Thinking Styles of Critical Thinking and Decision Making

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Critical thinking provides framework for successfully evaluating information to make effective decisions; critical thinking entails identifying the best investigation methods to use in finding optimal solutions (Feldman, 2009, pg. 9). In addition, critical thinking takes form in various thinking styles which range from deductive to creative. This paper examines three critical-thinking styles- emotional, logical and scientific. Comparing and contrasting these three styles is the purpose for writing this paper, as well as to show how each style affects the critical-thinking process. Critical thinking is applied to the decision-making process through discussion of workplace examples that highlight each of the three thinking styles examined. Robert Fritz, management consultant also credited with developing structural dynamics, had this to say about making decisions: “If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise (Quotations Page, 2010).”

Emotional Thinking Style
Emotional thinking as a personal barrier causes individuals to risk bias and blocked thoughts; however, when feelings are utilized properly one develops a positive force behind his or her thoughts. Because “feeling follows thought (2007)” and is easily observed in almost any scenario, researchers are currently focusing their studies on this phenomena. Feeling a certain way can motivate one’s thinking in terms of tone and speech. Fluency occurs when individuals allow the force behind their emotions to lead them; verbal eloquence is the result of a flow of feelings into words. “Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion –Hegel (Kirby & Goodpastor, 2007, Ch. 6).” Emotional thinking affects critical thinking because awareness of the correlation between feeling and thought demands attention to the topic of thought and how one feels about the topic. Attention to this matter often exposes deeply buried attitudes and values regarding the topic. Awareness of hidden ideas can help individuals analyze their own thinking and make adjustments accordingly with the goal of reaching objectivity and accuracy. Furthermore, because feelings (emotions) reflect in tone, critical thinking is necessary to adopt awareness and objectivity in this case as well. For example, about five years ago I worked in a place where emotional thinking was rampant among employees. Most other employees used their feelings as a negative driving force- causing confrontations between employees. I observed this happening and developed my own bias toward my colleagues. However, because I understood the connection between feelings and thought, I made an active point to adjust my tone in speaking so the importance of my message was not overlooked. Logical Thinking Style

Logical thinking is a style that is based on the rules of formal logic such as observance of the facts about a situation and using a process for analysis of the facts; it combines multiple thinking styles so that the mind is effective, creative and intelligent when finding the solution of a problem (Logical Thinking, n.d.). Thinking logically is a process in which the brain consistently uses reasoning in order to come to a resolution. Logical thinking affects critical thinking because it helps to develop rational evaluations of what is reality and what is not. Stressful situations demand critical thinking, and having the ability to think logically helps tremendously. When the brain thinks logically it focuses on the important facts and details involved in a predicament. The brain then processes information in steps which helps to dig deeper into an issue before identifying how to solve the problem. (Koray & Köksal, 2009) Critical thinking is beneficial in all aspects of life, either in work, school or personal life. In reference to work, everyone has had to think critically at some point in...
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