Developing Critical Thinking
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Before determining what is the difference between beliefs, attitudes and values. You must firstly acknowledge what they are. Beliefs
The dictionary definition of beliefs is;
An acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof: Something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion: A religious conviction:
Trust, faith, or confidence in (someone or something):
Beliefs are the things that we hold dearest to us, believing that they are true and correct. Most of the time though, there’s no proof or evidence to support these beliefs. The biggest belief in many people’s lives is religion. People’s religious beliefs can vary depending on their faith. Christians believe that God made the world in 7 days, when you die you will go to heaven or hell depending on how you conducted your life and that Jesus died on a cross. Jehovah’s Witnesses base their faith on Christianity but have different beliefs. They believe that when you die there is no heaven or hell and Jesus died on a stake not a cross, that’s why they do not use the cross in their faith.
Personally I don’t have a religious belief and believe in evolution. There are facts and evidence which prove that we have evolved over millions of years. I can’t believe that an unknown being created everything in 7 days, put 2 white people in the jungle and now we have the human race.
The dictionary definition of attitude is;
A settled way of thinking or feeling about something:
A position of the body indicating a particular mental state: Truculent or uncooperative behaviour:
Individuality and self-confidence:
Attitudes are the positive or negative evaluation we make of something. As we grow, learn and experience things as individuals we form attitudes. These attitudes can be about politics, issues, events, people etc. Some people can form strong attitudes about a particular thing as where others may not be positive or negative and may “sit on the fence”. Attitudes can also form our beliefs. As an example, my attitude is that the death penalty should be reintroduced for serious crimes. This forms my belief that if the death penalty was reintroduced then people would think twice about committing these serious crimes.
The dictionary definition of values is;
The regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something: Principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgement of what is important in life:
Values are things which we deem important to us and effect how we conduct ourselves. Values are things such as integrity, loyalty, honesty the environment and much more. Our values can be based on beliefs or formed by our background. Our values can be correct or incorrect when compared to facts, but regardless it’s what we feel is true.
As I have no religious beliefs then I don’t form any specific set of values set out by a religious faith. I value things such as respect, integrity and honesty but these have been formed by my understanding of what is right and wrong. These days we live in a world where right and wrong are not instilled as strongly in certain areas. As a result these values can be lost.
Beliefs are our strongest feelings towards something weather it is right or wrong, fact or speculation. Once we accept a belief then this goes on to form our values and attitudes.
As an example;
The beliefs stated within the Islamic faith may be interpreted differently by people. Two Muslims, both believe in Allah and recite the Qur’an but their values and attitudes may vastly vary. One may value the lives of others and respect others. As a result their attitude would be to resolve matters peacefully and respectfully. The other, may not value the same things and form the attitude that violence and war is the only way to resolve an issue.
Critical Thinking as a Process
AC 1.2 Critically assess the impact of beliefs, attitudes and values on own behaviour
To critically assess the impact of beliefs, attitudes and values on my own behaviour, I have formulated a table to assess the advantage and disadvantages of these.
Belief, Attitude, Value
Dismissive of others views
Arrogant about religion
Direct approach to tasks
Not always understood by others
Unwilling to trust others
Play it safe
Not always supportive
Keeping my word
What you see is what you get
By completing this table with 1 of my beliefs, attitudes and values I feel I can clearly see how my impact on my behaviour as a manger and my personal life.
Before taking on a task I like to have all the factual and relevant data to analyse before making any further judgements. Once I believe I have the correct information I will cautiously proceed to the next stage. Once I believe the task can be completed with the information to hand I will then commit myself to the task until it’s completed.
The task is completed to the highest standard and everything which I said I’d do I’ve done. This no-nonsense direct approach ensures tasks are completed and maintains my integrity.
I don’t take into account no factual information or hearsay which could affect the task. I don’t consider others personal views which are not directly relevant to the task. I can be untrusting of others and not give them an opportunity to develop.
As an individual I am outspoken, direct and unemotional. I believe these can be good behavioural attributes as they allow me to get on and achieve what I want. As a result others see this and follow. I do take into account that not everyone has this approach. I feel though that those who have more emotional and uncertainness behavioural traits tend to follow others than be leaders themselves.
AC 2.1 Identify management theories relevant to your role
Management theories are ideas which are general rules or styles on how to manage a company. These “rules”, “styles” are used by managers or senior staff to acknowledge and achieve the company’s goals by ensuring they encourage and motivate staff to perform.
There are lots of different management theories which can be used relevant to a specific outcome.
Classical Management Theory
Human Relations Theory
Neo-Human Relations Theory
Kurt Lewin Theory
One management theory relevant to my role is the Kurt Lewin Theory Description
Kurt Lewin and colleagues carried out leadership decision experiments in 1939 and identified three different styles of leadership, in particular around decision-making. Autocratic
In the autocratic style, the leader takes decisions without consulting with others. The decision is made without any form of consultation. In Lewin’s experiments, he found that this caused the most level of discontent. An autocratic style works when there is no need for input on the decision, where the decision would not change as a result of input, and where the motivation of people to carry out subsequent actions would not be affected whether they were or were not involved in the decision-making. Democratic
In the democratic style, the leader involves the people in the decision-making, although the process for the final decision may vary from the leader having the final say to them facilitating consensus in the group. Democratic decision-making is usually appreciated by the people, especially if they have been used to autocratic decisions with which they disagreed. It can be problematic when there are a wide range of opinions and there is no clear way of reaching an equitable final decision. Laissez-Faire
The laissez-faire style is to minimize the leader’s involvement in decision-making, and hence allowing people to make their own decisions, although they may still be responsible for the outcome. Laissez-faire works best when people are capable and motivated in making their own decisions, and where there is no requirement for a central coordination, for example in sharing resources across a range of different people and groups.
Within my role I would use all 3 styles of the Kurt Lewin Theory dependant on the task in hand.
I would use the autocratic style when carrying out employee inductions. During the induction process employees are told about subjects like; Health and Safety, code of conduct and how to complete paperwork. These subjects are not negotiable and are set policies of the organisation.
The democratic style would be used when carrying out team meetings. This style gives the staff an opportunity to have input into the meeting and issues raised within the meeting. Their input can used to find solutions or change the organisations methods.
Laissez-Faire would be used within our education section. Staff within this section, have many years’ experience in delivering educational training. Due to their expertise and knowledge they are allowed to freely change and adapt the course content to meet the needs of our clients.
AC 2.2 Critically assess the impact of own beliefs, attitudes and values on a management theory relevant to your role
The theory I’m going to assess myself against is the autocratic theory, as I believe that this theory fits my style of leadership.
I was brought up in a family where you done what you were told and your views didn’t count. Some people can see this as harsh and unsympathetic but I believe it gave me a firm grounding and instilled strength in me. When I joined the army this approach continued, which suited me. In the army you’re taught not to think or question things, you just do what you’ve been ordered to. This is an effect method when you’re managing people in difficult situations with limited time for discussion.
Upon leaving the army I became a manager within a charitable organisation. I had to change my methods slightly to suit the environment at the time. The organisations ethos was based solely on meeting the needs of the community and not so much on the business side. Although the organisation was financially stable at the time, forthcoming financial cuts would impact greatly on the organisation.
As section managers we all made proposals to the board of directors on what we felt was the way forward. My proposals included reducing services in unsustainable areas, redundancies where required and a stronger emphasis on developing parts of the organisation which generated income.
Other managers within the organisation found my approach difficult to support. They felt that involving others, discussing matters and trying to empower others to help us was the way forward. Although I could see it was important to maintain the organisations aims and objectives but preventative measures were required to try and maintain some level of service to the community.
Although my proposals were based on facts, the board of directors felt my approach and management style was to direct. They felt we could resolve things through other methods proposed by other managers. I could not support these proposals from other managers as the majority of their plans was based on hearsay and what ifs. I informed the directors I would continue to manage my section in a manner which I saw fit and relevant to our business nature. They decided to support my views whilst they further explored options made by other managers. Over the next 3 years whilst exploring these options the project declined. This resulted in thousands of pounds being wasted trying to support unsustainable services and the redundancy of 36 staff, 4 of whom who were the section managers who proposed alternate ideas.
Although the organisation has declined in other areas, the section I manage has grown over 75%. The board of directors now acknowledge my proposals would have prevented an organisational decline and in hindsight they should have supported them.
The diagram shows the objective differences between a public and private organisation
The voluntary sector ethos has always been to support the wider community through the means of funding, with an “it will be ok attitude”. Individuals, who have worked within this sector for a number of years, are not always supportive of change when it comes to the voluntary sector ethos. Since 2006 though there has been a stronger push on the voluntary sector to take on public services activities. This push and the decline in funding available for the sector has moved charities more into the commercial sector to maintain operating. As a result, if you’re going to operate in the commercial sector then you’re required to act and think more like the commercial sector. I understand that my approach may have its strengths and weaknesses but felt it was relevant and required during this time. As a person who holds the belief of integrity in high regard, sometimes you have to make the difficult decisions for the greater good.
My information was based on factual, relevant information
My proposals were open and transparent
Done with the organisations interests at heart
Stood by what I believed whilst others questioned
Unsupportive of others views
Distressed others within the organisation
It was felt I did no support the organisation as a whole
AC 2.3 Use the critical assessment to evaluate how someone with different beliefs, attitudes and values might interpret the theory different
Throughout the above process, my colleagues and board of directors felt that this approach did not suit the nature of the organisation, although they did accept times where changing and a firmer approach were required.
At this time I was a junior member of the organisation. I can see that others who had been with the organisation for a number of years prior, found my style different and did not support it. These individuals had always managed by democratic and laissez-faire styles as you would find in the charitable sector.
As income from my section was used to support non-profit making sections, my proposals required this financial support to be reduced. This reduction would have meant cuts to services and redundancies. It would have allowed us though to invest in areas to generate further income which would then be used to support those non-profit making sections. My colleagues did not see it is this way and could not justify making changes for the long term sustainability. They trusted in other organisations securing funding to continue to purchase services from us.
Reflecting on the whole situation now and further experience as a manger I still feel due to the nature of our business an autocratic style fits. Although I have come to learn that you have to sell your views in a manner depending on your target group.
Typical Voluntary Sector Manager
Beliefs, Attitude, Values
Behaviour at work
Beliefs, Attitude, Values
Behaviour at work
Creativity is rewarded
Listen to those with specialist knowledge
Too many opinions can harm a task
Use democratic style for specific tasks
Not always supportive of those who only manage by a democratic style
The democratic style is seen as one of the best leadership styles to motivate staff and create ideas. Although I can relate to this it is also dependant on your environment and the skills of those around you.
Leave people to find out for themselves
Unrewarding for team members
Avoid autocratic people and situations
Unsupportive of autocratic methods
People need a leader
Provide guidance, knowledge and expertise
Give direction and leadership
Due to more in-depth knowledge, skills and expertise I take charge and decide the best course
Those who do use the autocratic style feel this style can be arrogant and unrewarding. Due to the nature of the majority of our business, an autocratic style is required as we are task specific. We have set targets and requirements that are outlined in contracts. Ensuring these targets are met and done to the highest standard I feel can be a reward in itself
Trust those around you
Give people the opportunity
Off loads work to other team members
Pass’s the buck when things go wrong
Trust those around you if they have the relevant skills or expertise I believe in giving people opportunities but setting targets for the to achieve
I entrust those who have the relevant skills to complete tasks on their own Not support of a fully Laissez-Faire Style
I take to responsibility for any failings and don’t pass the buck.
I understand this style being useful where a large company had a research and development type department. Where staff were encouraged to take control and create new ideas. As stated above though we are not that type of organisation and it doesn’t fit what we do