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Strategic Thinking: Theory & Practice

Singh, Himanshu LU and Sandelands, Luke LU (2017) MGTN59 20171
Department of Business Administration
Abstract
Purpose:

The purpose of this study is to test a potential means of measuring strategic thinking ability (Cognitive Process Profiling) in individuals through a multi-method approach. First, we identify what strategic thinking is in theory by analysing the current literature and then identify the most prominent competencies
that enable individuals to think strategically. Following this literature review, we have used Cognitive Process Profiling (CPP) in practice to determine if we are able to measure and isolate this ability. Finally, we seek to establish whether a correlation exists between the strategic thinking abilities of individuals and
their work experience and educational background. Our findings may prove valuable to any... (More)
Purpose:

The purpose of this study is to test a potential means of measuring strategic thinking ability (Cognitive Process Profiling) in individuals through a multi-method approach. First, we identify what strategic thinking is in theory by analysing the current literature and then identify the most prominent competencies
that enable individuals to think strategically. Following this literature review, we have used Cognitive Process Profiling (CPP) in practice to determine if we are able to measure and isolate this ability. Finally, we seek to establish whether a correlation exists between the strategic thinking abilities of individuals and
their work experience and educational background. Our findings may prove valuable to any organisation who intend to hire, or are looking to develop their employees, as well as for individuals who wish to assess their own strategic thinking capability.

Research Questions:

Q:1 What is Strategic thinking?
Q:2 Does CPP measure the strategic thinking ability of an individual? Can we isolate this ability through the use of CPP and implementing our knowledge of the core competencies of strategic thinking?
Q:3 Does work experience and educational background have any influence on the ability to think strategically?

Methodology:

Our research is based on a deductive approach. Findings were generated through the compilation of research on what concepts are indicative of strategic thinking, and then through drawing correlations between data which was generated via the CPP assessment, background questionnaires and in-depth interviews. The research design is in the form of a multi-method quantitative study since the data was gathered through multiple quantitative means. Structured interviews and questionnaires were analysed according to a scale to allow objective comparison with the CPP assessment itself.

Findings:

Strategic thinking research is characterised by a multidisciplinary, multidimensional approach that we validated into 15 distinctive core concepts. We argue that strategic thinking is based upon an underlying process influenced by personality, value systems and environmental factors in any individual. Following
this, we measured strategic thinking ability of individuals via CPP assessment and our own developed self-assessment tools (background and in-depth questionnaire). The results demonstrated that the CPP assessment do measures and isolates key cognitive elements of strategic thinking ability in individuals, however, in a more profound way for individuals from a managerial or executive background than
students. This led us to consider the merit of an organisational context in our measurement process, whilst maintaining an objective outlook due to the limited number of managers/executives involved in our study. Additionally, this study has cast doubt on the importance of work experience and educational background
(engineering/non-engineering), as we did not find any conclusive evidence of their link with the strategic thinking.

Limitations:

This study was conducted under stringent time limitations meaning we had to be specific not only with the number of participants (40 in its present format) but also the scope of the research. Ideally, our research would have involved a higher number of participants to allow for further analysis and to consider CPP results across additional variances (e.g. specific years of experience, specific degree subjects or specific professions compared and contrasted with one another). In addition, since we also used self-assessment methods (survey and interview), we were reliant on each participant’s ability to assess themselves, which at times may be subjective and variable. Lastly, once the CPP assessment is taken by
an individual, they are not allowed to take it again.

Practical Implications:

This study sheds light on what strategic thinking is and what the core concepts of strategic thinking are through analysis of the current literature. Our research has identified potential areas of expansion for measuring and isolating strategic thinking ability in individuals, and through experimentation, has identified areas that may not contribute to this understanding. Our research provides value to
organisations who want to hire, or are looking to develop their employees, as well for those who wish to develop their understanding of strategic thinking and individuals who wish to assess their own strategic thinking ability. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Singh, Himanshu LU and Sandelands, Luke LU
supervisor
organization
course
MGTN59 20171
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
Cognition, Cognitive Process Profiling, Game Theory, Strategic Decision Making, Strategic Planning, Strategic Thinking, Work Environment
language
English
id
8924739
date added to LUP
2017-09-11 13:33:15
date last changed
2017-09-11 13:33:15
@misc{8924739,
  abstract     = {Purpose:

The purpose of this study is to test a potential means of measuring strategic thinking ability (Cognitive Process Profiling) in individuals through a multi-method approach. First, we identify what strategic thinking is in theory by analysing the current literature and then identify the most prominent competencies
that enable individuals to think strategically. Following this literature review, we have used Cognitive Process Profiling (CPP) in practice to determine if we are able to measure and isolate this ability. Finally, we seek to establish whether a correlation exists between the strategic thinking abilities of individuals and
their work experience and educational background. Our findings may prove valuable to any organisation who intend to hire, or are looking to develop their employees, as well as for individuals who wish to assess their own strategic thinking capability.

Research Questions:

Q:1 What is Strategic thinking?
Q:2 Does CPP measure the strategic thinking ability of an individual? Can we isolate this ability through the use of CPP and implementing our knowledge of the core competencies of strategic thinking?
Q:3 Does work experience and educational background have any influence on the ability to think strategically?

Methodology:

Our research is based on a deductive approach. Findings were generated through the compilation of research on what concepts are indicative of strategic thinking, and then through drawing correlations between data which was generated via the CPP assessment, background questionnaires and in-depth interviews. The research design is in the form of a multi-method quantitative study since the data was gathered through multiple quantitative means. Structured interviews and questionnaires were analysed according to a scale to allow objective comparison with the CPP assessment itself.

Findings:

Strategic thinking research is characterised by a multidisciplinary, multidimensional approach that we validated into 15 distinctive core concepts. We argue that strategic thinking is based upon an underlying process influenced by personality, value systems and environmental factors in any individual. Following
this, we measured strategic thinking ability of individuals via CPP assessment and our own developed self-assessment tools (background and in-depth questionnaire). The results demonstrated that the CPP assessment do measures and isolates key cognitive elements of strategic thinking ability in individuals, however, in a more profound way for individuals from a managerial or executive background than
students. This led us to consider the merit of an organisational context in our measurement process, whilst maintaining an objective outlook due to the limited number of managers/executives involved in our study. Additionally, this study has cast doubt on the importance of work experience and educational background
(engineering/non-engineering), as we did not find any conclusive evidence of their link with the strategic thinking.

Limitations:

This study was conducted under stringent time limitations meaning we had to be specific not only with the number of participants (40 in its present format) but also the scope of the research. Ideally, our research would have involved a higher number of participants to allow for further analysis and to consider CPP results across additional variances (e.g. specific years of experience, specific degree subjects or specific professions compared and contrasted with one another). In addition, since we also used self-assessment methods (survey and interview), we were reliant on each participant’s ability to assess themselves, which at times may be subjective and variable. Lastly, once the CPP assessment is taken by
an individual, they are not allowed to take it again.

Practical Implications:

This study sheds light on what strategic thinking is and what the core concepts of strategic thinking are through analysis of the current literature. Our research has identified potential areas of expansion for measuring and isolating strategic thinking ability in individuals, and through experimentation, has identified areas that may not contribute to this understanding. Our research provides value to
organisations who want to hire, or are looking to develop their employees, as well for those who wish to develop their understanding of strategic thinking and individuals who wish to assess their own strategic thinking ability.},
  author       = {Singh, Himanshu and Sandelands, Luke},
  keyword      = {Cognition,Cognitive Process Profiling,Game Theory,Strategic Decision Making,Strategic Planning,Strategic Thinking,Work Environment},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Strategic Thinking: Theory & Practice},
  year         = {2017},
}