Critical Thinking for Business Students, 3e

Linda Dyer     

Captus Press, ISBN 978-1-55322-390-0 (2019)
132 pages, 260 g, 7 X 10, $23.75 (US$23.75)

With the introduction of the World Wide Web in 1991, the way of information distribution has been completely transformed. Today, through unchecked search engines and social media, not only do we receive the “accurate” information we seek, we also receive misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation. In this Internet age of information, critical thinking skills have become “an essential life skill”.

Critical Thinking for Business Students, 3e teaches basic critical thinking concepts and skills that students can apply to their readings.

Critical thinking skills are the primary tools that the students will use to analyse the business texts. The central concepts are claims (including causal claims), evidence, underlying assumptions, techniques of persuasion and writing persuasively.

  • Claim: Main point of a text
  • Evidence: Information presented in support of claim
  • Underlying Assumption: Belief or value that links evidence to claim
  • Techniques of Persuasion: Use of language and style to present an argument
  • Successful Writing: Brief guide to writing essays

Students need to understand these concepts and to learn how to use them to perform critical analysis of texts. The major goal is to develop the student’s ability to judge the worth of an argument. Another desired outcome is that students should be able to develop strong, defensible arguments of their own. Ultimately the aim is to foster active, independent thinking in students, rather than blind acceptance of whatever they read or hear.

What’s new in this edition:

  • Evidence-Based Management: Beyond supporting the claims made in our writing, there is another important area in which attention to the quality of evidence is paramount in this Internet age of information where real information is mixed with misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation. Good evidence is needed for successful managerial decision making.
  • Templates: The introduction of writing templates is a valuable addition to this edition since it helps students apply the critical thinking skills they are learning. The templates familiarize the students with phrases that they can use when making a claim, introducing or explaining a quotation, expressing agreement or disagreement, evaluating underlying assumptions or when dealing with objections to an argument.
  • Writing Exercises: The role of writing in critical thinking is succintly summarized by E.M. Forster: “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” In this third edition, new writing exercises are added in each chapter to stimulate critical thinking and to help students to develop strong and persuasive writing skills - reinforcing the interplay between thinking and writing (writing helps thinking and thinking leads to good writing).

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
    Evidence-based management*

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 an Effective Essay
    First steps
        • Why do you care?
        • What are your initial beliefs?
        • Ensure that your evidence is sufficient and representative
    Secondary sources
        • Ensure that your evidence is authoritative
        • Read your secondary sources critically; take good notes as you read
        • Paraphrase the evidence; find a few (a very few) good quotations for precision
    Conduct interviews when possible
    Organize your ideas
    Think about your intended audience
    Writing and revising
        • Write the first draft
        • Revise your text
        • Check for accuracy
    Images enhance the clarity of your essay
    “Writing to change the world”

* Indicates content new to the third edition

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 Chair & 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 businesses) 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.