Critical Thinking and Managerial Decision Making

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Seminar2.pptx

MGMT 20135: CRITICAL THINKING AND MANAGERIAL DECISION-MAKING

Week 2 - Lecture

Recap of concepts introduced last week

What is critical thinking?

What is a statement?

What is an argument?

What is argumentation?

Logic of argument

What are premises and conclusions?

How to recognise premises and conclusions?

Implicit premises and conclusions

Critical thinking defined by Kallet

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Outline of this week

Conceptual foundation--what is scientific knowledge: Kuhn versus Popper

Conceptual foundation--Understand formal logical structures

Logical reasoning—Deductive

The first step of critical thinking/managerial decision making—Clarity, and ten points for achieving it.

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Conceptual foundation--what is scientific knowledge: Kuhn versus Popper

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KUHN POPPER
Science enjoys long periods of stable growth but will experience scientific revolution or “paradigm shifts” Theory of formalised falsification. The objective is through deduction to eliminate theories that are false
Paradigms are an accepted way or theory for explaining phenomenon Scientific knowledge is therefore revolutionary. It grows because old theories are discarded
Paradigms guide research Move towards truth through an evolutionary process
Researchers working within the paradigm do not seek to discover new paradigms/ theories but focus on confirming the paradigm Based on empirical facts. Look at the evidence and test the evidence, progressing by testing increasingly difficult variations of the evidence
Paradigms suggest a pre-determined answer Critical of paradigms approaching dogma
But once there is a enough anomalies/ incongruent findings a new paradigm will be sought/embraced but this can take decades Argues that there should be no such thing as a dominant paradigm or theory, although they may guide thinking while searching for “truths”

Kuhn versus Popper

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrX6qGjuW54

Kuhn versus Popper

Who is right?

They are both right in their own way…..

Both are important to managers and management scholarship**

Key differences:

Kuhn accepts that science progress through the application of paradigms/theories and these do not impede progress

Popper argues that ruling dogma/dominant paradigms or theories impedes scientific progress and the search for truths

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**NB. When you study management you are studying a subject which is a social science!

More on theories

Pervasive, we all use theories every day

Not just something you learn at university

Theories are developed based on observing the real-life.

They require discretion

Example:

The theory that some people are motivated by intrinsic factors was observed

some people do work harder if paid more money, but some people did not work harder because they were paid more

Some people worked harder if they found their work interesting, something they could be proud of and/or found meaningful

Intrinsic versus extrinsic motivators

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Another example

How to cost effectively get to university on time each week?

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Fairly fast, cheap and keeps me fit.

Bus is usually fastest and cheap too.

Only losers don’t drive or waste time by not driving.

THEORY

Thinking deeper

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Bus is cheap but only fastest during peak times.

When I have weekend classes the bike is faster and cheapest.

Parking costs money but I can get to evening classes faster/safely.

Decide cheapest and fastest way to get to class on time

Take the bus when attending university during weekdays and peak periods

Ride bike on weekends to stay fit and save on gym fees

Drive the car when there are evening classes, since it is fastest and safest at night, can get back home to work on assignments faster, and can enjoy car ownership a little then

Integrated the theories

Conceptual foundation--Understand formal logical structures

Formal logic represents the structure of the argument, and is the building blocks of critical reasoning.

The distillation of arguments into “standardised forms for the purpose of building, comparing and analysing” them (Inch & Warnick, 2011, p. 38)

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Formal logic can be broken down into 3 broad structures for arguments

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Inch & Warnick, 2011

Formal logic

Categorical

Hypothetical

Disjunctive

1. Categorical

Your argument uses classification of things, e.g.,

Major premise: All dogs (A) are mammals (B).

Minor premise: All Labradors (C) are dogs (A).

Conclusion: Therefore, all Labradors (C) are mammals (B).

Also called syllogisms

Logic structure:

All A are B,

All C are A,

Therefore, all C are B.

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B

A

C

A syllogism is a kind of logical argument that applies deductive reasoning to arrive at a conclusion based on two or more propositions that are asserted or assumed to be true

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Caveat

Careful not to make mistakes when using the formula. E.g.,

All A are B, All C are B, therefore, All A are C (X).

E.g., all cats are animals, all dogs are animals, therefore, all cats are dogs.

 If formal logic is used correctly, it's impossible for the premises to be valid and the conclusion invalid.

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2. Hypothetical

 If A, then B.

 A, therefore, B.

 This type of structure implies a conditional meaning that an event will occur, if another event occurs.

E.g., If it rains, then the floor will be wet.

It rains, therefore, the floor is wet.

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Caveat

Careful not to change the events around:

 If A, then B.

 B, therefore, A (X)

If Chris oversleeps, then he will miss his bus.

Chris missed his bus, therefore, he overslept.

(Invalid, could be many other reasons why Chris missed his bus…)

If formal logic is used correctly, it's impossible for the premises to be valid and the conclusion invalid.

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3. Disjunctive

Either A or B.

Not A, therefore, B.

 It's either pass or fail.

 It's not pass.

 Therefore, it's fail.

Interestingly, changing the premises around still results in a logical argument for this structure.

Either A or B

not B. Therefore, A (still correct)

 

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Forms of reasoning

Deductive

Inductive

Abductive

Formal logic is the process of breaking down an argument into its parts and evaluating it in terms of the structure of the argument and the structure of the premises.

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Deductive reasoning

Deductive reasoning is a type of logic where general statements, or premises, are used to form a specific conclusion.

Red meat has iron in it and beef is red meat, so beef has iron in it.

Acute angles are less than 90 degrees and this angle is 40 degrees so this angle is acute.

Deductive logic is the kind of formal logic that we've been looking at (three structures of logic) so far. - Go back to the previous three slides for a review

 

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Deductive logic In deductive arguments, the truth of the argument is assured by the truth of the premises…

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Formal logic

Categorical

All A are B

All C are A

Therefore, All C are B

Hypothetical

If A, then B

A, therefore, B

Disjunctive

Either A or B,

Not A (B), hence, B (A)

Exercise

Get in groups of 3-5 people, come up with examples using deductive logic in your everyday life.

E.g., I like all apples.

Granny smith is an apple.

Therefore, I like Granny Smith.

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Inductive logic

However, some arguments don't follow these structures, i.e., the truth of the premises does not guarantee the truth of the conclusion:

Most CQUniversity students are from India.

Pattini is a CQUniversity student,

Therefore, Pattini is from India.

Valid? Not according to deductive logic, Pattini could be from Nepal, China, Korea…

However, the argument is still logical, this is where Inductive logic comes in. We will talk about inductive logic next week.

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Moving on to Kallet (2014)

The first step of critical thinking/managerial decision making—Clarity, and ten points for achieving it.

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Last week introduced the course

Kallet (2014)’s definition:

Purposeful method for enhancing your thoughts beyond your automatic, everyday way of thinking. It’s a process that uses a framework and tool set.

Objective of critical thinking is to make better decisions than if just used “gut feel.”

Benefits:

Clear understanding of the problems of situations

Faster and accurate conclusions and quality decisions

A richer variety of explanations and solutions

Opportunity recognition

Mistake avoidance

Thought-out strategies and early elimination of dead ends

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Section III: Conclusions

Section IV: Conclusions & Innovation

Section V: Decisions

Section II: Clarity

Critical thinking framework: The textbook

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Clarity

Conclusions

Decisions

Discovery information and ideas

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Clarity: Pattern and context recognition

Read the following text:

You mghit tnihk i’ts aaminzg that you can raed this with vrlialuty no diluftficuy even tuohg the ltetres are mxedid up.

It trnus out that all you need are the fsrit and lsat leetrts.

What is happening?

Clarity: Screening, noise as a concept

Read the following in 15 seconds….

How many f’s can you count?

FINISHED FILES ARE THE RE

SULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTI

FIC STUDY COMBINED WITH

THE EXPERIENCE OF THE YEARS

Why didn’t everyone count the same number?

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Clarity: What shape do you see?

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But not really there……

Clarity: Automatic versus critical thinking

Automatic thinking, good but…..

Discards, distorts and creates information, limiting

Critical thinking

Purposeful

Aware of the partiality of your thinking

Consider other perspectives

Avoid distortions and biases

Is a process

Conducted within a framework and a toolset

Organise your thoughts

Incorporate others’ thinking

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Automatic versus critical thinking

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Decisions

Conclusions

Clarity

Critical Thinking

Clarity

Conclusions

Decisions

Automatic Thinking

Weak foundations for decisions, less time getting clear, and more time needed for decisions

Strong foundations for decisions, more time getting clear, and less time needed for decisions

Ten Tools of Clarity

Emptying your bucket

Inspection

Why

Distinguish this from that

Get at the root cause

Determine if the issue is “I don’t know”

To get to because

So what

What is the need

Anticipatory thinking

What else?

The ingredient diagram

Vision

The thinking coach

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1. Emptying your bucket

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WHICH BETTER? WHY
Been there, done that? Every experience is unique
Conflicting priorities, strategies and projects Is there scope to include this, juggle things?
Lack of resources, time and budget How can we use resources, time and budget better?
Job of other departments I think about how the whole organisation can work together to achieve goals
Focus on the negative There is always a way

An open mind?

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Example:

What do you say at a meeting when someone says “we’ve done this before, and the outcome was terrible…”?

Example:

The boss wants to see you in their office later in the day to talk to you in private? Do negative thoughts arise, do you feel nervous?

2. Inspection and 3. Why

Eliminating ambiguity and problems with interpretation through inspection of the problem, etc.

Identify the true meaning

That everyone interpreting the same way

Ask why to get it right the first time, get a better understanding of what is required

Get to the root cause to solve the problem efficiently

Determine that you don’t know, need more information

Identification of the because helps you identify constraints

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Example: Ask 5 whys to get your organizational core purpose

We make X products

We deliver X services

E.g., market research company •

We provide the best market research data available. (Why?) So that our customers could understand their markets better than they could otherwise. (Why?) So that they could be successful. (why?)

• Purpose statement:

• To contribute to our customers’ success by helping them understand their markets.

• Product decision: • Will it sell? (X)

• Will it make a contribution to our customers’ success? (√)

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4. So what and 5. What is the need?

By asking so what you can identify why something is relevant or significant, and should be considered.

Includes actions and consequences.

Example:

Someone is away for 2 weeks….?

Getting everyone aligned behind the need is important to make sure the right problem, decision or goal is addressed and properly.

Example:

Why are you and the people in your team for the group assignment doing this course? What do you want to achieve?

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6. Anticipatory thinking and 7. What else?

By anticipating you think what else should I be doing?

More efficient and think about any unintended consequences.

Example:

Your grandmother or another elderly relative will be visiting you. What do you do in anticipation? ……..Scatter open textbooks around the house, buy her favourite tea and cakes to serve?

What else keeps the thinking going, stimulates new ideas/possibilities and prevent premature closure of issue, idea or solution.

Example:

What else could we include in our group assignment to increase our chances of getting a high mark.

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8. The Ingredient diagram

Diagram to transition between clarity and conclusions.

Example: Going for a long drive diagram.

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Traffic

----------

Tune-up

Number of people

----------

Luggage

----------

Trailer

Tyre pressure

----------

Wind direction

----------

Speed limits

Day of week

----------

Time of day

On roof and in trunk

Roadworks slowing traffic

Distance to gas station. How much to fill up the tank?

Km/tank of the car

Extra weight of the car

Average speed on highway

9. Vision

Vision can be first and/or last tool, and involves lofty goals.

Helps clarify purpose, timelines for goals and problems to solve, gatekeepers know what to accept/reject, get a sense of what constitutes a real need.

Example: CQU University.

Our Vision: To be Australia’s most engaged University by 2020.

“We will become one of Australia’s truly great universities through partnerships with students, industry, and the community.”

How can this statement help everyone at CQU involved in decision-making exactly?

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10. The thinking coach

The thinking coach objectively gets others to think.

Unbiased and helps others to think more deeply and effectively.

Explains the role as coach.

Makes as much time available as is necessary. So won’t take on the role if has no time.

Asks open-ended questions.

“Pretends” knows nothing of the subject.

Do not ask questions designed to sway thinking a particular way.

Always wait for an answer to the question.

Some examples?

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Clarity in Summary

“The single most important reason why projects, initiatives, problem solving, decisions, tactics, and strategies go awry is that the head-scratcher wasn’t clear in the first place.

Getting clear is the first step in the critical thinking process and will help you and others understand a goal or problem.”

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