Strategic thinking versus strategic planning: towards understanding the complementarities

Fiona Graetz (Bowater School of Management and Marketing, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Publication date: 1 June 2002


In an environment characterised by flux and uncertainty, a capacity for innovative, divergent strategic thinking rather than conservative, convergent strategic planning is seen as central to creating and sustaining competitive advantage. As the case study of Communications Co. illustrates, scenario planning is one tool that many organisations, committed to redesigning their strategic planning processes, are using with some success. However, scenario planning requires both left‐ and right‐brain thinking styles. The elements of left‐brain thinking reflect the planning side of strategy making, while right‐brain thinking mirrors the thinking component of strategy making. The relationship between the factors that enable strategic thinking and the level of “emotional intelligence” of business leaders is also considered. The Communications Co. case findings appear to support the view that while strategic thinking capabilities can be nurtured and diffused through an organisation, it will need business leaders with a high degree of emotional intelligence to lead the way.



Graetz, F. (2002), "Strategic thinking versus strategic planning: towards understanding the complementarities", Management Decision, Vol. 40 No. 5, pp. 456-462.

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Copyright © 2002, MCB UP Limited

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