Strategic Thinking is Context Dependent
Abstract: Strategic thinking is a complex field that consists of more than the concept of strategy. Strategic thinking is important to business success, to maintain a competitive advantage, to strategic planning, and management decision-making. However, this is not an exhaustive list of reasons why strategic thinking is relevant. Research in the science and professional fields have failed to agree on one fixed definition of strategic thinking; however, this does not stop the efforts of contributing to the concept. The purpose of this study is to test and apply the various characteristics of the conceptualization of strategic thinking by investigating how Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) strategically think. Furthermore, the research approach specifically uses a mixed method design to quantitatively analyze data supplemented by a qualitative data collection method. The subjects of this study were CEOs from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) within the region of Scania, Sweden. By investigating a CEO’s practice of strategic thinking, this study’s results led to insight into the concept of strategic thinking. First, the CEOs showed similar characteristics of strategic thinking backed by previous research such as creativity, having a vision of the future, being holistic, having rational and complex thinking, solving problems, and many more. Furthermore, after analyzing the results from an integrated point of view, the researchers of this study noticed a trend. The CEOs from micro size SMEs showed a tendency to strategically think from an external perspective, and CEOs from small size SMEs showed a tendency to strategically think from an internal perspective. This study’s contribution to the field of strategic thinking argues that the context of enterprise size influences the strategic thinking of a CEO. Recommendations for future research should focus on investigating the relationship between the context of enterprise size and a CEO’s practice of strategic thinking.
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