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The purpose of this paper is to find a decision-making model by using various resources. I will focus on identifying the steps in the decision-making model, how the model applied to a recent workplace decision and examines how critical thinking affected the decision.
Thinking is the central process of how we transfer our thoughts. Our thought process is transferred either on paper or spoken verbally, these methods assist with transferring one's thoughts clearly. Writing helps to sharpen our thinking and enrich the mind with an understanding that was not there before (Kirby & Goodpaster, 1999). Writing one's thoughts does not give an exact picture of one's thoughts, but writing will produce a foundation to build upon. As quoted in the "Critical Thinking" reading material:
Writing then, can mirror the mind; focus it into a state of clarity, and present new awarenesses. Beyond these gifts, writing offers another rich gift that is a paradox: when we pour water out of a glass we are emptying the glass, but when we pour thoughts out of our mind onto paper we are filling our mind (Kirby & Goodpastor, 1999).
Critical thinking consists of evaluating the situation, filtering through choices, assessing the results and deciding whether one's conclusions make sense. A critical thinker also has to tolerate some uncertainties and be patient to accept that all the answers do not come at once.
Everyday, people have to make judgments, classify ideas, and follow logic, and engage in reasoningto solve problems. Being able to think critically will improve one's reasoning and problem-solving skills. The nature of logic has a great deal to do with one's reasoning of thinking--how an individual view or draws an assumption or decision.
After researching several decision-making models, the model that closely relates to the course of action recently used in the workplace is the Seven Step Decision-Making Model.
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1. Identifying the decisions to be made
2. Knowing yourself
3. Identifying options
4. Gathering information and data
5. Evaluating options
6. Selecting an option
7. Developing and implementing the decision
The above model was used to review a manual process that was hindering the performance of staff in a Banking Technology organization. A high volume of technical work orders were being generated through the help desk system. These requests were not considered to be "problems" but were a "request for service" that was driven by change and could not be controlled with the current process. A more permanent solution could be implemented and was required in order to keep up with and satisfy the requests. Automating and centralizing this process would improve customer response time, meet the FDIC regulatory requirements, and would be a newer streamlined process that could be deployed across locations. The manual process that was being used generated a great deal of paper, which required having a place to file and store the paper. Secondly, whenever documentation needed to be produced for the quarterly audit reviews for the FDIC, more manpower was needed to go through a file cabinet to gather the information for the auditors. There was also an issue of manually generating approximately 100 emails a day to obtain approvals for the requests. These emails then had to be managed and organized electronically. A great deal of time was being wasted performing multiple manual tasks as well as managing and organizing paper and electronic formats. The process could be automated and it would not only benefit the group or department, but the company as a whole.
How critical thinking impacted the decision
As quoted by H.G. Wells--"It is not much good thinking of a thing unless you think it out (Baasham, 2000)."
Using the Seven Step Decision-Making model, this tool allows a process to be thoughtout effectively and efficiently by first, asking questions such as what exactly needs to be done. Are there multiple options to choose? What are the current options and which ones are currently available? Evaluate and examine one's skill set, then evaluate what skills are required to accomplish the decision. Gather data and look at the information and resources available. Identify what additional information and/or resources that maybe needed, and search for and use new information. List and evaluate the pros and cons, identify the values and needs, risks or potential risks and project the probable future consequences of each alternative. Finally, based on the information gathered, select one of the options and design a course of action to develop and implement the decision.
The Seven Step model allowed me the opportunity to put in plain words my idea and present my ideas to several coworkers, who--were in favor of the process, and felt that the project was much needed. Although my coworkers agreed that it was an awesome idea, they also considered the project has a challenge. Ultimately, the benefits proved to be far greater and we collaborated has a team wrote a proposal and presented the idea to upper management.
Today, the Banking Technology organization has a centralized system with tighten security, improved customer response time and a reporting mechanism that saves time for the FDIC audits.
In conclusion, I have defined critical thinking, identified a decision-making model and demonstrated how the decision-making model was applied to a recent workplace decision.
Using the model systematically aides in making the best decision. Once an opportunity or problem is identified using the model assist in determining goals and objectives, identifies advantages and disadvantages of solutions and choosing the best solution, and impact which can only lead to better decision-making.
Baasham, G. (2000). Critical Thinking: A Student Introduction. Chapter 1: Introduction to Critical Thinking, pp 7.
East Tennessee State University-ETSU, (2006). Seven Step Decision-Making Model. Retrieved June 4, 2006 from: http://www.etsu.edu/acadvantage/acadv/decision.htm
Kirby, G.R. & GoodPaster, J.R. (1999). What is Thinking? Critical Thinking, (2nd .ed.). Prentice-Hall, Inc. pp. 8.