Review Article

Delineating the parameters of integrated thinking: A synthetic literature review

Erica Du Toit, Ben Marx, Rozanne J. Smith
Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences | Vol 17, No 1 | a891 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jef.v17i1.891 | © 2024 Erica du Toit, Ben Marx, Rozanne J. Smith | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 May 2023 | Published: 15 March 2024

About the author(s)

Erica Du Toit, Department of Accounting, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Ben Marx, Department of Accounting, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Rozanne J. Smith, Department of Accounting, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Many accounting professional bodies, of which the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) is one, expect academics to develop integrated thinking skills in their students during higher education. Integrated thinking is, however, often confused with critical thinking, systems thinking and design thinking.

Aim: This article aims to delineate the concept of integrated thinking by analysing the similarities and differences between integrated thinking, integrative thinking, critical thinking, systems thinking and design thinking.

Conclusion: Integrated thinking is a higher-order thinking skill with a strong emphasis on the ability to think in a creative manner. Although there are differences between integrated thinking and other higher-order thinking skills, there are also similarities. This article sets integrated thinking apart from other higher-order thinking skills.

Contribution: Limited research has been conducted to distinguish integrated thinking from integrative thinking, critical thinking, systems thinking and design thinking. This article endeavours to identify the true nature of integrated thinking by comparing it with other higher-order thinking skills. If lecturers at higher education institutions are to develop integrated thinking skills, it is important for them to have a clear understanding of what integrated thinking is, and how it differs from other thinking models. Without a grounded understanding of what integrated thinking is, it is nearly impossible to develop it in students.


Keywords

integrated thinking; integrative thinking; systems thinking; design thinking; critical thinking; higher education

JEL Codes

I20: General; M40: General; M41: Accounting

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education

Metrics

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