Can Critical Thinking Be Taught in Business School?

In her editorial of the September issue of Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, Melinda Knight explains,

There is universal agreement among educators in the academy and managers in the workplace that critical thinking writing-on-laptop-1197801-mskills are essential for success at all levels. Over a century ago, the American sociologist William Graham Sumner defined what we now call critical thinking as “the examination and test of propositions of any kind which are offered for acceptance, in order to find out whether they correspond to reality or not.” He further argued that “it is our only guarantee against delusion, deception, superstition, and misapprehension of ourselves and our earthly circumstances,” and education “teaches us to act by judgment” (Sumner, 1906, pp. 632-633).

Hiring managers have long recognized how important critical thinking is in their talent searches. Wall Street Journal reporter Marisa Taylor (2010) argued that “while the ability to think critically is, well, critical in the workplace, employers have long complained that many of the young college graduates they hire seem to lack this skill.”

But what can be changed to help improve the critical thinking skills of college graduates? In their article “Cultivating Critical-Thinking Dispositions Throughout the Business Curriculum,” Janel Bloch and Sandra E. Spataro explore what can be done in the business school module to promote these skills.

The abstract:

Critical thinking is an essential component of managerial literacy, yet business school graduates struggle to apply critical-thinking skills at work to the level that employers desire. This article argues for a dispositional approach toBPCQ.indd teaching critical thinking, rooted in cultivating a critical-thinking culture. We suggest a two-pronged approach of (a) clearly defining critical thinking and selecting an accessible model for applying it and (b) integrating critical thinking consistently throughout the business curriculum. We illustrate implementation of this strategy in our revised MBA curriculum and conclude by challenging others to consider adopting a cultural and dispositional approach.

Click here to read “Cultivating Critical-Thinking Dispositions Throughout the Business Curriculum” and here to read the September editorial entitled “Finding Ways to Teach Critical Thinking in Business and Professional Communication” for free from Business and Professional Communication Quarterly. Want to know about all the latest from Business and Professional Communication Quarterly? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

This entry was posted in Careers, Change, Communication, Education, Management Theory, organizational change, Pedagogy, Scholarship, Strategy, Teaching & Learning and tagged , , , , , by Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, SAGE Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, SAGE Publishing

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 1500 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC, and Melburne, our publishing program includes more than 1000 journals and over 900 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

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