6 Thinking Hats; as an effective decision-making tool

6 Thinking Hats; as an effective decision-making tool for the Textile and Apparel industry: ‘6-Thinking Hats’ is a technique of the critical thinking process in organizational decision-making. The multidirectional nature of this process diversifies it from traditional decision management. Fundamental enhancement of selecting ‘6-Thinking Hats’ as a decision-making element has been summarized in this paper. The textile industry is one of the vital manufacturers worldwide. Complexity regarding the managerial problems of this industry in Bangladesh and the resolution process of that dilemma by implementing ‘6-Thinking Hats’ with compatible explanation have been delineated here. 
The widespread conception of the responsible decision-makers of the textile area regarding decision management reflects in this article with descriptive analysis. Policymakers are encouraging themselves in many activities for ensuring a more blooming procedure. Adopting the modernized technique seems incompetent to establish a satisfactory outcome in most of the cases. Dependency on professional competency and experience plays a vital role where the inexistence of synergy, teamwork, and scrutinization from every essential aspect reduces the effectiveness. Multidimensional investigation of situations is a foundational rationale for the triumph which can assure with the effective execution of ‘6-Thinking Hats’.

6 Thinking Hats:

Effective decision making is a fundamental requirement for organizational achievements. Usually, the decision-making process is a combination of assumptions and randomness, which is not an accurate process of evaluation and implementation [1]. Organizational problem-solving occurs according to the traditional thinking process. The traditional thinking process which also refers to vertical thinking is goal-oriented [2]. Vertical thinking concentrates majorly on result achievement, argument, and partial explanation of problems [3]. Overthinking and jumbling up between all the facts, emotions, positivity, creativity, negativity makes the traditional thinking process difficult for actual implementation. Factually thinking is intangible, and it is difficult to articulate the reasoning of different peoples together as a decision in cross-thinking [4]. 
Intending to improve decision management, Edward de Bono introduces the Parallel thinking process [5]. Parallel thinking deals with thinking in a similar forward direction rather than cross thinking all the aspects simultaneously [6]. ‘6-Thinking Hats’ is a tool of critical thinking method invented by de Bono to facilitate critical thinking technology [7]. Critical thinking [8] is the action of problem-solving considering all the aspects including informational, sociological, psychological, and innovation beliefs [9]. In the ‘6-Thinking Hats’ model, six artificial contexts have to create to summarize a scenario from all perspectives [10]. Arguments are negligible in this tool while settling a decision. 
A group of decision-makers analyses a situation from six different aspects [11] and an arbitrator deals with the results get from every dimension and selects the most efficient factors by considering all viewpoints along with assuring the proper controlling of the thought process [12]. ‘6-Thinking Hats’’ method summarizes six different coloured hats controllable during the thought process [3]. This technique involves the usage of analogous hats in a discussion among which every hat deals with individual aspects like facts, psychology, positivity, negativity, creativity and process control [13]. A combination of white, red, yellow, black, green- and blue-coloured hat summarizes the principle of ‘6-Thinking Hats’ [14].
Concept of ‘6-Thinking Hat’

Figure 1. Concept of ‘6-Thinking Hat’

White hat deals with related facts, information, and figures available for certain decisions [15]. Red hat stands for emotional and psychological beliefs. Yellow and black hat relatively discuss the affirmative and negative analysis of the situation respectively [16]. The green hat amasses creative and innovative ideas which will ensure the facility of showcasing the talents of the employers and the employees [17], while blue hat deals with the control of thought processes to ensure the elimination of overthinking from every aspect which is one of the major influential concern for a successful problem-solving process [18]. 

In the ‘6-Thinking Hats’ method, decision-makers can wear a single color hat at a certain time as if white hat approaches have to consider then the decision-maker will only take the information and facts on the account. All of the emotional beliefs, creative thinking have to eliminate that time. Eventually, while positive findings of the yellow hat along with the ambiguity of black hat facilitate the creativity analysis based on the investigation regarding green hat [19], facts and objects related to white hat have to keep apart from the scene during that moment. Conclusively, results achieved from individual hats compiles together for decision making [8]. 
Successive application of six hats can ensure 360 degrees of thinking of a certain scenario for perfect decision management [20]. Despite being a very useful decision-making tool, implementing ‘6-Thinking Hats’ is incommensurate in developing industries. In emergent nations, usually organizational decision making occurs according to managerial competency [21] and experience along with the group discussion of relevant professionals [22]. Some elementary tools like SWOT analysis [23], PEST analysis [24], relevant business case reviews through internet service [25], root-cause analysis are also using now and then for decision management. 
Usually, decision-making takes place on the information and factors available. All other aspects from ‘6-Thinking Hats’ remain implicit as a secondary consideration. Elimination of multidimensional analysis and emotional disagreements develop self-blaming tendencies among the professionals and eventually, implementing flawless decision management becomes strenuous [26]. Contrastingly, implementation of ‘6-Thinking Hats’ maximizes the effect of participatory teamwork, tremendous leadership and out of the box creativity in managerial problem-solving process [27]. 
Here in this paper, the scenario of decision management in the textile precinct investigates with constraints and hypothetical solutions are assembles by implementing ‘6-Thinking Hats’ as major decision-making tools according to a survey outcome taken part by the textile professionals.




One hundred (100) textile professionals from abundant establishments responded to a questionnaire from their professional and sentimental standpoint. Respondents provide their feedback about the usual decision-making policy voluntarily and with no monetary support. The response rate of the survey was 80% where 125 was the predetermined sample volume by the surveyors. Online data collection via Google form and face-to-face interviews were the medium of data collection from the participants.

Sampling techniques

Surveyors followed the non-probability purposive sampling technique to collect opinions of the experts from the textile industry to provide authentic and accurate data regarding the fact that how the proceeding is occurring and what are the obstacles of the road of success nowadays. It accomplishes exploratory experimentation according to the analysis of the survey feedback.

Materials & Design

This qualitative research which was integrating a questionnaire survey shows a cross-sectional study on elementary decision management. The questionnaire contained ten (10) particular questions including multiple-choice, dichotomous questions along with open-ended questions. The survey aimed to visualize the reflection of the decision-making process in the preliminary stage of the industry. Decision-makers answered the questions from their standpoint. The questionnaire focused on both customary analysis of the contemporary process and future recommendations to assure helpful long-term benefits. Professionals explained about the usually recommended aspect they are emphasizing to assure organizational goals. 
Respondents also discussed the dominant focal point they are considering nowadays during the implementation policy and the strategies they are following to achieve that focused success. Participants provided their inevitable opinions about the tools and techniques they are applying, and the level of satisfaction towards the ongoing scenarios from their beliefs. The decision-makers also expressed their worries and struggles. They also declared complexities of the existing process, along with the recommendations for assuring more correctness in the upcoming days. Finally, surveyors wanted to know their feedbacks about ‘6-Thinking Hats’, one world-recognized method of critical thinking which can sustainably assure systematic decision-making.

Data Collection & Interpretation

The analysis of the survey feedback accomplished by exploratory experimentation. Interpretation of survey consequences has been completed according to the text analysis process which is a technique of extracting information’s from human language and psychology dramatically. Microsoft Excel and MATLAB did the scrutiny of records where Origin and GraphPad Prism illustrates the graphical visualization of upshots.


Respondents from diversified segments of the textile sector spontaneously took part in the survey with substantive scenario analysis. Among 100 respondents, 97.6% are engaged with decision generation. Remaining respondents aren’t taking part in organizational decision management. Fundamental focus on the existing decision-making process is factual and informative analysis.
Participation in decision making according to the survey responses.
Figure 2. Participation in decision making according to the survey responses.
Professionals are concentrating on facts, figures, and information extensively to ensure successive decision management. The conception of 30.21% of professionals is legitimate reasoning and effective scrutiny of data, records and information can assure proper decision implementation. The only informational analysis isn’t sufficient for successful decision making.
18.75% of respondents are emphasizing on the affirmative investigation, imaginative aspect and controlling speculation. Positivity analysis deals so of any specific decision and determines either it is fruitful enough or not, while informative scrutiny just summarizes the existing facts. The affirmative aspect of a decision ensures a mandatory analysis of the positive outcomes of implementing a decision. Many answerers signify on the imaginative point of view of a certain decision.
Existing Practices to ensure successive decision making as stated in the survey feedbacks
Figure 3. Existing Practices to ensure successive decision making as stated in the survey feedbacks
This dimension of decision management behaves towards innovation, research and creative analysis of decision making. Imaginative analyses can emphasize on contemporary decision techniques. Controlling facet stresses the regulation of the thinking process in an individual dimension to eliminate overthinking. Antagonism of an unequivocal choice is the preeminent focal point for 8.33% of respondents. Scrutiny of negativity emphasized the unfavourable consequences of decision making. Effective analysis of negativism can prevent an abortive decision easily. Sentimental acceptance of decision-makers is another imperative aspect of successful decision implementation. 
5.21% of respondent’s emphasis on cognitive analysis in decision management as a psychological drive of managers can boost up the process vitally. Consolidation of all the above dimensions can ensure impressive decision management will complete accuracy. However, a minority of decision-makers can implement their decision process from the collaborative analysis. Because of the assumption of complexity, decision-makers focus majorly on one or two aspects at a time by emphasizing the informative point of view, mostly. In existing decision-making techniques, managers concentrate majorly on profit maximization and timeliness in shipment. 
The economic profit-and-loss count is the egregious standpoint towards decision making for the farther number of respondents followed by a multidimensional analysis of a situation and on-hand problem-solving. 36.59% of decision-makers emphasized on profit maximization of the organization along with shipment at the expected time. Economic successiveness is the major concern for an organization in the present scenario of decision technology. Nowadays, decision-makers are emphasizing on long-term sustainable aftereffect in parallel with the indiscreet results of profit acquirement. 29.27% of respondents ponder on resolving a problem from a multidimensional point of view with the assurance of longstanding benefits for upcoming days.
Fundamental focal points in existing decision-making process in consonance with the survey responses
Figure 4. Fundamental focal points in existing decision-making process in consonance with the survey responses


Circumstantial analysis from every viewpoint is the most workable solution for organizational reasoning. Foundational cause exploration of an immediate problem is another momentous factor in conformity with the response rate of 24.39%. According to them, the solution to problems on hand is a fundamental focal point for ensuring methodical decision making. 4.88% of respondents considered favouritism as a major manifestation of fruitless decision implementation. Elimination of favouritism can improve the process effectively where another 4.88% remains indecisive about their standpoint about organizational decision making. In this neoteric era of modernization, usage of specified tools and techniques are mandatory for the effective organizational prospect.
Usage of specific tools in decision formulation as reported by the professionals
Figure 5. Usage of specific tools in decision formulation as reported by the professionals


According to the survey outcome, the better part of the professionals is applying miscellaneous tools and techniques with a response rate of 46.34%. Though they are implementing various techniques, the decision process does not completely rely on technical analysis. In most cases, preliminary tools like SWOT analysis, T-chart are part of customary decision making. Along with the technical analysis, managerial experience also played a vital role in problem-solving. 36.17% of all the respondents rely on their professional experience for effective decision making. 
Professionals have a vital tendency of reasoning, a situation from their professional expertise and competency. Application of experience in line with elementary statistical and decision tools can ensure effective decision implementation according to the opinion of majority respondents. 19.51% of decision-makers are practising tools and techniques occasionally. Intermitted pursuance of techniques along with personal and professional qualifications can assure rewarding decision management from their point of view. 34.15% of the answerers aren’t using any techniques to accomplish their duty, while 23.40% are solely relying on strategically successful management tools. 
The consolidation of divergent opinions regarding a situation is another toughest feature for decision implementation. A negligible mindset towards the speculation of organizational collaborators can lead to conflicts that will turn the process discontinuous and disrupted. An unsynchronized team effort will create dissatisfaction which drastically affects organizational stability. From that point of view, 19.15% of professionals are emphasizing on collegiality as a core strategy for effective decision making. 21.28% of respondents are ensuring the implementation of their organization decision based on mingling different strategies together based on the scene rather than following just a specific one for every aspect. Decision management can get a new dimension by following the modernize strategies towards it. 
However, the tendency of adopting something new is trivial according to the mindset of the professionals. The urgency of improvement can sense but adoption of modernization hits the psychological interference of the decision-makers which made the implementation process burdensome.
Customary strategies for effective decision-making in existing decision-making process according to the survey responses
Figure 6. Customary strategies for effective decision-making in existing decision-making process according to the survey responses


The amalgamation of modern methods and professional endowments isn’t assuring exhaustive fruitfulness of decision management. Among all the respondents, 41.46% of the answerers delights with their existing decision implementation process. Most of the answerers are doubtful about the success rate of their present decision management scenario. 43.91% of the participants are indecisive about the way they are selecting nowadays where 14.63% are despondent with the current techniques. According to the feedbacks, disadvantageous strategies towards complicated factors are turning decision scenarios into troublesome events. Justification of an event from every standpoint is the colossal obstacle in fruitful decision making.
Satisfaction of decision-makers through existing process pursuant to survey responses
Figure 7. Satisfaction of decision-makers through existing process pursuant to survey responses


Multidimensional reasoning of a specific circumstance is the toughest concept in the traditional decision-making process. Around 43.90% of the total participants comply with the fact that simultaneous investigation and control of a situation according to facts, psychological acceptance, proper estimation of positivity & negativity, innovation in the upcoming days legitimately complicates the duty of a decision-maker. In most of the cases, factual analysis is predominantly crucial for effective decision making. But abridgement of all the records, facts and data considered troublesome for 19.51% of the professionals. 
Erroneous scrutiny of the facts opposites the success rate of an event. Improper forecasting of threats and negativity is another complicated issue in the way of efficient decision implementation. The negative presumption is another considerable predicament in decision operation according to the opinion of 12.20% of the total answerers. The hesitation of the decision-makers in a specific event is another vital reason for lessening the efficiency of any decision. The paucity of confidence drastically impacts the procedure according to the opinion of 7.32% of the respondents. Another 7.32% of them considered the maintenance of the timeline adequate as an important obstacle towards goal achievement.
Complications of existing decision-making process according to the opinion of decision-makers
Figure 8. Complications of existing decision-making process according to the opinion of decision-makers


Concentrating on current problems rather than ensuring effective forecast and planning is a major difficulty according to the opinion of 4.87% of decision implementers. 2.44% of the participants severally identified a lack of skilled manpower and experience as the core obstacle in the existing process. To ensure prosperous decision formulation, professionals pointedly emphasize on some precise approaches. The reasoning of a scenario from every influential viewpoint is the most recommended strategy with the acceptance rate of 31.71%. Considering an action briefly from every conceivable orientation is the far-reaching factor for the successful implementation of decision management. 
Collaboration among the responsible persons regarding a situation is another imperative recommendation to increase the effectiveness of an event. 17.07% of the total respondents are highlighting on synergy as the most effective approach. Effective investigation of facts and data available considers influential from the standpoint of 14.63% of the total answerers. Persuasive analysis from any focal point with the adoption of adequate tools and techniques results in a higher grade of effectiveness. Statistical and managerial techniques increase the fruitfulness of a decision rather than emphasizing majorly on experience and personal qualifications of the thought process. 
Implementation of modern tools and the advancement of techniques can improve the proceeding exceedingly. Assumption of 12.20% of the participants directs toward the up-gradation and modernization of tools and techniques. Some managers showed tentative opinions regarding their decision procedures.
Recommended strategies for prosperous decision-making as reported in the survey feedbacks
Figure 9. Recommended strategies for prosperous decision-making as reported in the survey feedbacks


About 9.76% of them are not emphasizing any specific recommendation rather than preferring problem-solving according to the situation. They are favouring on the solution of problems on hand instead of forecasting and mapping for a specific route of decision implementation. The exactitude of lead time and ensuring on-time shipment is the recommendation from the mindset of 7.32% of the respondent where another 7.32% of them are signifying in effective contingency analysis of situations. Summarizing the perceptions of the professionals regarding ongoing decision proceedings, the importance of multidimensional reasoning of a situation can discern. 
Most of the decision-makers are ensuring the application of specific tools, though most of them are in a puzzle with the level of satisfaction achieved from their current performance. Experience is the foundation of the established decision implementation process where managers are concentrating majorly on profit maximization and on-time shipment of goods. Factual and competitive scrutiny signifies the action effectively. But this effectiveness priorities the present scenario, mostly. The solution of problems on hand is prioritizing by the authority rather than aiming for a prosperous future. Investigation of an event can’t ensure with the sole dependence on factual analysis. 
Psychological unacceptance, improper forecasting, the inadequacy of teamwork, deficient concentration on innovation and adaption, running after the timeline, superfluous negativism, etc. are playing the role of obstacles in the successful implementation of thought processes. Organizations are earning profits, but long-term planning awkwardly interrupts in most of the cases. Scrutiny of a situation from every mainstream dimension becomes the crying need for decision-makers to ensure prosperous and deep-rooted process implementation. ‘6-Thinking Hats’ is an amazing managerial tool to test a situation from every aspect. It is a modernize method which deals with six dominant facets of an action thoughtfully.



Despite being an old standing managerial tool, admiration of ‘6-Thinking Hats’ is minimal in textile technology. Merely 14.63% of the participants are familiar with this technique, the rest of the population are familiar with the term theoretically with shortcomings of brief knowledge. Implementation of this method for organizational decision making is secure by 12.20% of the decision-makers. According to the preliminary and basic idea of professionals regarding ‘6-Thinking Hats’, 95.12% of the managers considered this process helpful and beneficial for their organizational decision implementation.
Scenario of recognition, adoption and conception of ‘6-Thinking Hats’ among professional according to survey responses
Figure 10. Scenario of recognition, adoption and conception of ‘6-Thinking Hats’ among professional according to survey responses


However, the adoption of a new technique is time-consuming for an industry like textile manufacturing which is rapidly jumbled up with time and profit management but complications of decision techniques make them culpable to give a second thought and investigation of modern and effective tools. Major concerns of decision-making in the textile industry are profit maximization, the achievement of competitive advantages, longstanding industrial security and maintenance of goodwill, supportive teamwork regarding crucial and important issues, modernization and assurance of competitiveness in the global market through innovation and creativity achievement of leadership in the sector. Application of ‘6-Thinking Hats’ can resolve most of the concerns remarkably. 
Evidential knowledge and statistical analysis ensure factual abridgement, which is a core concern in the present decision-making procedure. Awareness about the psychological perception of decision-makers maintains the effective power of synergy and teamwork. Prediction of uncertainty and prosperity will persuade the long-term benefit of an event significantly which is also a principal interest of the professionals. Prognosis of research, creativity, and innovation will lead towards the advancement of techniques which is also a matter of importance for the answerers. Ratification of ‘6-Thinking Hats’ can enhance the picture notably with the assurance of satisfaction, profit, and sustainable business policy.



Decision-making differs between the operational function of the managerial and non-managerial employees. Being the most significant portion of the management procedure, the effectiveness of decision-implementation can measure organizational success. Investigation of ongoing practices with the analysis of merits and demerits is a principal concern of this study. Discovering the present techniques, major focal points of the process, identifying the struggling moments and introducing professionals with an effective tool was the aim of this study.


Decision-making is predominantly occurring according to the hypothesis of managerial experience in most of the cases. Instead of ensuring longstanding positioning in the industry, policymakers are frequently emphasizing on the solution of problems on-hand. The assurance of synergy becomes the difficult and sequential process of teamwork is hampering. The present scenario can ensure profits and monetary evaluation but somewhere lacks in the proceeding of deep-rooted goodwill achievement. Success can assure however the level of satisfaction is facing shortcomings somewhere. Analysis of a complication from every aspect with proper efficiency can improvise the decision process exceedingly. Implementation of ‘6-Thinking Hat’ considered helpful to most of the participants. 
Though a minority of the respondents are already practising this technique, most of the professionals accept the ideology that this tool will improvise the process. Implementation of something new is challenging, however, professionals are highly interested in it. Effective summarization of statistical records according to the conception of white hat, profit maximization and competitive advantage can ensure efficiency. Legitimate analysis of the facts is the most practising technique in present decision management with a view to the achievement of economic security and competitive advancement. 
Convenient summarization of red hat facts will ensure strong commitment and teamwork among the administrative persons and provide job satisfaction as it will grant them with psychological satisfaction and favourable feeling about the organizational practices. Participation with happiness can spread within the organization, and social sustainability will increase. Forecasting of future impact from both assertive and negative standpoint will assure effective organization targeting and preparation of sufficient contingency planning of complicated events. This aspect will help to achieve long-term positioning of an organization in the industry tremendously.
Another dimension of ‘6-Thinking Hat’ deals with the advancement of creativity, innovation, and research shows with the green hat. Effective adoption and implementation from this aspect will improvise the R&D scenario of the organization by which tremendous benefit can assure in this era of globalization. Traditionally, the decision-making process concentrates majorly on data analysis. An investigation from a single viewpoint solely can hamper the long-lasting triumph. ‘6-Thinking Hat’ also considers that point of view proficiently by eliminating over-thinking towards an individual aspect which shows by the blue hat. 
This tool will ensure not only economic and monetary success but also social, psychological and physiological triumph at a time in a structured manner. Measurement of the aftereffect of implementation and comparison among improvement can be the forthcoming study regarding this topic. The level of acceptance by the professionals and the measurement of benefits they get can justify the effectiveness of this globally recognized method towards the textile industry in a more briefly in the upcoming stages of this study.


This research received no external funding.


The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Md. Syduzzaman
Bangladesh University of Textiles
Fahmida Faiza FAHMI
Department of Textile Engineering, Primeasia University


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