Title: Problem-solving and incompetence traps in service operations course

Authors: Adelina Gnanlet; Dmitry Khanin

Addresses: Department of Management, Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, California State University at Fullerton, 800 N. State College Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92834, USA ' Rawls College of Business, Texas Tech University, 703 Flint St, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA

Abstract: Problem-based learning through team projects and case analyses is as much an art as it is a science for business students. As novices, students frequently lack critical-thinking and problem-solving skills and consequently fall into incompetence traps that arise due to defective seeing (tunnel vision vs. blurred vision) and defective thinking (loose vs. oblivious thinking), resulting in fallacies of singularity, multiplicity, constraint neglect and context neglect. We argue that instructors, as experts, should help novice students escape from incompetence traps in a way adjusted to specific knowledge domains. We approach incompetence traps in areas of service operations as triggers of particular operational challenges and propose strategies that will help instructors teach students the art of problem solving and enhance their critical-thinking skills in business education.

Keywords: problem solving; critical thinking; service operations management; incompetence traps; management education; fallacies; business education; higher education.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIOME.2013.056002

International Journal of Information and Operations Management Education, 2013 Vol.5 No.3, pp.276 - 295

Received: 14 Jan 2013
Accepted: 17 Jun 2013

Published online: 18 Jul 2014 *

Full-text access for editors Full-text access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article