The IUP Journal of Soft Skills
From Critical Thinking to Critical Voicing for Impact

Article Details
Pub. Date : Dec, 2020
Product Name : The IUP Journal of Soft Skills
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJSS41220
Author Name : Vickie Cox Edmondson and Jeffrey P Shannon
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Management
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 19



The strategy-making process has traditionally been and perceived as exclusive and limited to a small group of mostly homogeneous decision makers who communicate and interact with each other on a regular basis (Hautz, 2017). However, with the advancement of the knowledge economy, the strategy-making process has opened up, giving knowledge workers throughout the organization an opportunity to impact the process (Smith et al., 2018). Thus, in addition to having technical knowhow and expertise, the ability to positively influence the decisions of a rational person who has a different perspective or stake in outcomes is valuable in a collaborative decision-making process. This paper suggests that the strategy-making process is shaped through learning conversations and information exchanges among knowledge workers. Specifically, a multilayered model with five stages evolving from critical thinking to critical voicing to help knowledge workers influence organizational outcomes and performance is presented. Real-life examples drawn from the authors' working experiences in industry are illuminated.


Critical thinking, communication and interpersonal skills are critical to job performance in the knowledge economy. Critical thinking, a skill that allows workers to weed through data and information has long been perceived as essential to decision making, specifically the strategy-making process. The strategy-making process is used to define and assess strategic issues to decide the course(s) of action/strategies that will be advanced. Decision-making has been described as an incremental activity in which members of an organization move their agendas for strategy forward, step-by-step (Boden, 1994). Mintzberg (2009), as cited in Frisk and Bannister (2017, p. 2078), argued that decision making is not only a process of thinking going on inside the head of the decider but a collaborative process. Thus, not only is critical thinking essential in the process but also the workers must be able to communicate and engage multiple (possibly


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