Applied Problem Solving In The Workplace

23-06-17 cheapnisha 0 comment

Structure and content of the module

Applied Problem Solving In The WorkplaceThe module learning is structured around five main areas or themes:

Theme A         Approaches to problem solving

Theme B         Working on a real life problem

Theme C         Evaluating progress and dealing with operational issues

Theme D         Values and ethical issues

Theme E         Review of learning


Topic 1 Introduction to complex problem solving

A complex problem is one that involves some or all of the following factors:relatively large numbers of people

  • people from different teams, organisations, countries
  • a change in attitude
  • significant changes in organisational systems and structures
  • fuzzy boundaries to the problem
  • a large number of decisions
  • technical novelty
  • large amounts of information
  • a turbulent external environment
  • unknown or unpredictable factors 

Activities 1a and 1b are designed to facilitate thinking about what makes a complex problem complex. You need to demonstrate your understanding by describing the characteristics and complexities of two sets of four examples from your own observations; firstly from a global perspective and secondly from the perspective of your organisation. Look to include citations where possible to ensure academic rigor.

Suggested Activity One Reading – Identifying Complex Problems

Resource One


Journal Fisher, A., Greiff, S. and Funke, J. (2012) The process of solving complex problems. The Journal of Problem Solving, 4(1) 19-42

LOG3090M                                                                ENM3091M                                                            LOG3091M  


Activity 1a Identifying complex problems

We start this study of problem solving by thinking about real-life complex problems.  Some examples might be hospital waiting lists, changing the culture of an organisation, or moving a manufacturing plant from one country to another.

You should note your ideas on the table below.

1 2 3 4
Identified complex problems (brief details)
Characteristics of the problems


Why are these problems considered complex rather than simple?

 Activity 1b Identifying complex problems in your organisation

What are the current problems in your organisation?  Spend a few moments thinking about current problems that have a major impact on your organisation.  Identify the problems and think about their characteristics.  Why do you think they are complex rather than simple problems?