Thinking Skills and Problem Solving

If we can make timely and well-considered decisions, then we can often lead ourselves or our team to success (Haresh Kumar Kantilal & Anton Espira, 2008). A good decision is not only influenced by the experience, efficiency and skills of the decision maker but also the adequacy and validity of the information obtained that are related to the decisions required (Abu Mansor et. al. , 1999). Decision making is the process of choosing what to do by considering the possible consequences of different choices (Von Winterfeldt & Edwards, 1986; Beyth-Marom et al. 1991 as cited in Haresh Kumar Kantilal & Anton Espira, 2008). Although decision making seems simple, however, to ensure that the decision made is the best, it must be rational. This means the decision has to be based on facts, opinions and reasonable reasons. Systematic evaluations have to be conducted in the overall process of decision making. As such making a rational decision can be defined as a systematic process of defining problems, evaluating decision alternatives and selecting the best alternative decisions availableand implement them.

Generally, decisions that are made based on facts and opinions are the best decisions (Williams, 2000). This is one of the important duties of a manager. For this paper, I will discuss the decision of my choice involved in choosing the best career that has been offered to me that is whether to choose Job A, Job B or Job C. The three jobs are analysed in terms of the SWOT analysis. The process of choosing the best job opportunity is also discussed based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to support my decision. 2. The SWOT Analysis 2. 1 Definition of SWOT SWOT stands for STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES and THREATS. This is a technique often used in a business context to allow anorganisation to identify its niche in a market. It can also be used on a personal basis to understand how best to take advantage of your abilities and gifts to become successful. SWOT analysis enables you to uncover opportunities that you may have been unaware of and helps you to prepare 3 yourself in facing any threats or dangers that may lie ahead.

SWOT analysis can be used in many different contexts but is most effective when used as a tool in a situation where there is competition from others (Haresh Kumar Kantilal & Anton Espira,2008). A scan of the internal and external environment is an important part of the strategic planning process. Internal environmental factors can be classified as strengths (S) or weaknesses (W), and those external can be classified as opportunities (O) or threats (T). Such an analysis of the strategic environment is referred to as a SWOT analysis.

The SWOT analysis provides information that is helpful in matchingone’s own resources and capabilities to the competitive environment in which it you are exposed to. As such, it is instrumental in strategy formulation and selection. The following Figure 2. 1 shows how a SWOT analysis fits into an environmental scan: Environmental Scan / Internal Analysis External Analysis / / Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats | SWOT Matrix Figure 2. 1 SWOT Analysis Framework Source :http://www. quicjmba. om/strategy/swot [2012, October 12] Strengths One own strengths refers to the resources and capabilities that can be used as a basis for developing a competitive advantage. Examples of such strengths include: ? ? ? ? ? ? high salary overtime payment adequate annual leave nature of the job that benefits you and also matches the knowledge qualifications that you have and also other benefits which are favourable stable job 4 Weaknesses The absence of certain strengths may be viewed as a weakness. For example, each of the following may be considered weaknesses ? ? ? ? ? lack of medical benefit nature of the job does not really match your qualifications no allowance given lack of career advancement distance from home is very far lack of job stability In some cases, a weakness may be the flip side of a strength. Take the case in which no allowance given but then overtime can be claimed. This can actually be more beneficial as in certain cases due to the urgency of the time that the job have to be completed, more overtime is required from the employees so that the task can be completed within the time frame.

Opportunities The external environmental analysis may reveal certain new opportunities for profit and growth. Some examples of such opportunities include: ? ? ? ? an interesting job other people might not dare to take a challenging job stability of the job where the nature of the job requires a lot of travelling Threats Changes in the external environmental also may present threats to you. Some examples of such threats include: ? ? ? ? less knowledge regarding the job the distance too far from residence instability of the job no other benefits for the employee 2. 2 The Job Analysis Based on SWOT The decision making involves two steps that is first step by using the SWOT analysis for each Job A, B and C and the second step by making a rational behind the decision making that involves the analysis by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which best suits my needs. Based on the SWOT analysis and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, below is the detail analysis for Job A, Job B and Job C. The strengths, weaknesses, opportunity and threats for each job are also being discussed. Table 2. Job A Strengths Internal high salary 26 days leave Allowance included Medical benefit included Medium career advancement Threats Distance very far – 35 km Weaknesses No overtime given Not stable Slightly interesting Opportunities External Very related to qualification As shown in Table 2. 1, Job A offers a high salary, adequate annual leave of 26 days, the allowance and medical leave are also included and there is a medium chance for career advancement. The weaknesses for Job Ais that there is no overtime given, not stable and slightly interesting. The opportunity is that the job is veryrelated to the qualification.

This will help the person to put into practice the knowledge and experience that has been acquired. The only threat for Job A is that the distance is very far from the residence. As such causing problem to commute to and fro work and in the long run this might not be economical as the running expenses for the transport will be very costly. 6 For the young people who have just graduated from their tertiary education, this kind of job offer is suitable as based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, Job A offers great satisfaction where physiologicaland safetyneeds are concerned.

In terms of money and other benefits this job offers the most and can be an excellent choice. Table 2. 2 Job B Strengths Internal medium salary 30 days leave Overtime given Job very stable Nature of job is very interesting Threats Slightly related to qualification Weaknesses No allowance given No medical Low career advancement Opportunities External Distance very near – 10 km In Table 2. 2, Job B offers a medium salary, a very satisfactory annual leave of 30 days and the overtimeis also included. The nature of the job is very interesting and very stable.

The weakness for Job B is that there is no allowance and medical benefit given. The career advancement is also low. The opportunity is that the distance is near to the residence. Even though allowance is not given, the distance from the residence is very near and in the long run, savings in terms of the transport running expenses are made. The only threat for Job B is that the qualification is slightly related but due to the nature of the job which is very interesting, this will not be a problem for the person who is more mature and has undergone a few jobs.

Job B offers great satisfaction for those who have been working for more than ten years since according to Maslow’s Hierarchy, their physiological and safety needs have been achieved and the two next levelsof social and esteem needs can be met if Job B is chosen. 7 Table 2. 3 Job C Strengths Internal Allowance included Medical benefit included High career advancement Weaknesses Low Salary No overtime Annual leave 24 days Nature of Job not interesting Opportunities External Slightly related to qualification Quite stable Threats Distance far – 25 km From Table 2. , the strength of Job Cis that it offers a high career advancement and besides that allowance and medical benefit are given. The weaknesses are that the salary is low, there is no overtime. The annual leave is lesser than Job A and Job B and the nature of the job is not interesting. The opportunity is that the job is slightly related to the qualification and is quite stable. This will enable the person to practice some of the knowledge that has been acquired. The only threat for Job B is that the distance of 25 kilometer is far from the residence.

For those who needed some stability in the job the offer for Job C is acceptable especially when based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, the two basic needs of physiological and safety can be met. As such for those who prefers not to go from job to job, Job C can be a good choice too. Decision Making Motivation Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs In making decision making, motivation is always involved. Personally, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs seem to suit this job decision making case. According to Lewis et. al. (2001), Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model is the most famous model for motivation.

According to the hierarchy of needs, an individual has five basic needs that is physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualisation. Figure 2. 1 shows the five needs according to hierarchy and divided into upper level and lower level. Physiological and safety needs are lower-level needs that can be 8 2. 3 fulfilled externally while social needs, esteem needs and self-actualisation needs are upper-level needs that can be fulfilled internally. Refer to Table 2. 2 for a description of each of these needs. Figure 2. 2: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs Source: Certo, S. C. (2000).

Modern management (8th ed. ). New Jersey: Prentice Hall Table 2. 4: Description on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Source: Certo, S. C. (2000). Modern management (8th ed. ). New Jersey: Prentice Hall) Needs Physiological Needs Hierarchy This need exists at the lowest level of the hierarchy. Examples of this need are the need for food, water, air and sleep. Organisations can help individuals to fulfil this need by preparing sufficient income to obtain food, shelter and a comfortable working environment. People will focus on fulfilling these needs before fulfilling the needs in the following level. Safety Needs This need is related closely to acquiring a safe physical and emotional environment. Examples of this need are employment network, health insurance and retirement plans used to fulfil the safety needs of employees. Social Needs After physiological and safety needs been fulfilled, social needs will become the main source of motivation to people. This need includes desire towards friendship, love and the feeling of belonging. An example of social need is when an employee establishes friendship in the workplace and feels a part of the organisation. Esteem Needs

The needs at this level include the needs for status and recognition. This need can be fulfilled through success. Esteem needs are fulfilled when one is given recognition and respect by other people. For example, organisations can help in fulfilling this need through promotion or providing a spacious work station to the employee. People in need of recognition want themselves to be accepted based on their abilities and want to be known as being capable and efficient. Self-actualisation Needs This need is at the highest level of the hierarchy. This need means that eople value high achievement based on their self-potential by using capability and interest to the maximum level in order to perform work in the environment. As an example, a challenging task can assist in satisfying a person towards the achievement of selfactualisation needs. According to Maslow, when a particular need has been fulfilled it will no longer motivate the behaviour of employees. For example, when an employee has gained confirmation in his work place, then a new retirement plan may become less important to him compared to the opportunity of having new friends and joining the informal group in the organisation.

It is the same when the lower-level needs are not fulfilled, most people will pay attention to those particular needs. For example, an employee who is trying to fulfil the need for self-recognition by holding an important position in a particular department suddenly finds out that the department and position he is going to hold may be eliminated, hence the employee may find 10 that the chances of not being terminated in other organisations give more motivation to him compared to the offer of promotion in the previous organisation.

Maslow’s model identified that individuals have different needs which can be motivated by different matters or activities. Unfortunately, this model can only provide basic guidelines to managers. Many following studies conducted found that hierarchy level differs between individuals in different culturalenvironments. The Rational of Preferred Job Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs 3. 0 When faced with a problem, an effective solution to the problem can be developed by exploring the problem, establish a realistic and attainable goals, generate ideas, select ideas, implement the action plan and finally evaluate and follow up.

These steps can each be broken down into smaller steps to better enable you tocarry out the problem solving process (Haresh Kumar Kantilal ; Anton Espira, 2008). We need to generate ideas to look for possiblesolutions. After doing a rational decision and gathering all the information needed by taking into account the facts, opinions and reasonable reasonsto compare the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats by using the SWOT analysis and guided by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs regarding the three jobs offered to me, the best offer that I am going to accept is Job B.

After having working for the ten years, I have already acquired the physiological, safety and social needs. My motivation now based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is for the next level that is the esteem needs. Even though Job B gives medium salary, it offers good annual leave, it also gives me my need and especially with the overtime given this will definitely support my studies to further enhance my skills and qualification..

This destination for this job is also closer to home as such giving me the extra benefit of saving on my transportation, especially with the high petrol price and maintenance I am able to cut down on such high costs. I am also looking for the nature of job which is more interesting and this will directly makes the job more satisfying. With the added benefit in Job B which is stability, I do not have to worry about getting another job. From my analysis, I am sure Job B will be less stressful which is helpful for me to obtain good and excellent health and beauty.

Since it is slightly related to my qualification, knowledge can be easily acquired. 11 4. 0 CONCLUSION The job analysis for Job A, Job B and Job C has been done by using the SWOT Analysis. Decision was made to choose Job B based on needs analysis specified in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I will definitely accept the offer for Job B as I believe it will give a boost to my self esteem needs that is the interesting nature of job with a satisfying annual leave of thirty (30) days, stability of the job also help to enhance my self esteem. ( 2664 words) 12