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This case study aims to determine the importance of critical thinking as one of the sought-after work skills in the workplace. Critical thinking is defined as “the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.” There is a growing concern among millennials like the author who are lacking the said skill. Among these problems are the deficiency of the ability to make informed decisions about what trustworthiness of data, also the inappropriate negotiation skills and the difficulty to bridge the gap between theory-related and real-life events.
Solutions made by the author is inquiring different perspectives, asking the experiences of others, managing the ambiguity through careful research and looking for evidence-based practices (EBP) to make a more informed decision. Learning art of negotiating through problem-solving activities as well as the dynamic role of critical reflecting. These strategies have helped the author in dealing with work related issues that has also helped her to shape her critical thinking skill. Her limited life experience might pose some bias and thus recommending for a continuous process of enhancing the said skill. A need for an unceasing mentorship for her to be fully equipped to her role as a leader in the future. Also, a call for incessantly do the above mention strategies and find other means not mentioned in this case study could viably help her progress in this skill.
Keywords: critical thinking, millennials
As a student and a millennial taking up Business Administration, the writer would like to determine the importance of critical thinking in the workplace. Critical thinking is defined as “an intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.” (Snyder & Snyder, 2008). As one of the sought-after skills in the workplace, this case study aims to determine business-related issues to which the purpose of critical thinking may help solve it as well as concrete steps that could enhance critical thinking skill.
According to Dwayer, Boswell & Elliott (2015), the ability to think critically is an important skill that employers look for in employees, as it enables individuals to act independently; analyze and evaluate data in order to draw conclusions; and thus, make the inferences, judgments, and decisions necessary to act. Since these problems involve no set answer, critical thinking skill is used to formulate potential solutions. Business managers and executives will need to employ critical thinking skill to be able to analyze and evaluate copious amounts of data to make successful decisions. (Kunsch, Tyle & Schnarr, 2014). Young people today are the next generation of leaders.
Many possess the quantitative skills without the qualitative abilities to make informed decisions about what the data tells them. (Baldoni, 2018). With the presence of so many information available, one of the author’s problem is deciphering what information is reliable to use. Another experienced problem is to develop and facilitate negotiation skills among colleagues and clients. Her experiences working in the customer service industry, negotiating is a necessity to bridge the gaps between personal goal, company and client’s goal.
Another difficulty experienced by the writer would be bridging the gap between theory-related and real-life events as theory related knowledge may sometimes be incongruent to actual case scenario happening in the workplace itself. Discussion Having known about the value of critical thinking, it is necessary to able to puncture myth in favor of reason because it challenges us to set aside opinion for reason and logic, making it essential for individuals, teams, and organizations. Failure to evaluate options critically results in stunted growth and darkness. (Baldoni, 2018) Since critical thinking is not a skill that a person is born with or some previous learning experience that often does not require to think critically, it is a must to first model the behavior and assists them to develop and progress in the said skill. (Snyder & Snyder, 2008). To involve critical thinking in addressing data accuracy, the author has found the work of Baldoni (2010) that suggested four important steps purposively resolve the issue. It is imperative that the first approach is evaluating every proposition including the what & why behind it.
Also, she has learned to inquire about different perspectives and asking the experiences of people across the workplace and manage the ambiguity through careful research and looking for evidence-based practices (EBP) to make a more informed decision. EBP provided her opportunities for a more individualized, more effective, streamlined, and dynamic care and that it augments effective clinical judgment. In addition, McGrath (2005) emphasized that EBP is viewed to reduce the research–practice gap. Another important process that she learned through the years of practice is learning the art of negotiation. Engaging everyone for dialogue and collaboration during multidisciplinary meetings poses a lot of problem-solving activities and brainstorming to meet halfway in goal setting. Prayer (1993) emphasized that when learners engaged in a dialogue the whole problem is redefined and paves away for finding a concrete solution. Lastly, is to engage in the dynamic role of critical reflective skill. In a fast-paced working environment, the author has found the art of reflecting and processing information through writing to resolve these potential problems.
Listing down the arguments allowed her to process more information and coming up with innovative ideas to solve issues critically. Like in the article written by McGrath (2005) she also found that journal writing improved areas of pattern recognition, forming better relationships, generating hypothesis and explanations, and drawing more logical conclusions. These actions have shaped her to solidify her critical thinking skills and improve her performance professionally. In the research conducted by Tempelaar (2006), it was found that there is a positive correlation between enhanced critical thinking and performance.
It is essential to develop critical thinking skills to become successful in the workplace. Critical thinking skill addresses many business-related issues. One of the most substantial findings is to hone and develop the critical thinking skill for millennials who would be the next generation of leaders for would ultimately bring the company to success.
Problems in data accuracy, negotiation as well as bridging the gap between theory-related and real-life events could be solved through several approaches. Addressing data accuracy through evaluation, inquiry, asking and managing the ambiguity as well as evidence-based practices to make a more informed decision. Also, engaging for a dialogue and collaboration as well as critical reflective skill are ways to resolve the issues related to it. These practices and strategies have positively found increase critical thinking skills based on the writer’s experience and personal self-evaluation.
The limitation and scope of this case study to the millennial workforce as part of the author’s personal approach to critical thinking to which she belongs. It is highly recommended to widen the scope of deepening the knowledge and importance of critical thinking. Also, the limited experiences of the author may pose some biases and would recommend for a widening time frame in the future. A call to find more strategies to further expand her critical thinking skills. Implementation
The application of critical thinking is a continuous process as it is a skill that needs to be developed and enhanced. Modeling and mentoring are still needed to better equip the author for her role as next-generation leader. Continuous application of the above steps and strategies as well as learning new approaches would deepen her critical thinking skill to fully prepare her managerial role in the future.
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