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Developing an argumentAn argument is based (predicated) on a premise (the proposition) which sets out the underpinning assumption. There may be more than one proposition
Analytical, critical and consultancy skills305or assumption. It could be phrased something like this: ‘The argument is that A is the case. It is predicated on the assumption that B and C apply.’ In a sense this suggests what conclusion the argument is intended to reach but it also indicates that this conclusion depends on the validity of the assump-tions, which will have to be proved (there are such things as false premises).Justifying an argumentThe argument continues by supplying reasons to accept the proposition or point of view. These reasons have to be supported by evidence which should be based on valid research, rigorous observation, or relevant and verifiable experience, not on hearsay. It involves logical reasoning which avoids the fallacies referred to earlier and requires critical thinking which as described above means coming to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions and testing them against relevant criteria and standards. It also demands critical evalu-ation which, as mentioned earlier, means reflecting on and interpreting data, drawing warranted conclusions and identifying faulty reasoning, assump-tions and biases. Assumptions have to be tested rigorously and research evidence has to evaluated. The check lists set out in the previous section of this chapter can be used for this purpose.Consultancy skillsExternal management consultants who provide advice and help in introduc-ing new structures and systems and solving problems need certain skills to carry out their often demanding jobs effectively. So do internal consultants who carry out a similar role within the organization. The skills required are:●analysis and diagnosis;●problem solving;●critical thinking and evaluation;●interpersonal – establishing and maintaining productive relationships with clients;●interviewing – obtaining information and views from people;●persuading people to adopt a course of action;●case presentation;●written communications, especially report writing;●oral communications – making presentations and leading discussions;●facilitating meetings and group discussions;●planning and running learning and development events;●coaching;●project management.
Management skills306KEY LEARNING POINTSThe processes of problem solving and decision making depend largely on effective analysis, critical thinking and evaluation and the use of consultancy skills.Evidence-based managementEvidence-based management is a method of informing decision making by making use of appropriate information derived from the analysis of HR policy and practices and surveys of employee opinion within the organization, systematic benchmarking and the messages delivered by relevant research.