Week 5: Problem Solving Problem solving

Week 5: Problem Solving

Problem solving is a part of daily life, both at home and at work. Daily, individuals are challenged by circumstances and forced to make decisions. Often, no particular strategy is used for problem solving. Consider the multitude of occurrences that force you to problem solve every day (e.g. changing lanes while driving, playing a sport, selecting and completing a research assignment, etc.). Then, think about how you typically solve such problems. What strategies do you use? What do you generally base your decisions on?

This week, you will discuss the relationship between problem solving and critical thinking, creativity, and evaluation. You will learn how your ability to think critically and creatively influences your ability to successfully solve problems. You will learn a systematic approach to problem solving. You will also learn about the importance of evaluating the selected solutions to a problem and explore various factors that influence decision making.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Summarize the importance and purpose of problem solving

Photo Credit: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Blend Images / Getty Images


Learning Resources

Required Readings

Course Text: Kirby, G., & Goodpaster, J. (2007).
Thinking (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

  • Chapter 12, “Problem Solving”
  • In this chapter, problem solving and its relationship to critical thinking and creativity is introduced. The focus of the chapter is on those problems that can be solved through action. In that regard, five sequential steps that can be used for solving such a problem are presented.

    Focus on the definitions provided throughout the chapter. Review and think about how different problems might require the different tactical approaches discussed throughout the chapter. Think about the barriers that managers often encounter to problem solving, especially in a global business environment. Ask yourself how critical thinking and creativity can assist with problem solving.

  • Chapter 13, “Evaluating”
  • Chapter 13 explores the importance of evaluating an idea before and after its implementation. The many methods of evaluating ideas and the criteria used for evaluation are also discussed. Finally, ideas to help provide a better understanding of why an idea “would/did” or “wouldn’t/didn’t” work are presented.

    Focus on the definitions provided throughout the chapter. Review and think about the examples and anecdotes provided in the chapter that illustrate the major ideas being conveyed. Consider how evaluation brings together all aspects of critical thinking. Think about how successful managers use evaluation strategies to improve their performance.

  • Chapter 14, “Decision and Action”
  • In this chapter, you will examine how various factors can affect the decision-making process and the actions that are taken. You will also learn about issues that can impede or cloud the decision-making process.

    Focus on the definitions provided throughout the chapter. Review and think about how emotions and other factors can affect decision making. Consider what you know about how a manager’s emotions impact those around him or her. Then, think about how your emotions impact your ability to think creatively and critically.

Course Text: Weston, A. (2009).
A rulebook for arguments (4th ed.). Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company.

  • Review the entire text to prepare for the final exam.

Assignment 1: Problem Solving

Based on your reading for this week:

  • In your “Thinking” textbook, complete Activity 12.1 (p. 289; modify the statements so that they apply to you), Activity 12.2 (p. 294), Activity 12.3 (p. 298) and Activity 12.4 (p. 303).
  • Write a brief 250-word response as to what impressed you most about the information.
  • Share with your classmates other problem solving techniques and tips that have worked for you. While you may give examples of problems you have solved, please do not discuss problems of a personal and private nature.

By Day 7

Post your response in this week’s Assignment Response thread in the Discussion area. Submit this assignment via the Discussion. While you are not required to respond to others’ postings, you are encouraged to do so.

Submission and Grading Information

To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following:

  • Please save your Assignment using the naming convention “WK5Assgn1+last name+first initial.(extension)” as the name.
  • Click the Week 5 Assignment 1 Rubric to review the Grading Criteria for the Assignment.
  • Click the Week 5 Assignment 1 link. You will also be able to “View Rubric” for grading criteria from this area.
  • Next, from the Attach File area, click on the Browse My Computer button. Find the document you saved as “WK5Assgn1+last name+first initial.(extension)” and click Open.
  • If applicable: From the Plagiarism Tools area, click the checkbox for I agree to submit my paper(s) to the Global Reference Database.
  • Click on the Submit button to complete your submission.
Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:

Week 5 Assignment 1 Rubric

Post by Day 7

To participate in this Discussion:

Week 5 Assignment 1 Discussion

Check Your Assignment Draft for Authenticity

To check your Assignment draft for authenticity:

Submit your Week 5 Assignment 1 draft and review the originality report.

Additionally, please paste your initial Assignment post into a Microsoft Word document, save it and submit it via the link below.

Submit Your Assignment by Day 7

To submit your Assignment:

Week 5 Assignment 1


Discussion: The Essence of Arguments

During this course, you have learned how argument is used to “offer a set of reasons or evidence in support of a conclusion,” (Weston, 2009, p. xi). This is an important concept because “argument” typically has a negative connotation. Being able to support your views with clear and sound reasons is a very important skill in being an effective manager.

This week you reviewed the course text, A Rulebook for Arguments. Based on your reading:

  • Select two of the rules that either you or one of your associates have broken in the past.
  • Illustrate an example of an incorrect and a correct use of each of these two rules.
  • Discuss why the rules are important in formulating strong arguments.

By Day 3

Post a brief statement that summarizes what you have learned from the textbook. Include in your summary how this information will be helpful to you both personally and professionally. Could it be used in problem solving? Why or why not?

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

By Day 5

Respond to two or more of your colleagues’ postings in one or more of the following ways:

  • Ask a probing question.
  • Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.
  • Offer and support an opinion.
  • Make a suggestion.
  • Expand on your colleague’s posting.

Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting. Note what you learned and the insights you gained as a result of the comments your colleagues made.

Be sure to support your work with specific citations from the Learning Resources and any additional sources.

Submission and Grading Information

Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:

Week 5 Discussion Rubric

Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 5

To participate in this Discussion:

Week 5 Discussion


Assignment 2: Reflection

Post your Reflection assignment which summarizes what you learned from the readings, research, and discussion activities. Detailed instructions and a template are provided in the Reflection Instructions and Template document located in the Doc Sharing area. Use references with APA formatting as needed. You may also want to review the Reflection Grading Rubric located on the Course Information page before posting your assignment.

While you are not required to read and respond to your classmates’ postings, you are encouraged to do so.

Submission and Grading Information

To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following:

  • Please save your Assignment using the naming convention “WK5Assgn2+last name+first initial.(extension)” as the name.
  • Click the Week 5 Assignment 2 Rubric to review the Grading Criteria for the Assignment.
  • Click the Week 5 Assignment 2 link. You will also be able to “View Rubric” for grading criteria from this area.
  • Next, from the Attach File area, click on the Browse My Computer button. Find the document you saved as “WK5Assgn2+last name+first initial.(extension)” and click Open.
  • If applicable: From the Plagiarism Tools area, click the checkbox for I agree to submit my paper(s) to the Global Reference Database.
  • Click on the Submit button to complete your submission.
Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:

Week 5 Assignment 2 Rubric

Post by Day 7

To participate in this Discussion:

Week 5 Assignment 2 Discussion

Check Your Assignment Draft for Authenticity

To check your Assignment draft for authenticity:

Submit your Week 5 Assignment 2 draft and review the originality report.

Additionally, please paste your initial Reflection post into a Microsoft Word document, save it and submit it via the link below.

Submit Your Assignment by Day 7

To submit your Assignment:

Week 5 Assignment 2


Week in Review

This Week you focused on the relationship between problem solving and critical thinking, creativity, and evaluation. You also considered your ability to think critically and creatively and how it influences your ability to solve problems, as you examined a systematic approach to problem solving. You also explored the importance of evaluating selected solutions to a problem

Next Week you will concentrate on methods for developing the ability to be a skilled critical thinker.

To go to the next week:

Week 6