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Rational Versus Organic Approach to Problem Solving


A person with this preference often prefers using a comprehensive and logical approach similar to the guidelines in the above section. For example, the rational approach, described below, is often used when addressing large, complex matters in strategic planning.

Define the problem.
Examine all potential causes for the problem.
Identify all alternatives to resolve the problem.
Carefully select an alternative.
Develop an orderly implementation plan to implement that best alternative.
Carefully monitor implementation of the plan.
Verify if the problem has been resolved or not.
A major advantage of this approach is that it gives a strong sense of order in an otherwise chaotic situation and provides a common frame of reference from which people can communicate in the situation. A major disadvantage of this approach is that it can take a long time to finish. Some people might argue, too, that the world is much too chaotic for the rational approach to be useful.


Some people assert that the dynamics of organizations and people are not nearly so mechanistic as to be improved by solving one problem after another. Often, the quality of an organization or life comes from how one handles being “on the road” itself, rather than the “arriving at the destination.” The quality comes from the ongoing process of trying, rather than from having fixed a lot of problems. For many people it is an approach to organizational consulting. The following quote is often used when explaining the organic (or holistic) approach to problem solving.

“All the greatest and most important problems in life are fundamentally insoluble … They can never be solved, but only outgrown. This “outgrowing” proves on further investigation to require a new level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest appeared on the horizon and through this broadening of outlook, the insoluble lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms, but faded when confronted with a new and stronger life urge.”
From Jung, Carl, Psychological Types (Pantheon Books

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