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The definitions of a problem are many and touch on different disciplines and circumstances. However, from a business perspective, a problem is an unwanted situation that results in situations that need resolution. The main characteristic of a problem is a gap between desired or present state and desired outcomes. Problems necessitate corrective action and resources for those affected to achieve the desired results. Some examples of problems in the workplace environment include hardware malfunction, inadequately trained human resources, inadequate financial resources, and ethical issues affecting employee performance. All these problems exhibit the gaping characteristics that require their solvers to close this gap in order for their current states and desired outcomes to inch closer together.Problem solving is the predetermined process of addressing issues to ensure that the gaps that exist between current circumstances – defined as the problem – and desired outcomes are closed. The process is predetermined meaning that a plan of action relying on a careful analysis of the problem comes together. The group tasked with problem solving operates under a predetermined leader and obtain the necessary resources before commencing their work.One problem-solving incident at my place of work involved the restructuring of the company’s human resources department to make operations leaner due to the pressures of the hard economic times. The company’s executive management had identified the need to reduce the number of workers in some core business departments and communicated that to their heads. As the human resources manager, I was faced with the difficult task of identifying the redundant working position and laying off their holders. While the problem’s definitions seemed harsh to the employees, they all had a clear understanding of the corporate world’s dynamics, especially since our largest competitors had made their operations leaner a few months before. The organization would reduce the number of workers in three of the major departments, and their heads had to make sure the process was as smooth as possible. As the head of the human resources department, my office represented the other departments’ workers. In addition, it also had to emulate the rest of the company by reducing the number of employees in as ethical and considerate a manner as possible.Afterward, I decided to follow the main corporate technique of effecting change in the workplace. By discussing the issue, the workers affected would be better prepared to face the challenges of losing their jobs as opposed to simply laying them off within the context of organizational strategy. The effects of changes brought about by restructuring were less severe than the proverbial golden handshake.Forty-seven individuals made up the human resources department of the company. With the executive’s directive to effect cost-cutting changes in the company’s human resources, I set out to try to execute the instruction. Baker (2007) reports, “the first step was identifying the problem as it affected my department” (pg. 56). After careful deliberations and analysis of the entire human resources personnel, we identified eleven workers who we felt were redundant according to organizational development and the executive management’s directive. I communicated the results of the deliberations and made sure the understood the need for such drastic measures.Afterward, I made sure that everyone affected by the circumstances understood each other’s interests. We sensitized the affected employees with the company’s interests and the reasons for the unexpected move with the company promising them assistance in the course of their turnover process. In addition, the rest of the company employees too learned about the company’s intentions as the executive management itself set to remind itself of the company workers’ interests as well. During problem solving, the two sides affected need to identify and understand each other’s interests.After the employees had started their exit processes, I instituted the company policy of ensuring their departure was seamless and ensured that as valued members of the organization, they would not face hardship while in between jobs. Therefore, we held a meeting with each of them and charted out the way forward in terms of available options to ease their exit. The previous step is one of the most important in human resources processes of employee exit in ethical terms.Next, we identified the best options for the former employees as the workers remaining adjusted to take the slack left by the former employees’ exit. Most of the leaving workers eventually found employment in competing firms lower on the competition hierarchy while a pair decided to try their hand at entrepreneurship. Whatever pathway they chose, the company supported them in various ways using letters of recommendation, endorsements to their new would-be employers, and investment advice for the growing investors. In addition, and as part of an essential organizational and statutory requirement, the agreement made between the company’s former employees and the company was documented as part of the last bits of the process. Finally, the company promised to carry out follow-up action and monitor the progress of the individual in order to maintain the good faith that characterized past work relationships.Therefore, a generalized approach to problem solving emanates from my experiences at the company. The generalized approach to problem solving is the one-size fits all approach to solving problems in the business world as well as in other scenarios. The approach entails identifying the problems, establishing the players’ interests, listing and evaluating possible solutions, and the documentation and monitoring of all agreements made with problem solution.


Baker, J. R., & Doran, M. S. (2007). Organizational problem-solving methods. In Human resource management: A problem-solving approach linked to ISLLC standards (p. 56). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education.