Pragmatic Performer

The Pragmatic Performer proceeds as if goal is to come to a well-founded conclusion based on objective comparisons of viable alternatives.

Key Indicators

Overall approach to open-ended problems:

  • Proceeds as if goal is to come to a well-founded conclusion based on objective comparisons of viable alternatives

Major improvements over Perpetual Analyzer:

  • After thorough exploration, consciously prioritizes issues and information
  • Articulates well-founded support for choosing one solution while objectively considering other viable options
  • Conclusion based on qualitative evaluation of experts' positions or situational pragmatics

Common weaknesses:

  • Does not address value-added possibilities
  • Does not seek or embrace change
  • Conclusion does not give sufficient attention to long-term, strategic issues
  • Inadequately identifies and addresses solution limitations and “next steps” in a cycle of continuous improvement

Approach to Reasoning

The Pragmatic Performer exhibits the skills associated with Steps 1, 2, and 3 (prioritize alternatives and implement conclusions), but she does not consistently exhibit adequate Step 4 skills. She explores a problem from different perspectives as thoroughly as time and other resources permit (Step 2). She then articulates and weighs a variety of factors as she looks across available options and endorses one as most viable. For example, she recognizes tradeoffs across perspectives when deciding how to vote on a political issue or when interpreting a work of literature. In implementing her conclusions, she carefully prioritizes information for particular audiences, addressing their different concerns in a reasonable manner. Her primary weakness is in coordinating her skills into an efficient, ongoing problem solving process that constructs new knowledge and optimizes decisions over time.1

Mental Blocks

To become a better critical thinker, the Pragmatic Performer must overcome the following biases:

  • Points of view about specific situations may be judged as better than others only in a very tentative way based on one’s evaluations of experts’ positions or the pragmatics of the situation at hand
  • There are no generalized principles and procedures that can be used to further investigate one’s resolution to the problem
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