Benefits of Critical Thinking in the Workplace

Benefits of Critical Thinking in the Workplace

What is the function of a person’s brain? Most people may think this is a stupid question but the purpose of a brain is to be thinking all the time. Most of the time people are not aware of what they are thinking about even though the brain is constantly working. For example, most of anyone’s daily routine is done by habit or repetition. No one thinks about combing their hair or brushing their teeth and yet the body responds and performs the action. This means that the brain can process information and cause motion without much thought when the action is considered to be routine or habitual.

Critical thinking is a disciplined thought process of understanding, analyzing, and reviewing a problem or situation to achieve a higher level of quality output (Paul and Sciven, 1987). If this same level of thought were brought into the workplace, business would thrive and supervisors, managers, and employees would benefit greatly just by using critical thinking. While this skill should be taught at an early age most people do not use or understand the concept until it is taught during workplace training.

One example of a career that would require critical thinking is a manager at a full service restaurant. Restaurant management teams are responsible for deciding what direction the restaurant should go in and what actions are necessary to achieve those goals. Many factors can influence a strategic plan both positively and negatively. Michael E. Porter identified five forces that have the biggest effect: competition, bargaining power of suppliers, the influences of customer, and the barriers to enter into that market (Wylick, 2007). With the help of critical thinking, business leaders can utilize those five forces to help make better business choices.

When analyzing the market, the management team must understand the competition. The team must understand all sources of competition by size, business model, pricing, and any other information that can be obtained about each business. Bargaining power of supplies means finding alternative supplies that provide the same quality and service but at a cheaper rate. Bargaining power of supplies is also sometimes called a market check. The third force is bargaining power of the customer (Wylick, 2007). Buyer power comes into play in this force. A similar concept that can be applied is never put all of your eggs in one basket. No company wants the buyer to have control because most buyers only care about cost, not loyalty or quality. The fourth force is the threat of newcomers or new competition. The goal of most companies is to control market share in hopes of deterring new players in the field. The fifth and final force is the threat of knock offs, or substitute products at a cheaper cost. Knockoffs can cause customers to switch from one product to another due to price or location.

Without using the core concepts of critical thinking the success of the company will be put at risk. Making decisions and solving problems is critical in any workplace. The key to successful critical thinking is the allowance for employees and managers to be open minded and think outside the box. When a problem is addressed, it would be beneficial to think outside the box and come up with new and creative concepts rather than using old out dated path of thought or action (Noe, 2009). However, many employees and businesses tend to follow the older paths of thinking because those older paths worked at some point. Today’s business market demands a new thought process if any success is to be realized.

Critical thinking can be a business’ best asset or worst enemy. Critical thinking allows leaders and employees to take a long, honest look at the products or services being provided. This honest look may not always be easy to swallow, but the company will not ever advance until the leaders can remove the blinders and see exactly what is happening around them. The critical thinking process is not for the faint of heart or the egotistical. Critical thinking is for the sharp minded, goal oriented business that wants to succeed and lead the market through dominance and controlling total market share.

Reference:

Noe, D.P., (2009). Creative Thinking in the Workplace. Retrieved on March 21, 2011 from: http://www.helium.com/items/1309149-creative-thinking-in-the-workplace

Paul, R. and Scriven, M. (1987). Critical Thinking as Defined by the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking, 1987. Retrieved on March 21, 2011 from: http://www.criticalthinking.org/aboutCT/define_critical_thinking.cfm

Wylick, Vincent. (2007). Porter's 5 Forces - How They Work. Retrieved on March 21, 2011 from: http://lh5.google.com/vincent.vanwylick/Rx8sydUk04I/AAAAAAAAAMM/koRN4F7a...