The first graduate course I was enrolled in was "Adult Education", at age 40. In the text book, the last chapter was devoted to "Critical Thinking". I thought that quite odd then and still to this day. Not only would it make more sense as the "First" chapter, it would be a logical separate course for both undergraduate as well as graduate programs, even high school. What better way to insure success in intellectual or scientific pursuits, than critical thinking skills?
Critical thinking and decision making is the process to find the truth. An important aspect of thinking is the process that relies on the ability to coordinate and structure our ideas so that they make sense. Training our mind to use the critical thinking process gives people a better understanding of the information. This paper will discuss the three different thinking styles. It will also compare and contrast logical style, persuasive style, and creative style. Critical thinking will be applied to the decision making process by using work environment examples.
The logical style of thinking is a complex process in which reasoning is used to come to a conclusion. This style involves a sequence of steps or thoughts
used to solve a problem. According to Kirby and Goodpaster (2007), along with creative thought, inductive and deductive logic comprise the bedrock and substance of all our thinking. Using the two major elements of logical thinking, deductive and inductive reasoning, solutions can be tested with tried and true methods. This style is very distinct and follows a more structured and analytical path using proven methods in order to reach the conclusions.
When comparing logical thinking to the creative and persuasive styles of thinking, all three require detailed processes to reach conclusions. With the creative style, the conclusions are inspired by the ideas that can be gathered using metaphors, brainstorming and starbursting. While the persuasive style of thinking can incorporate biases, emotion, motivation and even manipulation, it usually requires some sort of credibility to be successful.
Logical thinking affects the critical thinking process because it uses Deductive thinking which “is the kind of reasoning that begins with two or more premises and derives a conclusion that must follow from those premises, a conclusion” (Kirby and Goodpaster, 2007) and inductive reasoning which “usually begins with a set of evidence or observations” (Kirby and Goodpaster, 2007). All three thinking styles are required in the critical thinking process in order reach a valid and sound conclusion.
In real estate, all three of these styles of thinking must be incorporated. For example, when taking on a new listing, a detailed step-by-step process must be followed. This series of paperwork is very straight forward and completed in sequential order. If this order is not followed correctly, company rules, association bylaws and even board ethics could be violated.
During the marketing phase, creativity is a must in today’s world. The listing agent must ask many questions of the seller in order to present the property to the right audience and in the right manner.
When the time comes to show homes to a perspective buyer, the art of persuasion comes to play. The agent must make sure that the properties being shown appeal to the buyer’s needs, wants, values and sometimes even egos.
The persuasive thinking style involves getting your audience to believe, go along, or act in accordance with what you want. With this style of thinking, if a person is an effective persuader you can basically get anyone to agree with just about anything. Persuasion and manipulation have a thin line between the two of them. Persuasion is the act of getting someone or a group of people to agree with your views, and beliefs basing your information on facts and truths. For example; getting people to drink more water because it’s healthier for their kidneys than sodas or fruit drinks is the act of persuasion. On the other hand attempting to have people drink more water because soda and fruit juices cause cancer is an act of manipulation, especially if the presenter is receiving some type of benefit for this fictional information.
Using critical thinking in the decision making process in the workplace is significant. For example, if a bakery is considering getting a new oven for efficiency then all thinking styles can come into play. First, the creative style can be used to brainstorm the different types of oven, performance, efficiency and effectiveness. Second, the logical process comes into play narrowing the field of ovens down to a few which can be decided on. Third, the persuasion process can then be used to narrow the selection of ovens to either the most efficient, quickest, or least expensive.
No individual has a lock on creativity, and that allows individuals to think about unlocking the creativity each possesses (Kirby, Goodpaster, 2007). When one creates a new idea, that individual is taking an old idea and mixing it, moving it, or building it into a new idea (Kirby, Goodpaster, 2007). Therefore, creative thinking can be used by anyone, to a certain extent. Personal barriers such as an individuals brain and the language it contains, limit the amount of creativity one may possess. On the other hand, traits such as humor, laughter, courage, and calm help individuals be more creative by breaking out of structured thoughts and making new combinations by reorganizing these thoughts (Kirby, Goodpaster, 2007).
In the workplace, brainstorming and starbursting during the critical thinking process allows for many creative ideas to be generated. Brainstorming should have no boundaries, so the mind can move from one thought to the next, allowing for the creation of ideas. These creative ideas can be evaluated, picked apart, and restructured at a later time to help meet the needs of the organization. Starbursting is an important tactic to use because the central topic of any problem is already established, allowing for questions and ideas to be created around that topic.
Creative thinking encourages an individual to think outside the box to generate innovative ideas. At Centocor, associates are encouraged to participate on teams that are put in place to improve processes. Creative thinking plays an extensive role in critical thinking because the team must think differently from the normal process that has been used for the past 10 years. At Centocor there are staff members working with a team that is restructuring the training process of new employees. The current process has been in place since 1997, but the process lacks the structure needed to train an individual properly.
A brainstorming session was used to generate over 600 aspects of training that needed to be considered for the improvement to be effective. These topics were evaluated and analyzed for relevance and used as a guide for the formation of important steps in the training process. Because the team already knew the main point was training, questions were generated to help identify where the most improvement was needed. This project is still ongoing, and because of the tactics of brainstorming and starbursting, the project has an ample amount of ideas to continue to move it forward.
In conclusion, each thinking style has its advantages and disadvantages. Logical thinking, persuasive thinking and creative thinking styles have been compared and contrasted. Learning how to use each thinking style correctly will help you to apply the accurate style in different circumstances. Learning each style and applying it correctly will help you to achieve the best results. When these multiple thinking styles are properly combined, solutions to problems are more easily accepted and resolved. “Thinking styles is ideal for use in situations at work where strong relationships are critical for success.” (Flinstone, 2001)