Critical thinking

Assignment 1: Critical Thinking (7 pages, 8 references)

Analyze the business document below (scroll down), applying all 8 steps of the critical thinking framework model discussed in the US Army Management Staff College AMSC Critical Thinking report (citing Dr. Richard Paul model) at  Post this assignment in the assignment folder by the end of week 2.

You are using the 8 step method disseminated by Roy Eichhorn, Strategic Systems Department, Army Management Staff College, in the report entitled, DEVELOPING THINKING SKILLS: CRITICAL THINKING AT THE ARMY MANAGEMENT STAFF COLLEGE in section COMPONENTS OF CRITICAL THINKING AT AMSC.

From the ASMC report: ”

THE AMSC PHILOSOPHY ON CRITICAL THINKING  […] We are often asked why we go to the effort of trying to teach critical thinking; people already know how to think. The first answer to this question is that yes, we all think, but do we do it well and are we able to evaluate the quality of our thinking? […] Dr. Paul responded to this question with the statement that reflects our philosophy: “We are always thinking, the question is, are we in charge of our thinking, or is our thinking in charge of us?”

The following is one of Dr. Paul’s definitions of critical thinking that summarizes our approach:

  • “Critical thinking is the ability to think about one’s thinking in such a way as:
  1. to recognize its strengths and weaknesses and, as a result,
  2. to recast the thinking in improved form.

Such thinking about one’s thinking involves the ability to identify the basic elements of thought (purpose, question, information, assumption, interpretation, concepts, implications, point of view) and assess those elements using universal intellectual criteria and standards (clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, and logicalness).”

In a short paper (7-8 double-spaced pages) apply all of the steps of the critical thinking model to assess the arguments made in the memo.  Include all of the steps. Leaving out discussion of steps will adversely affect your grade.  You must include all 8 of the AMSC steps.  As the final 9th step in the paper, use the content on fallacies in Almossawi, Ali (2013). An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments – to identify any fallacies in the memo. Although not necessary for a passing grade, answers to some of the questions may be enhanced by doing additional research.

Remember that your task here is to evaluate the author’s argument as objectively as possible, not to give your own opinions on the issue.  Be sure to use the analytical points as set out in the critical thinking report, not your own thoughts on the issue.

The citations and the reference list in the paper should be formatted in accordance with the APA guidelines.

This paper is due by 11:59 PM the last day of Week 2.

Objective 2:  Use a critical thinking framework to evaluate alternative courses of actions and reach sound decisions in workplace situations.








Recommendation for Revision of Penn-Mart’s Health Care Strategy

Memorandum to the Board of Directors from Salvador Monella, SVP, Human Resources

August 6, 2016

  1.  Purpose

This memorandum is to update you on our efforts to review and revise Penn-Mart’s healthcare benefits strategy. Last fall the board asked my office to examine what Penn-Mart could do to control the spiraling costs of employee healthcare benefits.  In response to the board’s concerns about unfavorable cost trends, I recently led a team in evaluating Penn-Mart’s approach to benefits, and developing a plan to revise the Penn-Mart healthcare strategy.  We are prepared to share with you a brief, high level overview of our considerations and our final recommendations.  In short, we recommend that Penn-Mart institute a wellness initiative consisting of a mandatory health screening program for all employees enrolled in the company-sponsored health plans.

  1. Findings

Our internal research has showed that wages and benefits make up roughly 40 percent of our annual budget.   Growth in benefits costs is unacceptable and is driven by fundamental and persistent root causes such as an aging workforce with increasing average tenure.   Benefits costs could consume as much as 15 percent of our total profits in 2015.  Employee surveys demonstrate that employees are overall highly satisfied with their benefits.   The least healthy, least productive employees are more satisfied with their benefits than other segments and are interested in longer careers with Penn-Mart.  It is not fair to the young and fit, to allow those who are not to be a drag on earnings.  Our research indicates employees overall are highly opposed to traditional cost-control measures such as higher deductibles for health insurance.

Data from our underwriters indicates that individuals who voluntarily neglect their health account for the greatest impact on the growth in benefits costs.  This group includes smokers, those who do not exercise, and those who defer preventative care.  Therefore we should require preventative care of everyone at Penn-Mart.  The best way to do this is through a mandatory wellness program.   Penn-Mart has for ten years offered wellness programs on a voluntary basis.  Data from our group health underwriters indicates that participation in these voluntary programs peaked at 5% of total FTE’s in 2006.[1]  It is time to get everyone involved.

  1.  Recommendations

Our recommendations are expected to have significant positive impact on the health care cost curve for Penn-Mart.

Our team recommends:

  • That every current benefits-enrolled employee be required to complete biometric health screeningno later than December 31, 2014 at a company-contracted third party medical facility.
    • Biometric screening includes: finger stick blood tests for cholesterol and glucose; weight, height, and waist measurement; and a blood pressure reading.
  • That every current benefits-enrolled employee be required to complete an online health profile.
    • Such profile will collect additional information to provide a more complete picture of employee health (e.g. whether employee smokes, conducts appropriate physical self-examinations).
    • Certify that the employee has had an annual physical examination.
  • That the new initiative be given a friendly name such as “Get Well” to promote employee acceptance of the program.
  • That employees who do not comply with the terms of “Get Well”  be given the options of
    • Pay a $1,000 annual health surcharge; or
    • Decline employer-sponsored health coverage for the following calendar year;
    • Resignation; or
    • Termination.


  1. Discussion

The objective of the “Get Well” program is to make employees more aware of their own health status and to help them identify issues that they could mitigate on their own to become more fit.

The “Get Well” initiative completely aligns with other current public health and fitness initiatives such as Mayor Bloomberg’s ban on large soft drinks and the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign.

There have been numerous research studies on obesity published in scholarly journals such as the Journal of the American Medical Association and the New England Journal of Medicine.

We firmly believe that many Penn-Mart employees want to get fit and that the “Get Well” initiative will provide the necessary incentives for them to take charge of their own wellness.  Giving a blood sample and filling out a survey form is not intrusive or burdensome – these are two things that people do routinely. Those who might oppose “Get Well” are either unfit, or they have something to hide in their medical history.  To quote the famous Charles Darwin, “survival of the fittest” is a natural part of evolution.

“Get Well” will make all Penn-Mart employees feel better about themselves.

These recommendations have been thoroughly researched and represent state-of-the-art in our field.  We are confident in your concurrence.

[1] 2006 was the year of Penn-Mart’s participation in the local Corporate Challenge road race in which some managers chose to consider participation in the race as a minor part of the annual employee performance review process; this initiative was scrapped due to a frivolous legal challenge by those who are not runners.


Be sure to leave enough time for your review of your work and final editing for all necessary corrections.  Post your final paper in Assignments by the due date. 

Deliverable: Submit an analysis of the employee selection and performance appraisal methods used in your workplace or in one with which you are familiar. If you do not have a current employer you may use the provided alternative assignment. One single organization must be used for the entire paper. Thus, whatever organization you use for the hiring analysis must also be used for the evaluation analysis. You are not permitted to use two or more organizations (e.g, one company for application analysis, one government agency for interview analysis, one company for evaluation analysis, etc.). One topic organization is required and it must be used for the entire paper.

Purpose: Employee selection and assessment are important responsibilities for all managers. When done poorly, significant problems can arise for managers, those they supervise, and the organization. This assignment gives you an opportunity to: a) complete a thorough, thoughtful, and objective analysis of the process and methods used for selection and performance assessment in an organization; b) identify strengths and areas that may need improvement; and b) make preliminary recommendations based on your analysis.

Process Steps:

  1. Research: Complete the assigned readings and at least two additional relevant scholarly articles you will use and cite as references in your report.  Simply selecting an “academic article” in a library database does not guarantee the work has benefited from blind review by scholarly experts.Refer to the Recommended Journals List posted in Writing Resources.You should also check the credentials of the authors whose work you are citing and see whether the articles have have been cited by others. You should complete your research in week 8.
  2. Analysis and Diagnosis:

1) Identify and evaluate the dominant methods used in your workplace, or one with which you are familiar, to select people for jobs. Examine whether:

  • The interviews, tests, and/or other selection procedures are reliable and valid.
  • The methods used pose any ethical, legal, or practical issues that could present problems for managers and/or the organization.
  • Methods might need to be adjusted given the increasingly diverse, multicultural, and geographical dispersed workforce.

2) Identify and analyze the performance appraisal program used in your organization. Questions to guide your analysis include:

  • Is the program formally or informally applied? Note that even when there is no formal appraisal system decisions are made about pay, promotions, and terminations and these are generally influenced by an assessment of performance.
  • Are there clearly articulated and well communicated goals for the appraisal? [Note: These may be both the formally articulated goals and those you believe will be important. Offer a brief explanation of and support for each goal, relying where appropriate on insights gleaned from seminar readings.]
  • Is there a relationship between the strategic goals of the organization and standards used for evaluating individual performance?
  • Is there evidence of criterion contamination or deficiencies?
  • Are there measures in place to ensure reliability?
  • Are there any legal issues the organization might want or need to consider? Explain your reasoning. Note that all systems have the potential to introduce ethical and sometimes even legal concerns, in design and/or in implementation.
  • Who is involved in conducting the appraisals (supervisors, self, subordinates, peer, team, customer, all of these) and what are the pros and cons of this approach? Cite references to support your analysis and conclusions.
  • Does the program meet best practice standards for appraisals including training to eliminate common rating errors and ensure sound feedback methods?
  • Which specific method most closely matches the one in use in your organization and what is your support for this conclusion? Refer to Bohlander and Snell for a description of the types of methods used for appraisal.
  • What are the relative strengths and limitations of this method and what are the practical implications for your organization and managers? Note any differences between policy and actual practice and consider why these exist. (Note: Be sure to refer to information gleaned from the work of scholarly experts when undertaking this assessment of the method you are examining. Use Bohlander& Snell to assist in your analysis.)
  • Does the method used limit the organization’s ability to foster diversity and operate effectively in a multicultural global marketplace? Explain and support your reasoning.

3)      Conclusions and Recommendations: Based on your critical analysis, identify changes you believe might be made to improve how your organization manages employee selection and appraisal. Each recommendation must be derived from your research and analysis and must be supported by a well reasoned argument and references to the literature. If you have observed a difference between the stated organizational goals, policies, and what happens in practice you should be sure to address this in your recommendations.

4)      Reflections: Reflect on lessons you take from your analysis as a current or future manager or leader in this organization or industry. Consider the implications for your need to ensure performance and commitment of all those for whom you will be responsible.

5)      Write and submit your report:

  1. a) Word count range = 1,800 to 2,000 words not including cover page, reference list or executive summary.  Points will be deducted if papers significantly exceed the word count limitation.  Be sure to use word count before submitting your paper.
  2. b) Your report should address the above questions and should recognize, integrate, and cite relevant theories, concepts, and ideas from the readings and your research. Include a maximum 250 word executive summary, an introduction, conclusion, and properly APA-formatted list of references.

In the introduction be sure to include a succinct narrative description of your organization and position. You do not need to give the specific name of your organization if you prefer to keep that confidential but you should give sufficient information (for example, the industry and nature of the business) so the context can be understood.

Include page numbers on all pages

c)Submit your final write-up in Assignments by the specified due date

In the W9 area you will find the rubric that will be used to grade your research project.

Please note that because this is an advanced graduate student research project, the quality of your research counts for 15% of the grade. Be sure to incorporate a minimum of two articles from the recommended journal list posted as follows:

Required Readings:

Carpenter &Dunung, Chapter 1 “Effective Selection and Placement Strategies” pages 639 to 648 in Challenges and Opportunities in International Business (v. 1.0)

Chapter 7: “Recruiting, Motivating, and Keeping Quality Employees” in An Introduction to Business (v. 2.0)

Office of Personnel Management, “Assessment & Selection – Designing an Assessment Strategy”

Gale Virtual Reference Library, Encyclopedia of Management “Human Resource Management”

Gale Virtual Reference Library, Encyclopedia of Management “Employee Recruitment Planning”:

Lievens& Chapman, “Recruitment and Selection” in The SAGE Handbook of Human Resource Management

“Performance Appraisal” in  An Introduction to Business (v. 2.0)


Incorporating an article into your paper means more than simply quoting and citing it.  You need to demonstrate that you understand the point the authors are making and can apply their ideas to the unique circumstances of the workplace practices that are the subject of your paper.

Writing and presentation counts for 25% of the grade.  As advanced graduate students, you are expected to understand how to write a research paper with good grammar and attention to citation format.  Part of the presentation also involves adhering to word count limit, which is 2,000 words, not counting the reference list and the cover page.  The word count does not include the 250 word executive summary, but your executive summary should not exceed 250 words.

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