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MGT 350 Week 4

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               Thinking Critically

Michelle Kinchen, Stacy Lopez, Michael W. Masten,

         Michelle Secrest, Marva Weeks

                   MGT/350

                August 01, 2011

                Kendra Mathews
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                                 Evaluation Tools and Techniques


       The problem evaluation tools and techniques encountered in the simulation included

benchmarking, brainstorming, imagining, and importance weighting. Benchmarking helps

measure specific performance gaps between a company and its competitors. This was used in the

simulation to determine how the product differences between the local electronics competitor

gave themselves a leg up in sales versus Credenhill Retailing.


       To solve a problem by rapidly generating a variety of possible solutions, brainstorming

was the tool of choice. Imagining is used when there is an idea about something without

possessing the facts to back it up; to make an assumption about a situation. Importance

weighting is looking at the facts that are available and weighing each one against another to

determine the where they rank in order of importance.


       Their were several problems that were identified. They included a product mix that was

not selling quickly enough and did not include Internet accessories that the competition was

carrying and selling in large quantities. The second problem was the new store that opened two

months prior and that sold items Credenhill does not carry. The variable pay plan which lured

away several key employees was also a concern. The city was threatening legal action against

Credenhill if they did not implement changes to comply with their local disability policies.

Credenhill was up to compliance of the Federal policies, but the city’s policies dictated more

stringent changes that could cause the company to shut down for up to fifteen days and require

additional money that was not budgeted. Also the WAN has been not as reliable as it needs to be

so this is another issue that must be addressed.
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               Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle (PDCA) is a terrific problem solving tool that is

recommended for use in this situation. According to Answers.com, “PDCA creates a process-

centered environment, because it involves studying the current process, collecting and analyzing

data to identify causes of problems, planning for improvement, and deciding how to measure

improvement (Plan). The plan is then implemented on a small scale if possible (Do). The next

step is to determine what happened (Check). If the experiment was successful, the plan is fully

implemented (Act). The cycle is then repeated using what was learned from the preceding

cycle.” Brainstorming would be used throughout to allow ideas to come in from other sources.

Communication throughout all organizational levels is crucial and critical thinking, questions,

and reasoning should abound as well.


                           Decision-Making Processes and Outcomes


       When critically thinking, one must understand all problems and bring forth concerns that

address the problems. To effectively come to a common ground when resolving the problem, it

is important to identifying problems and concerns. According to National Council Michael

Scriven and Richard Paul, "Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively

and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and or evaluating information

gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or

communication, as a guide to belief and action." (Paul, 2009).


       Employing the critical thinking simulation technique helped assist with evaluating

decision-making processes and outcomes, by allowing all the opportunity to understand the

importance of critical thinking. The simulation helped identify how to personally break down a

situation into three stages to find the best solution to a problem. The three stages mentioned in
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the simulation were framing of problem, making the decision, and evaluating the decision

(Critical Thinking Simulation).


       Framing of the problem helped identify how to identify a problem, understand the

criteria, goal, objective, and how the problem was implemented. Making the decision helped

identify how the problem was created and allowed an evaluation of the alternatives to the

problem to help make a decision. Evaluating the decision helped measure the impacts of all

choices and help finalize and implement the best solution for solving the problem (Critical

Thinking Simulation).


                                   Simulation - Team Project

       When identifying the main problem in the simulation, it was determined that it was most

important to increase employee engagement and morale. Therefore, the main focus was on the

employees with a secondary focus on the sales and inventory of Credenhill. The business had

been posting losses over eight weeks and had acknowledged an issue as losing employees to a

local competitor that offered a more appealing pay structure. The recommendation made was to

restructure the variable pay plan for the junior level associates while creating a short-term bonus

structure for in-store sales. The secondary focus was to hold a one-time sale to move large ticket

inventory at a discounted price and turn the inventory over.

       Ultimately, the other internal competitors could balance better what Linda was looking

for in a top notch sales manager. The decision was made to select a different candidate for

promotion. Although there was no exposure to the different steps taken by the two other

employees it was clear that from the first challenge those employees were better able to address

the challenges set before them. This posed a unique challenge based on work background as a
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human resources manager given that the primary focus and first inclination is to look at what

issues are affecting employees and take steps to address those before looking at anything else.

       Had more time been taken to understand what the true problems were rather than

focusing on the symptomatic issues feeding into the problems, the results likely would have been

better in the simulation. Although employee engagement and morale are important,

organizationally the focus needed to be on increasing the profitability of the store and balancing

the employee morale as a less critical focus. One thing that would have been nice to see in this

simulation that was not available are additional ideas to address both the concerns of the business

(sales) and the concerns of the employees (engagement). This would have allowed the

opportunity to show critical thinking that was not permitted through the selection process offered

in the simulation.
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                                          References


Answers.com Website. (2011). PDCA. Retrieved July 30, 2001, from

       http://www.answers.com/topic/pdca


Paul, M. S. (2009). Defining Critical Thinking. Retrieved July 30, 2001, from

       http://www.criticalthinking.org/aboutCT/definingCT.cfm


University of Phoenix Website. (2011). Critical Thinking and Decision Making Simulation

       [Motion Picture]. Retrieved July 30, 2001, from

       https://ecampus.phoenix.edu/secure/aapd/vendors/tata/UBAMsims/critical_thinking/critic

       al_thinking_thinking_critically_simulation.html

				
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