Critical Thinking for Business Students, 2e

Linda Dyer     

Captus Press, ISBN 978-1-55322-237-8 (2011)
128 pages, 240 g, 7 X 10, $19.50 (US$19.50)

Critical Thinking for Business Students, 2e teaches basic critical thinking concepts and skills that students can apply to their readings.

Different from most critical thinking texts, which tend to focus on social and political issues, this book concentrates on business and is intended for use in undergraduate business courses.

Topics include evaluating an author’s arguments, uncovering underlying assumptions, and understanding why certain texts are more persuasive than others. Classic debates and contemporary issues in various fields of business are used as examples to demonstrate how critical thinking works. Each chapter contains many worked examples and exercises, giving students ample opportunities to practise and develop their own skills and judgment. Students will learn to analyze the various perspectives needed to understand information within everyday business, and the effective techniques of critical thinking will enhance their business writing and interpretation.

Short and succinct, with a simple and direct approach, this book will be the best first tool you could give your students. The techniques they learn will benefit them not only through their years in school but also the years after.

Table of Contents   top


1    What Is Critical Thinking?

“You’re so critical!”

Critical thinking about business

Buyer beware

The sponge

Dimensions of critical thinking

Consider an example

Critical thinking and effective communication

2    Claims

Uncontested claims

Contestable claims

An example

Presenting claims

Writing effectively


3    Evidence

Finding the evidence

Quality of evidence

• Accuracy

• Precision

• Sufficiency

• Representativeness

• Authority

Clarity of expression

A sample analysis

Other objections

Effective writing


4    Underlying Assumptions

Why are they “underlying”?

How to find underlying assumptions

Reality assumptions

Challenging reality assumptions

Value assumptions

Challenging value assumptions

Effective writing


5    Causal Claims

Causal reasoning is natural — and useful

Causal reasoning can be very difficult

Differences between groups

Correlation between characteristics

The post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy

Can we ever be sure?

Experimental research


6    Techniques of Persuasion

A “how-to” approach

Anticipate and counter readers’ objections

Negative evidence

Rival causes

Debatable assumptions

Limit your claims when you have no rebuttal


• Be complete

• Use an appropriate tone

• Be vivid

Effective reading


7    Writing a Persuasive Essay

First steps

Secondary sources


Organizing your ideas

Writing the first draft


Images enhance the clarity of your essay

“Writing to change the world”



Appendix 1 Business Terms and Popular Expressions

Appendix 2 Comprehensive Exercises

Appendix 3 Answers to Selected Exercises



Instructor Resources   top

A comprehensive instructor's manual with lesson plans for each chapter is included. The lesson plans include discussion topics and exercises. PowerPoint slides are also included for each chapter.

Related Resources   top

About the Author   top

Linda Dyer (PhD at Carnegie-Mellon University) is Professor of Management in the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University. She studies the establishment of trusting relationships between the owners of small firms (including ethnic business) and their employees, as well as their professional business advisors. Her research draws on diverse fields, including individual cognition, learning and cognitive biases, the interplay between emotions and cognition, and the organizational impact of demographic diversity, specifically in ethnicity, age, and gender. In addition to authoring Critical Thinking for Business Students, Dr. Dyer has written various book chapters and published in many academic journals, such as the Journal of Small Business Management, Organizational Behavior, and Human Decision Processes, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and the Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship.