Practicing Decision Making: Using Flowcharts with Twenty-First-Century Marketers

By Pamela M. H. Kwok and Paula Hodgson.

Published by The International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 29, 2017 $US5.00

The capability of rational decision making is imperative for future marketers, who will influence the competitiveness of an organization in the twenty-first century. This involves key transferable skills, including problem-solving, communication, critical thinking, and leadership. To build such a capability, educators can consider using a decision-making model with flowcharting to allow students to practice critical thinking and problem-solving skills. This decision-making model is comprised of six steps: (1) identify the problem, (2) generate alternatives, (3) evaluate alternatives, (4) choose an alternative, (5) implement the decision, and (6) evaluate the decision’s effectiveness. This logical approach using a decision-making model serves as a “way of thinking” in preparing future marketers. With regard to this study, students were required to follow steps one to four to complete their group projects. This article reports on a case study of ninety students studying service marketing during their final year in a college in Hong Kong. Using the decision-making model, these students had to think carefully to conduct a step-by-step evaluation of all possible alternatives before finalizing their decisions. Furthermore, students were required to consider some practical issues, including factors such as time and budget, when recommending the most suitable solution to problems identified in a real-life situation. Primary data were collected through student group projects that explored possible solutions to authentic, critical incidents involving customer complaints and used a decision-making model to recommend the most suitable way to resolve such complaints. The structure of observed learning outcome (SOLO) taxonomy was used to examine the decision-making capability of the group project outputs. Three student group projects covering three types of core service failure in marketing were selected for this study. In addition, student perception of collaborative problem-solving skills for completing group projects in the survey was collected and discussed as a way of practicing in the business sector.

Keywords: Twenty-First-Century Skills, SOLO Taxonomy, Chinese Marketing Students

The International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 29, 2017 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 624.445KB)).

Dr. Pamela M. H. Kwok

Division Head, Division of Business, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong Community College, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China

Dr. Paula Hodgson

Professional Consultant, Centre for Learning Enhancement and Research, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, Hong Kong