handle customer complaints promptly, the customer is likely to become even more annoyed. You will have to work much harder to get a satisfactory solution. Once you have made a decision, it must be implemented. With major decisions, this may involve detailed planning to ensure that all parts of the operation are informed of their part in the change. The kitchen may need a redesign and new equipment.

Employees may need additional training. You may have to plan for a short-term closure while the necessary changes are being made.

You will have to inform your customers of the closure. Whenever you have implemented a decision, you need to evaluate the results. The outcomes may give valuable advice about the decision-making process, the appropriateness of the choice, and the implementation process itself.

Your creative side is most useful in identifying new or unusual alternatives. Too often, you can get stuck in a pattern of thinking that has been successful in the past.

Overview of Critical Thinking Skills

You think of ways that you have handled similar problems in the past. Sometimes this is successful, but when you are faced with a new problem or when your solutions have failed, you may find it difficult to generate new ideas. Skip to content Increase Font Size. Organization and Self-Management. Previous: Conflict Resolution. Next: Introduction.

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