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Thinking And Decision Making Paper

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Thinking and Decision Making Paper

Kim Abrahamson, Tom Kish

University of Phoenix - MGT 350

Karen V. Amabile

October 8, 2007

Thinking and Decision Making Paper

Introduction

Thinking styles and decision making, as we can see in today’s world there are many different types of people and as such there many different ways to think and come to decisions. However, thinking styles can traditionally be categorized into four groups: persuasive, creative, scientific and logical. It is by using these different methods of thinking that individuals are able to make decisions in both their personal and professional life. The way individuals approach various methods of thinking can be attributed to what they learned as children, experiences that they were either involved in or witnessed and also what they are taught in formal settings (i.e. classes, mentoring). Throughout this paper we will be examining similarities and differences between three of the four thinking styles: persuasive, creative and logical. It is by learning more about the different thinking styles that we become better equipped to analyze situations and make decisions.

Logical Thinking

Logical thinking is one of the most useful thinking styles available in the business world. Unlike optimistic and pessimist thinking styles, logical thinking does not attempt to put any positive or negative slant on the results, but rather to find the results or outcomes to a problem that are the most likely to occur. Whereas the other two thinking styles might focus on the best case or worst case scenarios, logical thinking should consider all of those as possible outcomes, and also to decide which is more likely to occur. Because of this, more informed decisions can be made with a lower likelihood of coming to an incorrect conclusion. In this sense, it is very similar to scientific thinking, in that all possible scenarios need to be analyzed.

A good example of a situation where logical thinking is the most likely to come to a clear conclusion is the problem of how much inventory to order. Part of my tasks at work involves setting the budget for hardware purchases for the following year. Creative thinking might be helpful in order to find ways to reduce a budget, but it not very helpful in setting the baseline for the budget. If optimistic thinking methods are applied, assumptions as to how many machines may break down and need to be replaced may be far too low, and if more machines break than expected, there will not be enough funding to replace them all. Conversely, if pessimistic thinking is used, the conclusion reached will be that far more budget is required than is truly likely. This increases the chance that the budget will be huge or not even approved. Logical thinking is the most likely method to reach a reasonable conclusion, as well as come up with a margin of error, and therefore, come up with a budget that is closest as to what will actually be required.

Persuasive Thinking

Effective persuasion can be a difficult process. In order to be effective at persuasion one needs to understand their audience, their issues, values and emotions. (Kirby & Goodpaster, 2007) If people know that you are knowledgeable and well informed about the topic they will listen. People believe people who have objectivity and are honest with them.

A person who persuades rationally uses logic to help convince people. Individuals who persuade rationally can be very successful. They use data to support and explain their position. People respect a person who is rational and logical and will listen to them.

Using logic is helpful in persuasion but is just part of the process. At the root of effective persuasion is the emotional appeal. A good persuader is aware of “our root elements: values, needs, biases, and beliefs.” (Kirby & Goodpaster, 2007) These root elements trigger our emotions. A good persuader is responsive to their audiences’ emotions. They show this by showing that they are committed to the position they are trying to convey. They also are keenly aware of the emotional state of their audience and adjust their tone and force of their argument as a result. (Harrison, 2007)

Recently there was a situation at work where my manager used persuasion to change how we thought about the work that we did. The company I work for has been going through many changes in how the business is managed. There have been many decisions made that many long-term employees see as not being the wisest course of action for our business. Consequently, there has been much discussion about these decisions, which in turn has caused many employees to become discouraged about our business. In a move to quell the discontent, my manager called a meeting to discuss the situation. He acknowledged that he disagreed with some of the decisions that our upper-management has made. He explained that these decisions were out of our hands and the decisions were final. He went on to say that these were things we could not change but there was much that we do have a direct influence on. He went on to say that we can put our effort into the things that we can change. We have control over how well our store sets look, how fresh our coffee is and how we service our customers. If we can perform our duties with pride and excellence, that it will show in our sales and how our customers think of us. By doing this we will know we did our part no matter what

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