Synthesis – what’s it got to do with me and my business?
Synthesis is the final stage of a philosophical theory known as the dialectic method. This theory looks at the inevitability of change and how opposing forces or arguments are instrumental in bringing about this change. This way of thinking can be useful when applied to business, particularly when examining the possible solutions available in the process of making decisions or solving problems. In order to understand how this philosophy can be used to help make business decisions, it is firstly important to look at how the theory works.
The basics of dialectic theory
The dialectic method has three stages of development. The simplest way of looking at these stages is outlined below:
- Thesis – The original idea or way of thinking.
- Antithesis – The opposing argument or contradiction to the thesis.
- Synthesis – The final resolution that combines both sides of the argument.
Synthesis in business
It’s easy to overlook dialectics when looking at problem-solving or decision-making procedures in business, but it could serve as an invaluable tool. It is vital to look all the pros and cons of a possible solution before reaching a final decision, and this method ensures that any negative points of any idea are examined thoroughly as well as the advantages. It also eliminates any bias that may be present among individuals that are tasked with solving a problem or making a decision as they are forced to consider looking at the proposed solution from all possible angles.
By applying this approach to every idea, it ensures that the correct amount of analysis is carried out both for and against implementing any solution. By conducting thorough analysis, the best possible solution can be reached as the best aspects from both arguments can be incorporated in to the final decision.
Synthesis in practice
Synthesis has been implemented successfully in a variety of ways. For example, the Roman Catholic Church uses this approach to decide whether individuals should be granted a sainthood. They appoint a God’s Advocate to argue in favour of an individual to be canonised and a Devil’s Advocate to take a more cynical view and put forward an argument as to why canonisation shouldn’t be granted. The resulting decision is made by weighing up arguments put forward by both Advocates.
Another more extreme example was adopted by the Wright Brothers – the inventors of the aeroplane. They would both argue one side of a dispute vehemently, then change sides and argue the other side just as passionately. This would lead them to see different angles and solutions that they might not otherwise have considered.
The value of synthesis
These examples show how valuable synthesis can be when applied in the decision-making process for business solutions. It can provide the insight required to view solutions from all possible angles and therefore bring to light an alternative solution that would otherwise be overlooked. A business that can incorporate synthesis into their procedures will benefit from more insightful solutions based on keener observation and comprehension skills, and will therefore be at a distinct advantage to their competitors.