Checkland on problem solving as learning (Checkland, 1981)

25 October 2010

There are no absolute positions to be reached in the attempt by men to understand he world in which they find themselves: new experience may in the future refute present conjectures. So the work itself must be regarded as an on-going system of a particular kind: a learning system which will continue to develop ideas, to test them out in practice, and to learn from the experience gained.

(Checkland, 1981, p. xii)

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Rationality vs creativity

25 October 2010

Ultimate solutions to problem are rational, the process of findig them is not.

William JJ Gordon.


Goal of problem solving (Ackoff, 1978)

24 October 2010

The solution process is directed at dispelling doubt.

(Ackoff, 1978, p. 12)


Problems are goals (Ackoff, 1978)

18 October 2010

Problem solving, as we have seen, involves the selection of one or more courses of action (means) in the pursuit of one or more objectives (ends). An objective is a desired outcome. Knowing what our objectives are is clearly inportant in problem solving. If others are involved in our problem (and they usually are), it is also important to know their relevant objectives. Finally, it is also clearly of value to understand how their objectives and ours are related.

(Ackoff, p. 19)


Rational problem solving I (D’Zurilla & Nezu, 2006)

13 October 2010

The model identifies four major problem-solving skills: 1) problem definition and formulation, 2) generation of alternative solutions, 3) decision-making, and 4) solution implementation and verification. These four skills may be viewed as a set of specific goal-directed tasks that enable a person to solve a particular problem successfully. Each task has its own unique purpose or function in the problem-solving process. The function of problem definition and formulation is to gather relevant, factual information about the problem, clarify the nature of the problem (i.e., identify demands, obstacles, and/or conflicts), and set a realistic problem solving goal. The purpose of generation of alternative solutions is to produce a list of potential solutions in such a way as to maximize the likelihood that the best solution will be among them. This is accomplished by applying three principles; quantity, deferment of judgement, and variety. To apply the quantity principle, the person generates as many solutions as possible.When using the deferment of judgment principle, the person suspends judgment or critical evaluation of solutions until later in the problem-solving process (i.e., during the decision-making task). To apply the variety principle, the person generates as many different types of solutions as possible.

The purpose of decision-making is to evaluate (judge and compare) the available solutions and choose the best one(s) for implementation in the problematic situation. In the present model, the best solution is the one that is most likely to achieve the problem-solving goal while maximizing positive consequences and minimizing negative consequences. Finally, the function of solution implementation and verification is to assess the solution outcome and verify the effectiveness or utility of the chosen solution in the actual problematic situation.

(D’Zurilla & Nezu, 2006, s. 23)


Rational problem solving II (D’Zurilla & Nezu, 2006)

13 October 2010

Rational problem solving is a constructive problem-solving style that is defined as the rational, deliberate, and systematic application of effective problem-solving skills. As described in the original model, there are four major problem skills: 1) problem definition and formulation, 2) generation of alternative solutions, 3) decision-making, and 4) solution implementation and verification. In problem definition and formulation, the problem solver tries to clarify and understand the problem by gathering as many specific and concrete facts about the problem as possible, identifying demands and obstacles, and setting realistic problem-solving goals (e.g., changing the situation for the better, accepting the situation, and minimizing emotional distress.) In the generation of alternative solutions, the person focuses on the problem-solving goals and tries to identify as many potential solutions as possible, including a variety of different conventional and original solutions. In decision making, the problem solver anticipates the consequences of the different solutions, judges and compares them, and then chooses the best or potentially most effective solution. In the final step, solution implementation and verification, the person carefully monitors and evaluates the outcome of the chosen solution after attempting to implement it in the real-life problematic situation.

(D’Zurilla & Nezu, 2006, s. 25)


Problem solving vs implementation (D’Zurilla & Nezu, 2006)

13 October 2010

Our theory of social problem solving distinguishes the concepts of problem solving and solution implementation. These two processes ae conceptually different and require different sets of skills. Problem solving refers to the process of finding solutions to specific problems, whereas solution implementation refers to the process of carrying out those solutions in the actual problematic situations. Problem-solving skills are expected to vary across situations depending on the type of problem and solution. The range of possible solution-implementation skills includes all the cognitive and behavioral performance skills that might be required for effective functioning within a particular person’s environment.

Because they are different, problem-solving skills and solution-implementation skills are not always correlated. Hence, some individuals might possess poor problem-solving skills but good solution-implementation skills, or vice versa. Because both sets of skills are required for effective functioning or social competence, it is often necessary to combine PST with training in other social and behavioral skills in order to maximize positive outcomes.

(D’Zurilla & Nezu, 2006, s. 14)