Critical Thinking for Business (online)


You are deploying critical thinking when you use information, experience, observation and reasoning to guide your decisions, actions and beliefs.

Improved analytical competency and emotional intelligence are just two of the by-products of critical thinking. 

Critical thinking combines reflection with knowledge to evaluate and resolve challenges before they become problems. 

Even unexpected problems can be resolved optimally via a critical-thinking approach.  As such, the critical thinking habit is an essential component of successful business. 

An organisation whose members think critically is one which will benefit from improved decision-making capacities whilst avoiding costly mistakes.

Programme details

This course adopts the following intensive structure to make the most of your valuable time. 

Case Studies: Critical Thinking in Business

We present a number of real-life case studies in which critical thinking has led to effective business outcomes.

  • Intellectual Property
  • Music Royalties
  • Market Acquisition

The Criticality Trajectory

We explore best practice in critical thinking via an exploration of our Criticality Trajectory (depicted below).

Auditing Critical Thinking

These three research-backed models of assessing critical thinking are first briefly considered:

1.      The RED (Recognise assumptions, Evaluate arguments, Draw conclusions) model from Pearson's Watson-Glaser II Critical Thinking Appraisal

2.      Halpern’s Critical Thinking Assessment, and

3.      Bloom’s Taxonomy.

These then serve as background knowledge during a practical activity in which participants will actively learn how to undertake a critical thinking audit.

Some common indicators of a deficit in critical thinking are then appraised:

  • An absence of business strategy
  • Rapid changes in business strategy
  • Intra-team conflicts

Signs of a sufficiency of critical thinking are also appraised:

  • Work being completed comprehensively
  • Work done on time
  • Work done to an appropriate standard

The key steps involved in an organisational audit of critical thinking are then considered in detail:

Elements of a Critical Thinking Audit

        i.             Assess a Business Product

This can be virtually anything concrete such as a physical product, a report, or a debrief on an individual or team task.

       ii.            Ask all stakeholders and participants to describe the requirement to the auditor. 

Ideally, this will be done first on a 1-to-1 basis and then in a group.

     iii.            Invite honest judgements on the effectiveness of the product

  • Ask participants to succinctly but accurately describe the product.
  • Ask participants to articulate their approach to creating the product and why they opted for this approach over any alternatives.  (A pivotal point is achieved when participants suggest adjustments to improve their own work.) 
  • Ask whether all necessary elements are present.
  • Ask whether all unnecessary elements have been excluded.
  • Ask whether there should be a hierarchy of importance and, if so, ask whether this has been respected.  (What is the first thing you would mention if you had only 10 seconds to describe the product?  Which element would you support first if you had a limited budget?)

     iv.            Invite honest assessments of the implications of the work

  • What are the implications?
  • Did the work require a recommendation and, if so, was this provided?
  • Was any recommendation substantiated?
  • Do you agree with the recommendation?  If not, do you feel that it is nevertheless defensible?
  • Are there any weaknesses in the recommendation?
  • What are the best alternative recommendations?

      v.             Competencies to Assess

  • Observation
  • Problem solving
  • Team cohesion
  • Communication
  • Open mindedness
  • Tolerance for ambiguity
  • Time efficiency
  • Deduction
  • Inference
  • Retroduction/ abductive reasoning

Insight into Action

The course will end with the creation of a brief initial action plan for improving critical thinking in each participant’s business context.

Dates, times and delivery

The Critical Thinking Skills (online) course will run from 30 January - 8 February 2024 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Each session will be 90 minutes.

These live video sessions will be held over Microsoft Teams at 09:30 – 11:00 (UK time) on:

  • Tuesday 30 January
  • Thursday 1 February
  • Tuesday 6 February
  • Thursday 8 February

A world clock, and time zone converter can be found here:

This is a ‘virtual classroom’ course, and is designed to replicate the experience of a classroom. The sessions are ‘live’ and are not recorded.

No attendance at Oxford is required and you do not need to purchase any software.

Accessing your online course 

Details about accessing the private MS Teams course site will be emailed to you during the week prior to the course commencing.  

Please get in touch if you have not received this information within three working days of the course start date. 

Digital Certification

Participants who attend the full course will receive a University of Oxford electronic certificate of attendance. 

The certificate will show your name, the course title and the dates of the course you attended.

You will be required to attend all of the live sessions on the course in order to be considered for an attendance certificate. 


Description Costs
Course Fee £425.00


All courses are VAT exempt.

Register immediately online 

Click the “book now” button on this webpage. Payment by credit or debit card is required.


Oxford Oracle Ltd

Oxford Oracle

This course will be delivered by team members from Oxford Oracle.

Oxford Oracle is a global firm headquartered in Oxford.  Its consultancy activities focus on Business Strategy, Innovation, R&D, Higher Education and Entrepreneurship.  The Oracle's primary driver is to engage in truly useful innovation whilst forging lasting partnerships.


If you would like to discuss your application or any part of the application process before applying, please click Contact Us at the top of this page.

IT requirements

This course is delivered online using Microsoft Teams. You will be required to follow and implement the instructions we send you to fully access Microsoft Teams on the University of Oxford's secure IT network.

To participate you must be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.
It is advised to use headphones with working speakers and microphone.