The Concept of Problem-Solving
The concept of problem-solving comprises a sequence of actions that fit together depending on the type of problem and the decision-making process. Problems are always at the center of every activity that people do on a daily basis. Various problems occur on the business and personal levels hindering operational process and progress. A fundamental process of every manager is seeking ways to solve the problems in the most efficient way. Having a strong problem-solving technique can make a very huge difference in a person's life. This skill helps solve a problem in a logical and organized manner.
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Identifying and defining a problem are the initial processes of solving its cause. To do it, a person needs to decide on their objective and goal, and write them down. Writing the problem down forces a person to think about what he/she actually wants to solve and achieve (Mackall & J.G. Ferguson Publishing Company, 2004). In Scenario 2, the problem involves my school-going kid coming home with an assignment sheet for the school project. The kid is very excited and does research on the Internet gathering materials for the project, but I notice that she skips a few items on the project list. I have an idea how to improve the quality of her presentation, but from what I have recently read in the article, there is a need to allow kids to develop the responsibility for their own learning, which has not been the case with my parents. The dilemma is that on the following day I have met the parent of my child's classmate shopping for supplies for the science project and even taking a day off to assemble the pieces for his kid. My objective is to teach my child to be responsible on her own rather than involving myself in her every learning activity. That way, I will teach her how to be a responsible learner, a citizen, and a better person in society.
The next step is checking our current position and analyzing what has contributed to the problem (Bolland & Fletcher, 2011). In this case, the problem lies in choosing whether to help my kid in preparing her school project presentation or leaving her to do the work on her own showing how to be a responsible learner. Understanding where the problem comes from and how the solution fits the current situation is crucial in determining whether the solution will work.
Generating Possible Solutions
The next step after discovering a real problem and understanding the environment, which the solution must fit, is to generate several possible options. At this stage, I will concentrate on developing multiple solutions without actually evaluating them. Some of the options, in this case, are outlined below:
(i) Advise her and provide necessary financial support to prepare the project assignment.
(ii) Advise her, buy necessary materials and take a day off at work to help her do the preparations.
(iii) Avoid getting involved in preparing the project assignment and let her take full responsibility.
(iv) Advise her on the procedure and let her do the rest by herself using instantly available materials.
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Analyzing the Solutions
This section analyses each solution and investigates various factors that may support or hinder potential solutions (Mackall & J.G. Ferguson Publishing Company, 2004). The decision-maker is required to write down the good and bad points as well as other things that may be relevant to each solution. However, no evaluation of the potential solution is made at this stage because it may hinder the realization of the unique advantages of each solution. In this case, solving the problem requires one to rearrange solutions in the order of their relevance to the problem.
(i) Avoid getting involved in preparing the project assignment and let her take full responsibility.
(ii) Advise her on the procedure and let her do the rest by herself using instantly available materials.
(iii) Advise her and provide necessary financial support to prepare the project assignment.
(iv) Advise her, buy necessary materials, and take a day off at work to help her do the preparations.
Selecting the Best Solution
In this section, the decision-maker looks at different factors that influence the achievement of each possible solution and decides which solution to pursue or disregard. He/she looks at all available solutions and judges whether to use them or not. In most situations, it is a matter of feelings and intuitions as well as life experiences and personal judgment that help choose a single solution (Sanders, 2009). In this situation, the best solution to the problem is to advise the kid and provide necessary financial support to prepare the project assignment. This course of action will provide a better guideline for achieving the objectives of the problem. In this case, as a parent, I will have provided the kid with the support required to prepare the project assignment as well as avoided getting personally involved in her assignments.
Planning for the Next Course of Action
As Sanders (2009) elaborates, at this stage, the decision-maker outlines the actions he or she intends to take after providing a solution to the current problem. Potential solutions can help in deciding what needs to be done next to reduce the chances of the problem recurrence. Bolland and Fletcher (2011) explain that it is also necessary to consider solving the problems or their causes related to the current situation. In case no viable solutions are identified in the process, the decision-maker needs to go back to re-evaluate the problem and discover more potential solutions. In this case, I will reduce my involvement in child assignments unless help is necessary. This decision will help the kid grow knowing that I will not always be there to do the assignments for her unless my effort is absolutely necessary. Thus, this will motivate her to take active responsibility for her studies.
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The problem-solving process presents various advantages to the decision-makers and gives a strong point of reference to the people involved to communicate the situation. The only drawback of this approach is that it may take a longer time to conclude especially when a large network of decision-makers is involved. Therefore, by following the recommended steps, the decision-maker ensures careful thinking during the problem-solving process, which helps reach the right decision.