Developing Critical Thinking

Be able to critically assess own beliefs, attitudes and value systems THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BELIEFS, VALUE AND ATTITUDES Beliefs, attitudes and values are three little words that have and make a massive impact on who we are as individuals, who we are as people, and even how the world is viewed by ourselves and others. A belief is something that individuals or groups think, such as believing in a god. Where a Value would be the living life in the ways a religion expects, this value will be made from the belief that the person or group has in their God.

The attitude towards this would be the feelings, beliefs and behaviour tendencies towards this, for example praying, reading the holy book, towards others that do not believe or have a different set of morals or beliefs etc. Values To me a value is a principle, a standard or even certain qualities that individuals, people or even groups hold. These values/principles are one of if not the most important things. These values/principles help to guide us a people and individuals. By guide I mean how we live our lives, what we base our decisions on.

A Value is usually produced via a belief. This belief would normally be related to worth of an idea or a particular type of behaviour. For example I see great value in always being polite, however somebody that has always got what they wanted or have had a different up bringing may not place very little or any value on being polite. These values can influence our decision making and often the support we give our clients. In a work or professional environment as individuals we should ensure that we do not try to influence our customers decisions based on our values.

As individuals we build our values from various sources and life experiences, these can be influenced by family, friends, workplace, educational facilities, life events such as death, financial issues. Religion, music etc. You do also have dominant values; these values are normally widely shared amongst groups, communities, religion or family. Although these dominant values are exactly that, the same dominant value may not be as important to another group or society. Belief

A belief as previously stated can help or lead to a specific value, these beliefs usually come from real life experiences, but as individuals we often forget the original experience is not the same as what is currently happening now. For example I Believe that Tottenham Hotspur is the best football team in the world, this is based on falling in love with the team in the early 1980’s. Realistically though over recent years Tottenham struggled even being in a relegation battle. This shows that there were at least 19 teams better than them. It does not however change my belief that they are the best football team.

Our beliefs and values make a massive impact on our lives they can affect how we are perceived, they can affect the quality of our work and even impact on all our relationships family and friends. Rightly or wrongly as individuals we all tend to believe that our beliefs are based on reality when actually in reality our beliefs are based on past experiences. Beliefs actually start to govern what and how we experience things such as watching a football game, or even working, these beliefs that we hold as individuals and groups though can make up part of our identity, who we are and how we live our lives and therefore are very important.

Attitude Attitude we all have it, and we all claim to know someone with a bad attitude. What is an attitude whether it is good or bad or even indifferent. The word “attitude” can refer to a lasting feeling, belief and behaviour tendencies directed towards specific people, groups, ideas or even objects. An attitude tends to be a belief about something, it usually describes what we as individuals deem as being correct (positive) or incorrect (negative) way of doing something.

For example my attitude towards people who steal is one of contempt is a negative attitude. As far as I am concerned I have no sympathy for them or remorse if they get caught. That said the thief maybe a first and one time offender and has other issues I do not know about so my attitude towards that is based on a very stereotypical generalisation, as it is something I would not do. However the fact that I would not do it shows that my attitude toward not stealing is a positive one.

It is possible though that our own attitudes can be so strong that we become ignorant to other peoples values, opinions and needs. A strong attitude is often referred to as a value, where as an attitude with little significance or importance, are often described as opinions. Beliefs, values, attitudes and the impact on my behaviour. There are just several beliefs, Values and attitudes that I hold that impact on my behaviour, not just to the way I act towards my everyday tasks, but also the way I act around my team and my customers/clients and suppliers.

The first is manners, I believe that people should treat others the way they wish to be treated themselves, so regardless of the situation I am always polite, courteous and professional in my approach. The value I hold regarding customers and clients, they are king and without them there would be no us as a company. I believe my team are the most important factor within our branch, so they are consulted about any major decisions we implement, just because I think it is a great idea to change something doesn’t necessarily mean that it is, after all my branch and team is only as good as its weakest member.

This sometimes can lead to be seen as a push over boss however my attitude to this is the work has to be done first and foremost, if it is not done correctly then I will speak to the people on a one to one and find out why, it may be that the individual needs a little extra training and therefore I have let them down by not ensuring they have the correct tools to do the job.

That said if there is no reasonable explanation I will address the issue and deliver direct instructions, these will always be fair but very firm, again if everyone else is doing a task one way then everyone should do it too I am very big on Team work, and being part of a team. So depending on the situation my behaviour changes from nice get on with everybody, to almost a dictator if work isn’t being carried out correctly.

I am never rude or impolite as I would not want to be treated that way, I listen to what others have to say before making a decision and where possible I will base a decision on others feedback as opposed to my own opinions, beliefs, attitudes or values. Be able to critically assess the validity of management theories in relation to own beliefs, attitudes and values. There are two management theories I find relevant to my role, the first of these is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

This theory was developed by Abraham Maslow in the 1940’s -1950’s in the USA, this theory is still very much used today in understanding human motivations, any human motivation or lack of has an impact on the individuals attitudes, beliefs and values. The Maslow theory was originally a five stage model which is more than adequate for its purpose today and is still used by many. The current model can have as many as 8 stages and was developed by others based on Maslow’s work. It can be argued that the stages 6,7 and 8 of the current model were encapsulated in Maslow’s original model in stage 5, which is Self-actualisation. Maslow’s original model (5 stage model) Maslow theory pyramid graph from Wikpedia.com

This theory is relevant to my role as it helps to get an understanding of people’s behaviour varies, what motivates them, which can lead to letting me know what some of their beliefs and values are and even attitudes. For example if the individual perceives that they are being treated unfairly at home (Biological and Physiological Needs) the individuals attitude may be brought into the work place and they may not have the same values as myself and their attitude towards other members of the team, clients or even suppliers may change dramatically, which in turn effects the individuals behaviour.

The self-actualisation is very useful for me in my role as it allows me to understand myself, If I am having a bad time at home, or things are not going the way I would like or people do not hold the same beliefs, values and attitudes as I do I take a step back and look at everything from a third persons point of view as it is not the teams, customers, suppliers fault my day is not going to plan, it allows me then to choose how I approach the day and to stand by my more positive beliefs, values and attitudes as opposed to the negative ones I may have been feeling.

The other theory that I find relevant to my role is the psychological contract theory, it is shown below on a Vena diagram. PC= PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTRACT-hidden/unspoken, unwritten and takes into account relationship references (r) VC=VISIBLE CONTRACT-usually written, contractual agreement between parties, pay, hours, holidays etc. R=relationship between employee and market, and employer and market. This theory is fast becoming extremely relevant in the workplace regarding relationships with the workplace and even wider than that the human behaviour within a workplace.

This theory was first recognised in the 1960’s, most notably by behavioural theorists Chris Argyris and Edgar Schein. The psychological contract theory usually refers to the relationship between an employer and its employees, and specifically concerns the mutual expectations of inputs and outcomes. These both have an effect on each individual’s beliefs, values and attitudes within the work place. The psychological contract theory is usually seen from the standpoint or feelings of employees, however for this to be fully appreciated it has to be understood by both parties.

This theory is basically the fairness or balance perceived by the employee, for example how the employee is treated by the employer and also what the employee puts into a job. Both of these ultimately show values, beliefs and the attitude of the employees but it also shows an insight into them for the employer, as the employer may believe that the way the employees are treated is fair but the employees see it as unfair.

The way that this theory is understood and applied to our relationships, inside and outside of work essentially defines our humanity, for example, Respect, Compassion, Trust, Empathy, Fairness and Objectivity. This theory is relevant in my role as it allows me to understand what effect my actions as a manager/ employer have on the attitudes, beliefs and values of my employees or team. It allows me to assess my own beliefs, values and attitudes and decide if they are having a positive or negative effect on the team, customers/suppliers. MY BELIEFS, VALUES AND ATTITUDES IMPACT ON THE MASLOWS HIERACHY THEORY.

My beliefs, values and attitudes impact on this theory in different ways the first stage of biological and psychological needs, my attitude towards these are varied, I believe that although all of these are important within peoples’ lives I believe that these should not be brought into work. I believe that if you have a crises then approach me and we can deal with it, however if it is down to a little row at home, or not getting the cuddles you require then these issues should not impact on your work, I believe these should stay at home.

My attitude towards these is I keep my work and private lives separate. The next stage on this theory is the Safety needs; I believe that this is one of the most important areas within the workplace, ensuring that the employees, customers and the visitors to the site are always safe. My Attitude towards this is that these are a must and not a choice. My values, beliefs and attitude towards this stage make this a high priority than maybe another stage within the Maslow hierarchy theory.

The next stage within this theory is the belongingness and loved stage, relationships outside and inside work. My belief is that everybody likes to be liked or loved. So I treat everybody the way I wish to be treated. My attitude towards this stage is that I want to be liked and loved and may leave me at times to being a little lenient on people or members of the team. The fourth stage of this theory is Esteem, this encapsulates, reputation, achievements etc. I believe that all of these need to be enhanced and that it can only be done by hard work.

My attitude towards this stage is that I want to be the best at whatever I do so I strive to excel, so the impact I have with this stage is very goal driven to keep getting better and always enhancing my reputation by proving and showing what I am capable of. The final stage to this theory is the self-actualisation, my belief, values and attitude impact this stage the most, because I always want to improve, I not only see this stage as a self-analysis on myself on how I can get better and how I can learn, but it also allows me to analyse myself and the effect that I have on the people around me.

HOW SOMEONE ELSE MAY INTERPRET THE THEORY The beliefs, values and attitudes on others will be different to those I have and in turn they will interpret the Maslow hierarchy theory differently for example, the first stage could be seen as a reason to be grumpy with everyone at work because they did not get a cuddle at home before they left for work.

The second stage on the theory is the safety needs, the beliefs, values and attitude towards this can vary massively, it can be age, experience related for example some people attitudes would be that it is not necessarily important as their attitude is I have been doing this job for twenty years and never had an accident, now they are trying to tell me how I should do my job etc.

The third stage belongingness and loved, the employee beliefs may be that they only come to work to earn money, they could interpret this stage as being a way to try a soften them up or even as a way for people to find out about their private etc. This would signify an attitude of distain (what’s it got to do with them) The fourth stage of this theory the esteem stage, with somebody who has different beliefs, values and attitudes different to mine may impact on this stage of the theory, by interpreting it as the way for progression within the company is who you know not what you know or how you do.

Finally, the last stage of this theory the self-actualisation, somebody with a different beliefs values and attitudes to me may impact on this theory as a load of nonsense, they may have the attitude that they already know everything so they can’t grow anymore, this would make one of the most important stages in the Maslow Hierarchy theory irrelevant to a person with that belief, value or attitude.