Applying Scientific Thinking in Management Problems | Elements of Scientific Thinking

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Applying Scientific Thinking in Management Problems | Elements of Scientific Thinking | gyankovandar

Applying Scientific Thinking in Management Problems

Scientific thinking is that mode of thinking about any scientific subject, content, or problem in which the thinker improves the quality of his/her thinking by skillfully taking a change of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing, the intellectual standard upon them.
Various managerial problems required to be solved by the managers more concretely. The market competitiveness is high, and the requirement of the customers are also frequently changing. Thus, a manager requires analyzing the problems more scientifically and systematically. Therefore, manager also started to follow the following scientific tenets while undertaking research in various operational and functional problems like marketing, HR, operation, and production.

1. Direct observation of phenomena:

Rather the collecting information from secondary sources managers started to collect first-hand information through observation or interview.

2. Clearly defined variables, methods & procedures:

Management researchers used to define the dependent, independent moderating, and intervening variables. Methods of measuring them and procedures of undertaking the research are defined and operationalized.

3. Use of theories:

Management researchers nowadays do not undertake research based on observation/ thought but use basic thought like ontology, epistemology, etc. It guides the researchers to undertake research systematically.

4. Empirically testable hypothesis:

Nowadays, the researcher develops the hypothetic statement either based on observation or previous studies/ theories. Those statements show the relationship between various variables. Such statements are tested using mathematical tools and confirm the relation/ reject the relationship of variables.

5. Statistical justification of conclusions:

Conclusions drawn from the studies are drawn from the use of statistical tools. Statistically found findings are compared or related to the previous theories/ study findings and conclusions are drawn using researchers’ logic and statistical findings. So, management researcher justifies their conclusions using statistical tools.

6. Self-correcting process:

Managers develop systems that will automatically correct the deficiencies.
Thus, after World War II, management researchers also apply scientific thinking while conducting research for solving management problems. Expect more accurate and objective solutions from the researcher. To provide such accurate and objective solutions, management researchers also started to use scientific thinking in management problems.
Scientific thinking in dealing with management problems began with the publication of the book The Principles of Scientific • Management in 1011 by Frederick Winslow Taylor, an industrial engineer of Bethlehem Steel Plant, Philadelphia, USA, which was voted one of the most influential books on management of the 20th century by the Fellows of Academy of Management, the USA in 2001. Taylor, being a mechanical engineer, used scientific ‘thinking to solve management problems relating to wastage control and to increase in efficiency and productivity of an enterprise (Freedom).
Similarly, behavioral and social scientists such as Elton Mayo, Abraham Maslow, Douglas McGregor, Rensis Likert, David McClelland, etc. during the 1950s onwards used scientific thinking by combining knowledge of psychology, sociology and anthropology with strong observation, research, and communication skills to solve organizational problems by examining individuals, groups and organizational behavior.
Many more researchers on management are now using scientific thinking and methods in conducting research studies so as to solve several different management problems relating to operations, marketing, finance, and human resources, faced by modern organizations. As such, several management theories, principles, techniques and methods have been developed to overcome business .and management problems. Therefore, management researchers have to develop scientific thinking skills to conduct worthwhile research for finding new and emerging issues of management.

Elements of Scientific Thinking

Scientific thinking includes the following elements:

  • Point of View: a frame of reference, perspective, and orientation.
  • Purpose: goals, objectives, and functions.
  • Question or Issue: clear and precise vial question or problem. Information: relevant data, facts evidence, observations, experiences, and reasons.
  • Interpretation and Inference: conclusions and solutions through proper interpretation and inference.
  • Concepts: theories, definitions, laws, principles, and models.
  • Assumptions: Presuppositions and axioms (a rule or principle that people may accept as true).
  • Implications and Consequences: logical results.

According to Paul and Elder, Scientific thinking results in the following elements:

  • Clearly and precisely formulating vital questions and problems.
  • Collecting and evaluating relevant data and information.
  • Drawing well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, and testing them against relevant criteria and standards.
  • Thinking open-mindedly, recognizing and assessing assumptions, implications, and practical consequences.
  • Effectively communicating in proposing solutions to complex problems.


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