Perceived use of thinking skills in customer service aspects of banking
Magee, Robert Coleman
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The purpose of this study was to identify instances when workers in a business environment used thinking skills, including creative thinking, decision making, and problem solving in a manner that was beneficial and to examine how they perceived they acquired thinking skills. Twenty-seven banking employees from nine branches were interviewed using the behavioral event interview method. The nine branches represented three banks operating in Virginia. At each branch, a manager, a new account representative, and a teller were interviewed. The behavioral event interview method was selected as it has been a successful tool in both industrial and educational settings. Additionally, its purpose is to identify competencies necessary to do a given job well. The tape recorded interviews were transcribed and yielded a total of 55 behavioral events. The events were reviewed and instances of creative thinking, decision making, problem solving, and combinations of the three were identified and coded according to definitions presented in the study. Sixty-two instances of thinking skill use were identified within the events. Instances from the interviews of creative thinking, decision making, problem solving, and combinations of these were presented. Further, two interrelated themes emerged from the instances of thinking skill use. The first theme involved the generation of new ideas, determining the best alternative, implementing an alternative, or a combination of these in order to generate business or sales for the bank. The second theme involved the generation of new ideas, determining the best alternative, implementing an alternative, or a combination of these in order to solve a known problem. This study revealed that the interviewees did not receive formal thinking skill preparation from education or work training programs. They attributed most of their thinking skill development to experience. Outcomes of this study can be used to teach thinking skills by the infusion approach, the most commonly used method for teaching these skills. It relies on the skills being taught in real-life contexts.
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