Problem Solving

Topics: Decision making, Decision theory, Decision making software Pages: 20 (1995 words) Published: March 2, 2013


Ana Iqbal Mirajkar
Bahria University



The aim of this study was to see the effect of the type of setting on problem solving. It was assumed that the time taken in group setting will be less than the time taken in individual setting and that there would be more correct responses in group setting than in individual setting. The sample was taken conveniently from Bahria University, 36 participants were taken from the fourth semester and divided into two settings individual and group setting. All participants were given the same task i.e. they had to draw and cut six particular shapes of particular size in 15 minutes. The results were analyzed by using percentages and mean. The findings of the results indicated that mean time of group setting was more than that of individual setting. It was further noticed that in group setting there were more correct responses that in individual setting. Key words: individual setting, group setting, decision making style, time pressure, problem solving



Perception is the conscious mental registration of a sensory stimulus (Dorland). Time pressure is not having enough time to do the entire things one has to do. Perception of time pressure in this experiment was experienced by the participants in individual setting as being too less the first time, whereas the second time it was a lesser looming thought. Individual setting is where individually work is done and goals accomplished whereas in group setting is where a group of individuals perform together to achieve a particular goal. Previous researches on group versus individual setting have revealed that group performance was often quantitatively superior to the performance of individuals, for example, number of correct solutions (Marquart, 1955, Shaw, I932) Recording findings of two settings can provide researchers a standardized basis to compare their data as the same research can be analyzed considering the various effective factors.

A problem, from an information-processing perspective, consists of sets of initial states, goals states, and path constraints (Wood, 1983). Solving a problem means finding a path through the problem space that starts with initial states passing along paths that satisfy the path constraints and ends in the goal state. Problem-solving is a mental process that involves discovering, analyzing and solving problems. The ultimate goal of problem-solving is to overcome obstacles and find a solution that best resolves the issue (Reed, 2000) The steps of problem solving are problem definition, problem analysis, generating possible solutions, analyzing solutions, choosing the best solution and implementing the solution. There are different mental processes involved in problem solving such as perceptually recognizing a problem, representing the problem in memory, considering relevant information that applies to the current problem and identifying different aspects of the problem. In this experiment the problem was to cut six shapes of a standard size out of one sheet of paper only. This was perceived differently by all the participants with regards to how time pressure may interact with other factors such as task type, group structure, and personality to influence team and individual performance. One perspective of decision making styles proposes that people differ along two dimensions in the way they approach decision making. The first is an individual's way of thinking. Some people tend to be rational and logical in the way they think or process information. A rational type looks at information in order and makes sure it's logical and consistent before making a decision. Others tend to be creative and intuitive. Intuitive types do not have to process



information in a certain order but are comfortable looking at it as a whole. The other dimension describes an individual's tolerance for...

References: Bonner, B. L. (2004). Expertise in group problem solving: Recognition, social combination, and
Laughlin, P., Hatch, E., Silver, J., & Boh, L. (2006) Groups Perform Better Than the Best
Individuals on Letters-to-Numbers Problems: Effects of Group Size
Reed, S. K. (2000). Problem solving. Encyclopedia of psychology Volume 8, 71–75.
Robbins, S., Bergman, R., Stagg, I., & Coulter, M, (2006), Foundations of Management (2nd
Wood (1983), How Does Problem Solving Vary? D
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