That it is ill-defined hardly matters. Like innovation and knowledge and quality and disruption it has become one of those management buzz phrases that has taken on a life of its own.
The problem is that like so many other superficially attractive concepts, when effectively evidenced, it can produce uncomfortable and potentially destructive outcomes. The issue is not with being thinking or being critical, but with the absence of specificity that envelops it. Managers probably believe they want someone who can identify issues they may have missed, but that the people who do so be polite and deferential about it.
Humanity being what it is these days, the likelihood is that the knowledge will be converted into wisdom in ways that fail to respect traditional notions of seniority or common courtesy. Critical may mean urgent or crucial to some, but it may mean corrective to others. However it's packaged, no one likes a wise guy. JL
Melissa Korn reports in the Wall Street Journal:
Critical thinkers, she says, tend to challenge the status quo, which isn’t always what a boss is after.