Critical thinking to improve problem-solving and decision-making skills. Write a 2-4-page academic paper in which you describe a business situation, apply a critical thinking framework to the situation, and recommend evidence-based solutions to the situation. Explain how the concepts of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) could affect both the situation and the solution.
This portfolio work project will give you practice with academic writing expectations, while still being work relevant. Many organizations have relationships with professional associations and contribute written articles regularly to newsletters and other publications. In addition, some organizations expect leaders to participate in conferences and seminars, where written work must be submitted using an academic style.
While you are playing the role of a new leader in an organization, remember that you are also writing a paper that will be evaluated by an instructor. Thus, you want to make it easy for the instructor to clearly see that you have demonstrated the outcomes of the assessment. Do not make your instructor search for information; guide them to it. How? By double checking the scoring guide and ensuring that you have clearly demonstrated each of these competencies at what you believe is the Distinguished level.
Read the following and think about how Panera used critical thinking and an understanding of VUCA to solve their mosh pit problem. Pay attention to Kallet’s critical thinking framework in particular.
- Jargon, J. (2017, June 2). How Panera solved its mosh pit problem. The Wall Street Journal.
- Kallet, M. (2014). Think smarter: Critical thinking to improve problem-solving and decision-making skills. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons.
Then, find another company with a problem they need to fix. You may use NASA, BP, or United Airlines, all of whom have had numerous high-profile problems to solve in recent years, if you wish. Or, you may choose a company that you know has an issue. If you are unsure who to use, try searching “Companies with customer service problems” online and you will get a lot of ideas, though your problem does not have to be about customer service.
In an APA-formatted paper:
1. Summarize the problem you researched. Then, apply Kallet’s critical thinking framework to describe how the leadership of this company should think through the problem to create a solution. Finally, give at least one evidence-based solution—either that you came up with through your research or that you read the company is going to or did employ. Next, describe what VUCA considerations the leadership must keep in mind as they implement this solution.
2. Work on being concise but thorough, keeping academically formatted paper to no more than four double-spaced pages.
3. Be sure your paper includes, and is organized, as follows:
o Introduction: Write an introduction that tells the reader what to expect of this paper (1 paragraph). It would be most effective to include a brief mention that leaders at Panera Bread effectively used an understanding of critical thinking and VUCA to solve their mosh pit problem, and that this paper applies a similar framework to solving whatever problem in the organization you chose. Choose an organization with a problem you can research.
o Problem: Describe the problem that you will be solving for another company, describing the situation (1–3 paragraphs).
o Thinking Critically: Apply the framework for critical thinking as outlined by Michael Kallet in the Think Smarter e-book to the problem you identified to describe an evidence-based recommendation for this company to improve. You can create your own unique recommendation, or show how critical thinking applied to a solution that someone else came up with already or applied, which you read about in your research (1–3 paragraphs).
o Applying VUCA: Explain how VUCA could affect both the situation and your recommendation, and any important considerations for management in implementing the recommended solution (1–2 paragraphs).
o Conclusion: Write a conclusion that wraps up and summarizes your document (1 paragraph). The Capella Writing Center, linked in the MBA Program Resources under Writing Skills, has good information on how to write an effective conclusion.
o References: Include at least two APA-formatted citations in your paper.
Write a 2–4-page academic paper following APA style and formatting. Refer to the writing resources in the MBA Program Resources in the courseroom navigation panel, especially paying attention to the MBA Academic and Professional Document Guidelines, under Writing Skills. Note that an academic APA style paper must include sub-headings as well as complete citations and references, and is also expected to be double-spaced.
By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies through corresponding scoring guide criteria:
- Competency 2: Apply leadership strengths and behaviors to workplace situations.
- Apply a critical thinking framework to a business situation.
- Explain how VUCA can affect a business situation and a recommended solution.
- Competency 3: Recommend evidence-based strategies for leading and collaborating in complex environments.
- Recommend an evidence-based solution to a business situation.
- Competency 4: Communicate effectively through academic and professional writing.
- Provide an overview of a business situation.
- Develop text using organization, structure, and transitions that demonstrate understanding of the relationship between the main topic and subtopics.
- Integrate appropriate use of scholarly sources, evidence, and citation style.
- Convey clear meaning in text through sound grammar, usage, word choice, and mechanics.
Faculty will use the scoring guide to review your deliverable as if they were your boss. Review the scoring guide prior to developing and submitting your assessment.
This portfolio work project demonstrates your competency in applying knowledge and skills required of an MBA learner in the workplace. Include this in your personal ePortfolio. See MBA Program Resources for more information on ePortfolio.