- Critical Thinking and Incremental Improvement
- An Obstacle to Critical Thinking Within Organizations: The Covert Struggle for Power
- Another Obstacle: Group Definitions of Reality
- A Third Obstacle: The Problem of Bureaucracy
- The Problem of Misleading Success
- Competition, Sound Thinking, and Success
- Stagnating Organizations and Industries
- Questioning Organizational Realities
- Assessing Irrational Thinking in Organizational Life
- The Power of Sound Thinking
- Some Personal Implications
Stagnating Organizations and Industries
In the vast majority of stagnating organizations or industries, thinking is used to justify not changing, to defend the status quo, not to transform it. Defective thinking becomes an internal obstruction: justifying a refusal to seriously consider evidence that indicates flaws. Weak earnings, low morale, obsolete product lines, are rationalized. Poor thinking is denied. The evidence that should precipitate a change in thinking is set aside or denied. It is very difficult for a critical thinker to work effectively in an organization trapped in poor thinking. This is one of the many reasons that excellent thinkers tend to gravitate toward organizations which are smaller, less committed to a party line, more open to innovation and new lines of thought.
Poor corporate thinking produces poor policies, rigid bureaucratic procedures, resistance to change, complacency, and internal conflictthough not necessarily all at once, and certainly not all from the beginning. Only when critical thinking is a corporate value will an organization remain dynamic in the long-run. Critical thinking as an organizational value serves as a motivator to routinely "re-think" policies, procedures, and ideas. Change becomes a given, but of course not change for change sake. Rather, change becomes the product of new thinking that has effectively analyzed and assessed more established thinking, retaining what is well-grounded and relevant, replacing what is out of touch or inaccurate. With critical thinking as the instrument, one never jumps off the deep end. One learns to read the relevant evidence from multiple standpoints.