Common Sense and Integrative Thinking

September 5, 2017 Architecture

Common Sense and Integrative Thinking Introduction This article is a discussion about Common Sense and Integrative Thinking. It discusses about the connection or role of Common Sense in Integrative Thinking on the basis of “Common sense and Integrative thinking” by Joy Ben and Sally Dresdow, 2009. I will be discussing about their arguments. This paper will show the link between Common Sense and Integrative Thinking. In general Common Sense does not seem to play a great role in Integrative Thinking but actually Common Sense does play an important part in Integrative Thinking and it helps to Improve Integrative Thinking.

This paper support the argument of the author that the common sense and Integrative Thinking are connected and if common sense is accessed properly in the beginning of the Integrative Thinking it will improve the Integrative Thinking in later stages. Body The strength of the authors in their article is they support Common Sense enhance Integrative Thinking, If Common Sense is integrated at first stage then it will enhance the thinking in the other stages and the Common Sense and Integrative Thinking are compatible to each other.

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On the other hand the authors have weak argument like Common Sense can interfere with integrative Thinking, the insights and intuitions derived from past experience and action can overemphasize knowledge acquisition for taking action. Common sense is the sound practical judgement which is not dependent of any specialized knowledge or training but with the normal native intelligence. Common sense decides the situation without much thinking, and sees the things as it sees.

It is a gut feeling, native ability, knowing how, learning from mistakes, demonstrable cognitive abilities and self-motivated. The common sense gives people the ability to make reasonable assumptions and think different courses of action, to think realistic expectations and to make sensible decisions and it takes corrective path when things go opposite. In contrast to common sense Integrative Thinking is the ability gained from learning, experimenting and visualising according to facts and figures.

The Integrative Thinking is the ability to constructively face a complex decision by combining all the diverse facts, ideas, issues and instead of choosing one at the cost of the other; making a creative decision by taking the elements of all. The person’s common sense, which is their knowledge and experience, can conflict with integrative thinking. I agree with the author that we should not depend on the common sense thinking alone, as common sense varies among every individual as not all the people have the same amount of experiences.

People are born in different parts of the world and when they grow they do different things, see different thing believe different things, get experience of different things to other people born in other part of the world. So the level of Common Sense if different in different people, some people may know something better and some people may not know it at all. Therefore, common sense requires great effort to develop a common pool of judgement. I also support the authors’ argument that Common Sense knowledge is not the same as theoretical knowledge and fully relying on it may result in reliance on brief information.

In theoretical knowledge we gain vast information, experimented and found by different people and scientists from all over the world on the other hand common sense is knowledge gained from our day to day normal life. Therefore our Common Sense knowledge is comparatively smaller than theoretical knowledge so if we fully depend on Common Sense than we will be thinking with small knowledge and in small area only. The decision making of a complex situation requires knowledge developed from both practical and theoretical.

The problem of only relying on practical action is that the situation may be misdiagnosed and the action may not suit the situation. The dependence on the past success experience can have risk of assuming some level of predictability, an inability to see new patterns, researching new ways of thinking, that leads to the inability to address the complex contexts that exist in the organizations. Common Sense usually reflects their existing mental knowledge gained from the past experience and therefore it may not be in equivalent to current situation.

It increases the confidence of being right and restricts learning, exploring new approaches and the enthusiasm to change paths. Integrative Thinking is tackling a problem in a different way and creating a solution differently, beyond common thinking going much deeper to find perfect solution despite of interferences. It is something like thinking outside the box, and not fully depending on what they think, fell or believe. Collecting all the facts, current situation, thinking the problem in every possible angle and every consequences of the result produced.

Integrative thinkers approach any decision in four steps which are as follows: 1. Salience: In this step thinker choose the main factors or features to pay attention for and the factors/features which they should not. Its categorizing the problem accordance to the importance of the facts. 2. Causality: In this step thinker sees the problem from every angle as possible and the relations that may exist between the various pieces of the problem 3. Architecture: Based on the choices from the first two steps they create an overall mental model. 4. Resolution: Based on the reasoning the decision is made.

In integrative thinking models are made rather than to choose between them. The models consist of consideration of numerous variables like customers, competitors, employees, capability, cost, environments. The models should capture the complicated, multi-faceted and multidirectional casual relationships between the key variables in the problems. We should consider the problem as a whole not break it into small parts and look after the small parts. The different aspects of the issue are looked to find how they connect together and influence each other.

Integrative thinking involves solving the tension among competing alternatives producing innovative solutions. Common Sense tends to filter information and oversimplifies the problem leading to ignorance of the important features and adopting short paths based on assumptions not on current facts. The thinker who responses to an issue by thinking it is just common sense will not effectively identify the issue or identify the cause of challenge. Common sense assist integrative thinkers to access facts sort them and base the choice on practices gained from experience (Snowden and Boone, 2007).

It also supports integrative thinkers in decision making in complex issues as experience is used to analyse the circumstances and then thinkers develop a response that is derived from their area of knowledge or expertise. The result of the use of common sense produces decisions heavily based on intuition, which may not address all the facts and issues on the problem. It will create overconfidence and oversimplification of the problem and may not produce a perfect decision to address all the issues of the problem. Conclusion From the discussion above I can say that Common Sense and Integrative hinking are connected to each other. In every complex decision Common sense and Integrative thinking have their own important role. If Common sense is considered properly it enhances the integrative thinking. Common Sense seems to be an important part or factor for a better integrative thinking. But we should not depend on Common Sense alone as it limits the knowledge and areas of the issues so may not give a perfect decision for the current situations. Therefore it should be taken as an important part of integrative thinking and should be integrated at the first stage of the integrative thinking for a perfect decision.

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