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Scenario One Reflection Paper 9-Step Problem-Solving Model

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Scenario One Reflection Paper

Pat Anthony, Regina Campbell, Makisha Keith and Marcela Rivera

Learning Team B

University of Phoenix

Foundations of Problem-Based Learning


Dr. James Booker III, PhD.

May 15, 2006


While problem-solving is an almost universal aspect of life, very few individuals follow a structured approach to solving problems. The 9-Step Problem-Solving Model used in the USAuto and AutoMex scenario can be described as a sequential, step-by-step procedure. While this makes for easy description, there is, in fact, no simple plan that represents the universal problem-solving process. Any process one may apply in the workplace or in ones personal life must be flexible enough to accommodate different work styles, unexpected discoveries and disappointments, and inevitable fluctuations in effort and creativity (Couger, 1995).

The objective of this paper is to convey the thoughts and opinions expressed by Learning Team B on the 9-Step Problem-Solving Model to what we have learned in the exploration of the 9-Step Problem-Solving Model, why the model was effective in the case of the USAuto and AutoMex scenario, what challenges were identified and ways to overcome those challenges as we use the model in the future, how we would apply the model when solving problems in our workplace, and what factors we would need to consider when applying the model to those problems (Course Syllabus, p. 19).

Problem-solving is a fundamental skill needed by today's managers. With recent research and exploration of problem-solving techniques, changing professional standards, new workplace demands, and recent changes in the economy, this has encouraged managers to use a higher order thinking skill, and in particular, problem-solving skills (Kirkley, 2003).

Exploration of the 9-Step Problem-Solving Model

When the team discussed what we had learned so far in our exploration of the 9-Step Problem-Solving Model we determined that any successful problem-solving process begins with recognition of a problem and ends with implementation of a proposed solution. All the work that is between these two steps is the problem-solving process (Learning Team B, 2006).

Effective use of the 9-Step Problem-Solving Model will enable future and present leaders to define the right problem, decide upon a wise solution, and avoid many of the de-railers of leadership. The 9-Step Problem-Solving Model is a set of steps which allow the user to perceive and resolve a gap between a present situation and a desired goal blocked by known or unknown obstacles. In general, the situation is one not previously encountered, or where at least a specific solution from past experiences is not known (Problem-Solving Based Scenarios, n.d.).

The 9-Step Problem-Solving Model is not like most models of problem-solving and decision-making; the 9-Step Problem-Solving Model incorporates additional components to traditional approaches of solving problems. Most models of problem-solving include from 4 to 6 steps (Couger, 1995), whereas the 9-step model incorporates 9 distinct steps; where appreciative inquiry, defines success in terms of the desired future end-states, and involves engaging people throughout the process are components normally not addressed in other models (Problem-Solving Based Scenarios, n.d.).

Use of the problem-solving model enabled the USAuto and AutoMex executives to understand the challenges of meeting their goals and objectives, the model ensured that continuous collection and evaluation of facts lead to alternatives and opportunities.

Further exploration of the 9-Step Problem-Solving Model revealed the effectiveness when used for the USAuto and AutoMex scenario. It allowed both companies to frame the right problem, identify challenges and opportunities, analyze the risks, offer alternative solutions and conclude the best solution that would benefit both companies and realize a win-win relationship.

Effectiveness of the 9-Step Problem-Solving Model

The decision-making process is complicated by the number of alternatives available to attain a certain objective (Shell & Seltzer, 1971). Use of the 9-Step Problem-Solving Model is an effective method because it does not tell the decision-maker which decision to choose. It improves the decision-makers' problem-solving capabilities (Shell & Seltzer, 1971). Problems are analyzed and the most efficient solution and alternatives become clear.

This tool offered some very effective approaches when evaluating the negotiation between USAuto and AutoMex. This tool's investigative approach was needed from the on-set of negotiations because it identifies the best solution with consideration of all the facts and conjecture for the existing problem.

The 9-Step Problem-Solving Model illustrates the pros and cons of negotiation, defined the challenges on both sides and opportunities. Had USAuto defined the challenges of the cross-border negotiation this would have been advantageous. Buy-in and weigh-in from both parties would have led to a collaborative effort, instead of opposing side focused on their position. Perspective thinking achieves these positive effects by leading us to appreciate other's interests without forfeiting our own claims and concerns (Galinsky, Maddux, & Ku, 2006) several alternatives and evaluation of those alternative as well as addressing the right problem.

End-state goals are identified which express what both parties want to achieve (Sample Problem Solution Worksheet, n.d.), for USAuto it would be protecting their patent, a partnership and entry to the Mexican marketplace. For AutoMex it was the opportunity to educate and use their labor force on American engineering. Additionally, the 9-Step Problem-Solving Model identifies the key stakeholders and the values of those stakeholders. Had the decision-makers used this model there would have been more understanding, appreciation of each side and a successful negotiation.

As with any effective tool to solve problems, challenges will present themselves in the design and makeup of the tool, the 9-Step Problem-Solving Model is no exception.

Challenges of the 9-Step Problem-Solving Model

It is very easy to look at a situation and instantly see it as a challenge. This is what often occurs in



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