The purpose of this paper is to identify a present or future decision I will be making in my personal or professional life, and how that decision will be made utilizing one of the three decision-making techniques-force field analysis, six thinking hats, or SWOT analysis. For the present or future decision I have chosen to write this paper on whether or not I should marry my girlfriend, and I will be analyzing that decision with the force field analysis technique.
The DecisionAs previously mentioned the decision I have to analyze is whether or not I should marry my girlfriend, a future personal decision. The reason that I have to make this decision is that I have been living with her for almost a year now, and I think we both agree that we want to have children, raise a family, and die together. Not only are we both committed to one another, but she is one of the few people I have been completely honest with in my life, and her with me.
When I try to think of a reason why we shouldn't get married, I often have a difficult time thinking of a good reason. This is why I am using one of the three decision-making techniques to analyze any associated problems and run forth with an understanding of the potential negative outcomes of getting married.
The TechniquesNot every problem is scientific, mathematic, or grammatical. Therefore, not every problem can be solved in the same manner. The three techniques used in decision-making processes are useful for specific types of problems. The technique I have chosen to use is the force field analysis because it compares reasons for change and for against change in regards to the decision about getting married. This is the most practical technique that I can choose for this type of decision because the other two available options would be more suitable for decisions regarding one's profession, whether they be decisions made by authority or collaborative group efforts.
The force field analysis in its simplest form is a list of pros and cons about making a decision. The SWOT analysis breaks down the outcome of making a decision by analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and the six thinking hats technique, which utilizes six different states of critical thinking-questions, emotions, bad points judgment, good points judgment, creativity, and thinking.
Applying the TechniqueThe reason for choosing the force field analysis, aside from it being the simplest to understand, is that the type of decision being made is personal. Only my thoughts need to be incorporated into the technique, and only my answers are logical to my thinking process. Using the force field analysis will help me to determine the best possible outcome to my decision to get married or to not get married by forcing me to pull my ideas onto paper, which will be visible in plain sight. Below is a diagram of the applied force field analysis and the accompanying point system.
Force Field AnalysisForces for ChangeForces against ChangeTotal Forces For: 14 pts Total Forces Against: 12 ptsForces for ChangeOverall happiness. In favor of getting married, my overall happiness with myself and with my life will improve. Although our current relationship is almost as if we already are married (we share finances and live together), making a personal and legal commitment to one another will feel like a success, as it will be a milestone in both our lives.
Support relates to the mental, physical, and emotional support that two individuals in a relationship can provide one another. The level of support will remain the same or increase after marriage.
Financial stability refers to how we will better be able to share finances. In addition to the financial support we provide one another already, the ability to secure accounts and property in both our names should benefit our credit.
Start/Raise a family. In today's society there are so many children born to unwed parents. In my personal experiences I have found that children raised by married parents were often more successful and happier than those who didn't.
Independence from parents. In deciding to get married, I will no longer have to consult with my parents about decisions that affect my family's life. I will have a spouse to consult with and trust.
Forces Against ChangePossibility of divorce. This is a problem that has been increasingly becoming worse over the past several decades. According to divorcerate.org, "It is frequently reported that the divorce rate in America is 50%"(Divorce rate, n.d.). The likelihood of my marriage lasting is only 50/50, and that is not a positive sign.
Loss of freedom. If I go ahead with getting married the freedom to go where I want and do what I please will be lost. I will be expected to share most if not all knowledge of my whereabouts with my spouse.
Extra responsibilities. Not only do I have to care for myself, but after getting married I will have to ensure the safety and well-being of my new wife. Doing taxes, paying more bills, and general maintenance on property will be increased, as we will be living in our own domain after we get married.
After applying the technique, the force field analysis total forces for change are higher than the total forces against change. Therefore, I can conclude that I should make the decision to marry my girlfriend. This technique does not absorb all of the other associated facts about conditions that are irrelevant, making it a good tool to use to make decisions that can involve years of thought. The only major problem with this and the other techniques is that if an individual forgets or cannot think of an additional criterion when they are going through this technique and then remember or discover it later, it could throw off the entire decision-making process.
ConclusionI was already aware of the SWOT analysis before I even heard about the force field analysis or the six thinking hats. However, using a different approach to the decision-making part of the critical thinking process allowed me to ignore all of the irrelevant information associated with making my decision. The technique helped me to visualize better how the pros of getting married for me personally outweigh the cons.
ReferencesDivorce rate. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.divorcerate.org/