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CRITICAL THINKING AND DECISION MAKING
Critical Thinking and Decision-Making Paper
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Critical thinking and decision-making are related in more ways than people think. This paper will define critical thinking and decision-making according to the book Whatever It Takes. It will also present a personal definition of critical thinking and decision-making from the author of this paper. The relationship between the two will be explained as well as the benefits of being a critical thinker. The author of this paper will also show how critical thinking is present in his organization and how he implements critical thinking techniques on a daily basis.
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Critical Thinking and Decision Making Paper
The relationship between critical thinking and decision-making is much closer than what most people think. Once you look at the meanings of critical thinking and decision-making individually then you can see the relationship between them.
What is critical thinking? Encarta Pocket Dictionary defines critical thinking as a type of critical analysis. Encarta Pocket Dictionary defines a decision as firmness in choosing something. The authors of Whatever It Takes suggest that decision-making material and literature tend to emphasize the product of decision-making but does not emphasize the actual process of decision-making. Critical thinking is the mechanical process by which problems are perceived, alternative solutions weighed, and rational decisions are made and decision-making is streams of choices (McCall, Kaplan, xv).
Personally, I feel critical thinking means to analyze the particular situation you are involved in and apply facts or life experiences into your decision-making. The fact that I involve life experiences in my decision making process moves away from critical thinking because some life experiences involve emotions or that gut feeling. Critical thinking is examining assumptions – not simply accepting arguments and conclusions at face value. Critical thinking is looking for hidden values, evaluating evidence and assessing multiple conclusions. I feel decision-making is an action. It is the destination of logical and analytical problem solving which is based in fact. Once the destination is reached, action in taken according to the resolution reached. Decision-making is the product of critical thinking.
I believe that critical thinking and decision-making are inter-twined because you can’t have one without the other. When you are trying to decide on something, you begin a
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critical thinking process. During this process, one evaluates information on a given problem. The process of reaching logical conclusions, solving problems, analyzing factual information, and taking appropriate actions based on the conclusions are called decision-making. While critical thinking and decision-making are interrelated and rely on one another, they are also independent. Critical thinking does not guarantee that a decision will be made and decisions can be made without processing information logically.
There are benefits to being a critical thinker. It allows you to process problems or information in a systematical and logical fashion. It also allows you to come to the best decision available given the current information. When used properly it can save valuable time in reaching decisions because it eliminates useless information from being considered. This helps to organize thoughts and information to be presented in an organized fashion by the critical thinker.
My occupation as a computer technician affords me the opportunity to think critically each day. Critical thinking allows me make decisions based on fact rooted in logic. I can reach solutions for computer related problems by asking the users logical questions. Using the critical thinking process, allows the user’s answers to lead to the next question I ask them. This process helps me do my job in a quick and orderly fashion. Critical thinking also allows the company as a whole to collaborate and solve issues as a group. Everyone gets to add their input to the discussions and the critical thinking process allows everyone to weigh the input and decide on the best approach for given situations. Critical thinking is very prevalent in my organization, if it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be able to be in the computer repair business.
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Kaplan, Robert E. and Morgan W. McCall, Jr. Whatever It Takes. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall, Inc, 1990.
Microsoft Reader, Encarta Pocket Dictionary: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, Copyright notice.