Thursday, March 21, 2013



Recently, I shared with a friend of mine some of an announcement I had made to an undergraduate class that I taught. During his review, this friend noted that much of what I said, regarding critical thinking, seemed very similar to what I had written to his class in the Doctor of Strategic Leadership program at Regent University. To this, he asked: "what differences exist then, between Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral level requirements." In my immediate reply, I answered something like: "when it comes to critical thinking: no differences should exist." I believe that. A few standard models of "critical thinking" exist. As long as graduates can display the appropriate use of any of those models, then they could ostensibly establish provable positions and hold their own in defending those positions. The model that I typically propose includes: positing 1 conclusion, based on 2 or 3 premises, each of which the given apologist supports with empirical evidence. Although some differences in personal experience would likely provide for different quality proofs, the option exists for nearly everyone to draw on the experiences of other people, as they have addressed similar questions and challenges in their own lives.

So what differences do exist between professional (organizational leadership) Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral level degrees, if not in the ability to think critically? Although exceptions exist, from my perspective, these general guidelines apply:

  • Bachelors know the major theories and constructs of leadership, along with supporting concepts; and they can explain and defend the appropriate and inappropriate uses of each, based on empirical results.



  • Masters know the major theories and constructs of leadership, along with supporting concepts. They can explain and defend the appropriate and inappropriate uses of each, based on empirical results. Additionally, they can successfully apply associated leadership techniques for their given organizational structures, as required.



  • Doctors know both major and minor theories and constructs of leadership, along with supporting concepts. Through research and consulting, they discover empirical results that support (or fail to support) the appropriate and inappropriate uses of each. Additionally, they can succesfully identify and apply associated leadership techniques for just about any given organizational structures, as required.


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