Developing Strategic Thinking Ability: A Study of the Master's in Management and a Metacognition Course

University essay from Lunds universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to improve the understanding of the ability of educational interventions to improve strategic thinking. It does this both by contributing to the available empirical data on the development of strategic thinking ability and by exploring potential; avenues of research, intervention designs, study designs, sampling issues and analysis problems, for future studies as part of a larger project to understand strategic thinking at Lund University. Specifically this study examines the impact of the MiM and the Metacognition Course on strategic thinking ability. It does this through the use of; the CPP, a self-report questionnaire and an analysis of the design of both interventions. Strategic thinking is a term without a consensus definition, but for the purpose of this study it is defined, broadly, as the thinking that occurs in unfamiliar situations. This definition, while not one of consensus, is supported by a broad range of strategic management theory literature. While recognising the limitations attempting to deconstruct concepts such as strategic thinking, this study draws on previous work done by a variety of authors to understand the components of strategic thinking. This leads to a discussion of the ability to develop strategic thinking, with an acknowledgement that the available knowledge is fragmented due to the variety of understandings of strategic thinking and models of its function. Despite this there seems to be broad consensus that strategic thinking, or cognitive components that lead to strategic thinking can be developed. The majority of previous work has, however, examined this in the context of work experience. While there are studies on the impact of other interventions, including educational interventions, these studies have primarily been non-empirical or based on self-report methodologies. Therefore, this study makes an important contribution, not only to the future design of studies within the Strategic Thinking Project, but also to the available empirical knowledge on the ability of education to improve strategic thinking. This study did not identify statistically significant differences in overall strategic thinking ability based on the interventions. However, interesting trends toward the improvement in overall strategic thinking ability and changes in cognitive processes that are speculatively related to the interventions tested were found.

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