The relationship between critical thinking and decision-making is much more different than what most people think. Critical thinking is the process by which one evaluates information on a given problem. The process of reaching logical conclusions, solving problems, analyzing factual information, and taking appropriate actions based on the conclusions is called decision making.
What is critical thinking? Critical thinking is examining assumptions - not simply accepting arguments and conclusions at face value. Critical thinking is looking for hidden values, evaluating evidence and assessing multiple conclusions. An employee calls technical support and states that they are down. By using critical thinking skills coupled with feed back from the user, one can determine that the user cannot print.
Decision-making is an action. It is the destination of logical and analytical problem solving which is based in fact. Once the destination is reached, action in taken according to the resolution reached. The user above cannot print. One would suggest that he reinstall the print drivers to resolve the problem. The decision was to reinstall the print drivers.
The authors of Whatever It Takes suggest that decision-making material and literature tend to emphasize the product of decision-making but does not emphasize the actual process of decision-making. Critical thinking is the mechanical process by which problems are perceived, alternative solutions weighed, and rational decisions are made (McCall, Kaplan, xv). Decision-making is the product of critical thinking. My occupation as a network technician affords me the opportunity to think critically each day. Critical thinking allows me make decisions based on fact rooted in logic. If a user cannot log into the network, I have to decide where the problem is. The speed by which I do this is critical. Using critical thinking, I can determine where the problem resides.