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Investigating the cognitive processes in solving management science problems

Cheng, Sheila and Siow, Heng Loke (2010) Investigating the cognitive processes in solving management science problems. International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation 2010 (ICERI 2010). Proceedings. pp. 2332-2341. ISSN 978-84-614-2349-9

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Several studies on cognition processes especially in science and mathematics education (Yingxu Wang, & Chiew (2010): Sa’adah (2004): Lee (2003)) found that differences in cognition processes have an impact on problem solving. However, there was rather less of research of cognitive processes in problem solving conducted in the area of Management Science (MS) or Operations Research (OR). MS/OR is characterized by its broad applicability, from health care to logistics to financial services; and by a wide variety of career opportunities and work styles it embraces. This study investigated the cognitive processes of Malaysian undergraduate business degree students (MUB students) in solving the ill-structured (the nature of the problem does not give any particular hint on the pattern of approach) and well-structured (problems which are well- defined and give clear goals for problem solvers to assess them in a logical manner) MS/OR problems. By investigating the similarities and differences of how students approach the ill-structured and well-structured MS/OR problems, successful and unsuccessful problem solvers are identified. Further investigation was conducted to probe the roles of problem solving in well-structured and ill-structured problems on individual decision making. The Group Embedded Figure Test (GEFT) developed by Witkin, Oltman, Raskin & Karp (1971) has been used to analyze the MUB students’ cognitive processes. In terms of solving MS/OR problems, the problem structuring methods have been used for ill-structured problems, while linear programming was used for well-structured problems. In-depth observations and interviews were conducted on eight willing participants. Results of the study reveal that performance of well-structured problems is independent from the ill-structured problems. However, there were differences in the cognitive processes of solving well-structured and ill-structured problems. Results of the study also found that approaches to solving well-structured and ill-structured problems influence the individual’s decision making outcomes. Arising from the findings, an algorithm has been proposed in an attempt to improve the cognitive processes of students in solving MS/OR problems as well as the quality of decision making. The findings have implications for the development of effective MS/OR related subjects.

Item Type: Journal
Uncontrolled Keywords: Problem solving; Cognitive processes; Management science; Operations research
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Divisions: School of Management
Depositing User: Aida Rashidah Maajis
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2017 09:05
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2017 09:05

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