23 Aug 2022


Applying the Six-Step Approach to Problem Solving

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Academic level: College

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Problem solving relates to the mental process that an individual follows when they have goals to attain, but do not know how to attain them immediately. Therefore, problem solving relies on the perception of the individual about the problem at hand, what they know about it and the end result desired by the individual (Kaufman, 2006). The six-step model of problem solving takes an individual through six cognitive activities: definition of the problem, analysis of the problem, generation of possible solutions to the problem, making the decision and implementation and monitoring of the decision reached. This paper applies the six-step approach to problem solving in a case scenario. 

In the scenario, the main character who has been working for his firm for eleven years left the company for college because they wanted to have credentials for promotion. Just when they were about to complete college, the person received a job offer that their former supervisor had recommended, but from another company. The new job is lucrative and has annual salary increments that are almost irresistible. However, the character understands that all the workers in his proposed position have Master’s degrees while he was two weeks away from finishing his Bachelor’s degree. The dilemma, therefore, is whether the character should leave college before doing the examinations or to ignore the offer and finish college. The case scenario, therefore, presents a dilemma to the character on whether they should finish the last two weeks of college or to go for the job. 

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Applying the Six-Step Process 

Definition of the Problem 

The case scenario presents a conflict of interests to the affected individual. For instance, the character is unsure whether leaving college for job will turn out to be better than hanging on to complete college and find another job elsewhere. The dilemma is further complicated by the fact that the new job presents a promotion in his job status and additional incentives, but it is only on a short notice. Leaving college for the job means that the character will miss their final examinations, which will mean that all their previous efforts will have gone to waste. In addition, leaving for the new job offer will mean that the character shall have broken his association with his former employers after eleven years. 

Analysis of the Problem 

According to the case scenario, the problem of conflict of interests results from two causes. The first one is the incentives presented by the new job offer. The character is largely motivated by a promotion, which the job offer promises directly. They could also be encouraged by the fact that the recommendation to hire them was made by their former supervisor. It means that the character could be sure of their job security because of past relations. Another cause of the problem stems directly from the first one. The character’s motivation to be promoted is what sent them to college. They learned that promotions would only be possible when they held at least a Bachelor’s degree. However, the job offer comes just when the character is about to sit their last examinations and leaving means they shall not have attained the set objectives. 

Generation of Options 

According to the problem analysis, the problem can be solved using two approaches. The first possible solution is for the character to abandon college and get the job before the offer expires. The second solution to the problem could be them ignoring the job offer and moving on to pursue their profession. 

Evaluation of the Options 

The main criteria for evaluation of the two options goal attainment; the character should get the best returns in the end. For instance, the character wants to be promoted in future, which is why they are in college. A good return for the character is for them to attain the promotion and be able to sustain it, which sums to their job security. Taking this course implies that the character should have credentials that can allow them to permanently climb the ladder of job groups. The first option means that the character will get the promotion like desired, but it does not guarantee a permanent improvement in the job group. For instance, they learn that all the rest of the supervisors at the new firm have Master’s degrees while they are not done with their Bachelor’s degree yet. In case of a retrenchment at the company, the character has high odds of being fired and they will not be able to find a better job elsewhere for lack of proper qualification. 

The second options means that the character will gain the desired credentials for a promotion, but will have to wait longer before they find a better job. However, this option means that they will be able to permanently improve their job group rating because they can find a job anywhere in the country at a better pay. This option also means that the character will have a sense of job security and might decide to re-apply for a supervisor position in his former company. In the long-run, the character shall have attained their goal; a promotion. 

Making the Decision 

According to the analysis above, the character in the case scenario will get the best returns if they decide to ignore the job offer and continue with their collegiate studies. This decision will ensure that they get the desired promotion and sustain it. However, if they chose to prefer the job to college, the promotion might only be short-lived. 

Implementation and Monitoring 

First, after reaching the decision, the character should inform the company offering them the job offer that they will not make it. There is room for the character to negotiate the time during which the offer will still be active. He should try to persuade the firm’s management to consider that they are about to sit their final examination and will be available after two weeks. If the request is accepted, the character will then have to inform his former employers of his decision to work elsewhere. However, if the request falls through, the character could still inform his former employers of his progress and express his desire to work for them in a supervisor role. If both plans fail, the character should wait for their certificate and apply for a similar position in different firms around the country. 


This paper has applied the six-step model of problem solving to solve a dilemma of conflict of interest concerning leaving college for work. It has been noted that the affected individual’s goal is to be promoted in future, which the job offer offers directly. However, the analysis has indicated that the best alternative for the affected person would be to complete college and ignore the offer. This decision was reached after considering that an immediate promotion might solve the character’s problems, but it might be short-lived. Going to college will be a long-term solution to the problem because the character will have the ability to sustain the promotion; they can get a job anywhere because of the qualifications earned from college. In way of implementation, the individual is advised to communicate their decision to both the new company and former employers. 


Kaufman, R. A. (2006).  Change, choices, and consequences: A guide to mega thinking and planning  (Vol. 1). Human Resource Development. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). Applying the Six-Step Approach to Problem Solving.


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