Crtitical Thinking for the 21st Century Workplace

Essay by ricconyCollege, UndergraduateA+, December 2003

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Critical Thinking for the 21st Century Workplace

Many people think the goal of critical thinking is to come up with one right answer. But where there are complex problems, especially in the business world, the purpose of thinking critically is to get to the heart of a problem and reason through situations and issues that are, by their nature, ambiguous. Critical thinking then is not about coming up with a right or wrong answer. A good definition is, "Critical thinking is best understood as the ability of thinkers to take charge of their own thinking. This requires that they develop sound criteria and standards for analyzing and assessing their own thinking and routinely use those criteria and standards to improve its quality" (Elder & Paul, 1994, p.34)

The objective of this essay is to provide an overview on the foundation of critical thinking and the importance of understanding how we think in order to cultivate and apply critical thinking skills.

This essay will focus on demonstrating the benefit of applying critical thinking skills as a structured methodology for the 21st Century workplace.

What is the Foundation of Critical Thinking?

The foundation of critical thinking dates back to Socrates, the Greek philosopher who lived from approximately 469 to 399 B.C. The heart of critical thinking which the Socratic Method is is a process of using open-ended questions that helps elicit and clarify reasoning (American Management Association [AMA], 2001). Its power resides in the ability to help people slow down their thinking so that they can observe, evaluate and improve it. The Socratic Method rests on the assumption that everything has a logic that can be uncovered through questioning and thinking (AMA, 2001). It also explores the values domain of thinking by making us aware that we need to respect others'...