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The following guest blog is provided by Dr Claire Moxham, Director of Studies for the online MBA programme at the University of Liverpool Management School and a Senior Lecturer in Operations Management.

Today’s fast-paced competitive business environment is characterised by change and innovation. Organisations need to understand and respond to ever increasing customer demands, to develop agile supply chains and to mitigate risk. Decision making is often equally fast-paced, with little time to gather evidence and to consult with colleagues. The desire to reach consensus in the shortest possible time seems to have reduced our appetite for debate and deliberation. Within this rapid fire environment, there are countless examples of the phenomenon known as ‘groupthink’ – whereby the fear of challenging the views of colleagues overrides a critical evaluation of possible alternatives. From retail stores to airlines, groupthink almost always results in failure. Why, when we have seen the consequences of poor decision making, do we not give ourselves the opportunity to stop and think?

Now, more than ever, the ability to challenge the norm (be it business models or accounting practices) is of vital importance. Examining alternatives from a range of viewpoints in order to critically appraise the situation is essential to business success.

In my view this is where the online MBA from the University of Liverpool comes in. I see critical thinking and reflection as the cornerstones of the programme. We have designed the programme so that from day one you will have the opportunity to engage with current research and will be encouraged to apply theory to critique current business practice. The online approach allows you to study in a truly international environment where you will debate and discuss with your tutor and your peers. You will be encouraged to challenge existing business practices and will bring your own experience to the programme. I see the online MBA as a learning journey. I believe that it will allow you to develop your critical analysis skills, build on your experience and expose you to tools, techniques and approaches that you can apply in practice. And above all, I feel it will give you the opportunity to stop and think.

But don’t just take my word for it. Can I ask our MBA students: how have you applied what you have learned to practice? Let me know by leaving a comment.

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