The Relationship Between Critical Thinking & Decision Making There is a unique relationship between critical thinking and decision making. I would first like to introduce you to the definitions of the two terms that I have found through some sources from the internet. First, critical thinking is defined as the process of purposeful self-regulatory judgment. In one article I found they had a definition as generated per an expert consensus that stated "We understand critical thinking 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." (Fac ione, 1998, pg. 14) Now the definition of decision making is the cognitive process of reaching a decision. The material in this course defines the two terms as follows.
The first being critical thinking as a definition of "awareness of a set of interrelated critical questions, ability to ask and answer critical questions at appropriate times, and the desire to actively use the critical questions." (Browne, Keeley, McCall, Kaplan, 2001, pg. 3) The material also defines decision making as the process in which one must make a decision based on the information at hand. Now from these two terms I would say that I believe that critical thinking is the ability to come up with a solution to a long term problem. I think decision making is the process in which you must decide on a course of action for a current problem or issue that must be decided immediately. The relationship between these two terms is both terms both involve making a decision. Most businesses are faced with issues on a daily and long term basis and good management must use these two methods in order to keep the organization running effectively.
By using critical thinking your making a decision by analyzing a situation to come up with a solution and using the decision making process to finalize the solution. However, with decision making you are making a single decision based on an individual problem versus an overall problem. This leads me to believe that the benefits, of being a critical thinker helps an individual become a stronger manager. If an individual can look at all the aspects of a decision before making it they will have a better chance of making the correct decision to generate the solution to the problem. In my current job at Nuconsteel we are utilizing both of these processes everyday. We have currently gone through a re-organization which is still in progress.
Once a month a group of managers will get together and work on details on how we are going to fix organizational problems of increased sales and limited resources. We have generated more sales than expected and are experiencing more growth. At this stage the group of managers must use critical thinking because the decisions that we make will directly influence the outcome of the company's ability to operate in the market place. This takes the actions and critical thinking of many people to come up with solutions to this problem. On the other hand we have to make decisions daily on smaller issues that are either a yes or no answer. These decisions will fall under the decision making process because they are quick fast solution given to a straight forward problem that has to be addressed.
Most of these decisions are instruction based in order for the employees to continue on with their task to accomplish the work that they are given. Many issues arise in deciding whether we will estimate certain types of construction projects and provide engineering solutions for problems we have with current projects. I believe that I am a critical thinker and decision maker because many times I have to do both processes. Due to the nature of our business I must make many quick decisions on construction projects. On the other hand I have to come up with solutions in which will help us maximize the resources we have currently with manpower and production to accomplish the overall goal of the organization. The decisions must be well thought out before implementing since they can have a great impact on how productive the group I manage operates.
In order to be a successful manager one must be able to be both a critical thinker and decision maker.