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Characteristics of Critical Thinking and Decision Making

“Critical thinking entails fair mindedness with specific traits such as intellectual humility, integrity, courage, autonomy, empathy, perseverance and confidence in reason” (Kirby & Goodpaster, 2007, p. 6). Critical thinking involves fairness and it implies in-depth thinking with highly insightful thinking. A critical thinking mind treats every opinion as relevant to a situation in an unbiased manner (Paul & Elder, 2006).

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Before we make decisions on how to solve a problem, we must first find out the cause of the problem. Problem-solving requires critical thinking to attain a proper decision. Most problems remain unresolved because there is a lack of information and knowledge in those who are involved. We can discover the cause of a problem through listening, interpreting, and asking follow-up questions to get to the bottom of the matter (Langdon, 2001). We must think about whether our decisions are designed for the cause or for the effects of a problem. Dealing with the effects gives us the quickest result in solving problems. However, this is not the best way to solve problems (Langdon, 2001).

The decision-making process requires us to define its purpose, involve stakeholders, and take a preliminary look at the financial implications of the decision. The following steps can be used to solve a problem. Firstly, set the standards which the solution needs to meet considering the options against your decision. Use financial techniques to weigh the available options and find out if your chances of success will support the decision made.

After taking action you need to follow up to ensure that your decision is yielding the required benefits. Finally create an environment that will support the decision taken (Langdon, 2001). Discussions and making reference lists can be a good source to give you the insight to come up with better ideas to solve a problem.

As a manager of a technological company, I was once required to manage a crisis involving the company technicians. I designed a well-documented system and decided to start by calling a staff meeting where each technician reviewed their progress and the kind of technical problems they were facing. During the meeting, I developed a list of action items to be resolved and took the necessary steps. The meeting allowed the staff members to speak out their minds, brainstorm, and share ideas. After this, the technicians developed a hard-working spirit and accomplished a number of projects. This was a convenient way to solve the problem and it made the technicians think creatively.

People who are good thinkers will always analyze their thinking, evaluate and improve it (Paul & Elder, 2006). Critical thinking can be used to expose misleading information and bad reasoning. Social institutions can be greatly improved through critical thinking. Critical thinking is a ground for people’s general thinking skills that will help to solve problems in a systematic way. The new economy requires critical thinkers as they are mostly regarded to be very important in the new knowledge economy that is driven by information and technology (Lau & Chan, 2004). The new economy requires people who can deal with changes rapidly and efficiently.

Thinking clearly and systematically helps people to improve the way they put across their ideas as well as their understanding ability. Critical thinking helps in evaluating new ideas so as to select the relevant and best ideas to solve a problem. People can evaluate their values and decisions through the tools of critical thinking (Lau & Chan, 2004).

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Critical thinking is not simply out of sole intellectual skills. Problems always arise unknowingly in persons who unknowingly lack intellectual qualities. Organizations can make good progress when problems are solved accordingly through critical thinking to make decisions.


Kirby, G., & Goodpaster, J. (2007). Thinking: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Critical and Creative Thought (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc.

Langdon, K. (2001). Smart Things to Know About Decision Making (1st ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Co.

Lau, J., & Chan J. (2004). What is Critical Thinking and why is it Important? Web.

Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2006). Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of your Learning and Your Life (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc.

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