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MGT 312 SEU Simple Habits to Improving Your Critical Thinking Summary

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College of Administrative and Financial Sciences
MGT 312
Assignment 2
Deadline: End of Week 10, 26/03/2020 @ 23:59
Course Name: Decision Making and
Problem Solving
Student’s Name:
Course Code: MGT 312
Student’s ID Number:
Semester: I
Academic Year: 1440/1441 H
For Instructor’s Use only
Instructor’s Name:
Students’ Grade: Marks Obtained/Out of
Level of Marks: High/Middle/Low
• The Assignment must be submitted on Blackboard (WORD format only) via allocated
Assignments submitted through email will not be accepted.
• Students are advised to make their work clear and well presented, marks may be
reduced for poor presentation. This includes filling your information on the cover page.
• Students must mention question number clearly in their answer.
• Late submission will NOT be accepted.
• Avoid plagiarism, the work should be in your own words, copying from students or
other resources without proper referencing will result in ZERO marks. No exceptions.
• All answered must be typed using Times New Roman (size 12, double-spaced) font.
No pictures containing text will be accepted and will be considered plagiarism).
• Submissions without this cover page will NOT be accepted.
Course Learning Outcomes-Covered

Explain critical thinking and cognitive psychology as it pertains to analyze and synthesize
information for problem solving and decision making. (2.7)

Employ and analyze aspects of creativity as they pertain to problem solving and decision
making in all manners and circumstances. (2.3)

Demonstrate effective leadership skills and teamwork capacity for efficient decision making as
either team member or a team leader. (3.4 & 3.5)
Assignment Instructions:
• Log in to Saudi Digital Library (SDL) via University’s website
• On first page of SDL, choose “English Databases”
• From the list find and click on EBSCO database.
• In the search bar of EBSCO find the following article:
“3 Simple habits to improve your critical thinking”
Helen Lee Bouygues
Date of Publication:
May 6, 2019
Harvard Business Review
Assignment Questions:
(Marks 10)
1. Read the attached article titled as “3 Simple habits to improve your critical thinking” by Helen
Lee Bouygues, published in Harvard Business Review, and answer the following Questions:
a. Summarize the article and explain the main issues discussed in the article. (In 600-700
b. What do you think about the article in relations to what you have learned in the course
about how to improve your critical thinking? Use additional reference to support you
argument. (In 200-400 words)
c. What do you understand by groupthink? According to the article how we can prevent people
from engaging in groupthink. Use additional reference to support you argument. (In 150-300
d. “Critical thinking is the opposite of creative thinking.” Do you agree? Provide examples of
why you agree or disagree. (In 200-300 words)
[Please answer in the next page]
3 Simple Habits to
Improve Your Critical
by Helen Lee Bouygues
MAY 06, 2019
A few years ago, a CEO assured me that his company was the market leader. “Clients will not leave for
competitors,” he added. “It costs too much for them to switch.” Within weeks, the manufacturing
giant Procter & Gamble elected not to renew its contract with the firm. The CEO was shocked — but
he shouldn’t have been.
For more than 20 years, I’ve helped struggling organizations. Sometimes they reach out because they
have been mismanaged. Sometimes they have not stayed in front of changing technologies. In a few
cases, members of the senior team were simply negligent. But in my experience, these organizational
problems shared a root cause: A lack of critical thinking.
Too many business leaders are simply not reasoning through pressing issues, taking the time to
evaluate a topic from all sides. Leaders often jump to the first conclusion, whatever the evidence.
Even worse, C-suite leaders will just choose the evidence that supports their prior beliefs. A lack of
metacognition — or thinking about thinking — is also a major driver, making people simply
The good news is that critical thinking is a learned skill. To help people get better at it, I recently
started the nonprofit Reboot Foundation. Based on my personal experience as well some of the work
of our researchers, I’ve pulled together three simple things that you can do to improve your critical
thinking skills:
1. Question assumptions
2. Reason through logic
3. Diversify thought
Now, you might be thinking, “I do that already.” And you probably do, but just not as deliberately
and thoroughly as you could. Cultivating these three key habits of mind go a long way in helping you
become better at an increasingly desired skill in the job market.
Question assumptions
When I work to turn around an organization, I’ll typically start by questioning the firm’s
assumptions. I once visited dozens of stores of a retail chain, posing as a shopper. I soon discovered
that the company had presumed that its customers had far more disposable income than they really
had. This erroneous belief made the company overprice its clothing. They would have made millions
more each year if they had sold lower-priced shirts and pants.
Of course, it’s hard to question everything. Imagine going through your day asking yourself: Is the
sky really blue? What if the person next to me isn’t my colleague but her twin sister? How do I really
know that the economy won’t implode tomorrow?
The first step in questioning assumptions, then, is figuring out when to question assumptions. Turns
out, a questioning approach is particularly helpful when the stakes are high.
So if you are in a discussion about long-term company strategy upon which years of effort and
expense will be based, be sure to ask basic questions about your beliefs: How do you know that
business will increase? What does the research say about your expectations about the future of the
market? Have you taken time to step into the figurative shoes of your customers as a “secret
Another way to question your assumptions is to consider alternatives. You might ask: What if our
clients changed? What if our suppliers went out of business? These sorts of questions help you gain
new and important perspectives that help hone your thinking.
Reason through logic
Years ago, I took on the task of turning around the division of a large lingerie company. The growth of
one of its major product lines had been declining for years. No one could figure out why.
It turned out that the company had made the reasoning mistake of over-generalization, drawing a
sweeping conclusion based on limited or insufficient evidence. Namely, the company believed that
all of their international customers had similar preferences in lingerie. So it shipped the same styles
of brassieres to every store across Europe.
When my team started talking to staff and consumers, we realized that customers in different
countries reported very distinct tastes and preferences. British women, for example, tended to buy
lacy bras in bright colors. Italian women preferred beige bras, with no lace. And those in the United
States led the world in sports bra purchases.
For this lingerie company, improving their reasoning helped the firm dramatically improve its
bottom line. The good news is that the formal practice of logic dates back at least 2,000 years to
Aristotle. Over those two millennia, logic has demonstrated its merit by reaching sound conclusions.
So at your organization, pay close attention to the “chain” of logic constructed by a particular
argument. Ask yourself: Is the argument supported at every point by evidence? Do all the pieces of
evidence build on each other to produce a sound conclusion?
Being aware of common fallacies can also allow you to think more logically. For instance, people
often engage in what’s known as “post hoc” thinking. In this fallacy, people believe that “because
event Y followed event X, event Y must have been caused by event X.”
So, for instance, a manager may believe that their sales agents rack up more sales in the spring
because they’re fired up by the motivational speeches offered at the annual sales conference in
February — but until that assumption is tested, there’s no way the manager can know if their belief is
Seek out diversity of thought and collaboration
For years, I was the only female partner on McKinsey’s transformation team. And today, while I serve
on more than a half-dozen corporate boards, I am typically the only Asian and the only woman in the
room during meetings.
By virtue of my background and life experiences, I tend to see things differently from the people
around me. This has often played to my advantage. But I’m not immune to groupthink, either. When
I’m around people similar to me for whatever reason — age, politics, religion— I try to solicit different
points of view. It makes me a better thinker.
It’s natural for people to group themselves together with people who think or act like them. This
happens especially readily online, where it’s so easy to find a specific cultural niche. Social media
algorithms can narrow our perspectives further, serving up only news that fits our individual beliefs.
This is a problem. If everyone in our social circles thinks as we do, we become more rigid in our
thinking, and less likely to change our beliefs on the basis of new information. In fact, the more
people listen to people who share their views, research shows the more polarized their views
It’s crucial to get outside your personal bubble. You can start small. If you work in accounting, make
friends with people in marketing. If you always go to lunch with senior staff, go to a ball game with
your junior colleagues. Training yourself this way will help you escape your usual thinking and gain
richer insights.
In team settings, give people the chance to give their opinions independently without the influence
of the group. When I ask for advice, for instance, I typically withhold my own preferences and ask
team members to email me their opinions in separate notes. This tactic helps prevent people from
engaging in groupthink.
While these simple tactics may sound easy or even obvious, they’re rare in practice, particularly in
the business world, and too many organizations don’t take the time to engage in robust forms of
reasoning. But the important work of critical thinking pays off. While luck plays a role — sometimes
small, sometimes large — in a company’s successes, the most important business victories are
achieved through thinking smart.
Helen Lee Bouygues is the president of the Paris-based Reboot Foundation. A former partner at McKinsey & Company,
she has served as interim CEO, CFO, or COO for more than one dozen companies.
Copyright 2019 Harvard Business Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Additional restrictions
may apply including the use of this content as assigned course material. Please consult your
institution’s librarian about any restrictions that might apply under the license with your
institution. For more information and teaching resources from Harvard Business Publishing
including Harvard Business School Cases, eLearning products, and business simulations
please visit

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