Deductive Reasoning Definition (With Examples)

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Employers place a high value on logical reasoning skills as they recruit, retain and promote employees.  Deductive reasoning represents an important form of logical reasoning that is widely applied in many different work roles.  

What is Deductive Reasoning?

Deductive reasoning involves a thought process where general principles guide individuals as they analyze specific phenomenon or take particular actions.

 It is sometimes referred to as top-down thinking or going from the general to the specific. 

Deductive Reasoning in the Workplace

Employees who accept premises and formulate approaches to their work based on those beliefs or standards are applying deductive reasoning skills.  They are guided by the philosophy, policies and procedures embraced by their organization.

They are also guided by their knowledge of the job, company, and industry, and by following trends in their profession as they make decisions and solve problems.

Examples of Deductive Reasoning Skills

1. A consumer products firm believes that professional women are overloaded with family and work responsibilities and strapped for time, so they emphasize how quickly their hair coloring product can be applied in their advertising campaign.  

2. Human Resources staff identify public speaking skills as an important qualification for a target position., so they require candidates to present on a topic as part of the second interview day.


3. Management is committed to professional development for staff and decides to require that a formal professional development plan be incorporated into all performance reviews. 

4. Development executives at a college believe that professionals in finance jobs are the best donors.  They identify alumni working in finance when planning their fundraising strategy for the year and direct the two most productive staff members to focus on that group.


5. A liquor store identifies a trend that customers are buying more bourbon than other types of alcohol, so she allocates prime ad space to bourbon and highlights related discounts.

6. A supermarket manager believes that candy products are an impulse buy, so she locates candy displays adjacent to store entry pathways. 

7. A detective believes that robberies at a bank are inside jobs planned by experienced thieves. Therefore, he does criminal background checks on employees with access to cash reserves.  

8. A hospital believes that patients recover more quickly if they get more sleep, so they distribute eye masks and earplugs to patients and reduce lighting during overnight hours. 

9. Teachers in the science department agree that their students learn better through hands-on activity.  Therefore, they increase laboratory activities when restructuring the curriculum. 

10. A food products company discerns a trend that consumers are favoring organic products, so they increase the size of the lettering for the word "Organic" when redesigning their packaging.  

Related: What is Critical Thinking? | What is Creative Thinking?

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