This article is a conceptual framework and literature review on strategic thinking. It examines some of the more recent definitions and identifies a number of key elements involved. Further analysis determines a number of situations that can improve strategic thinking capability in individuals and considers whether organizations can successfully adopt its conclusions to develop their managers and improve the business. The article briefly discusses the relationship between strategic thinking, strategic planning and emergent strategy and suggests that strategic thinking needs to precede both and is essential in making them more appropriate and effective. The authors believe that the greater the sum total of strategic thinking and thinkers in the organization the more readily and effectively it can respond to and take advantage of the vast array of changes occurring in today’s business environment. However, despite the significant levels of delayering and flattening of structures that has taken place in the last decade or so, some organizational barriers continue to stifle opportunities for strategic thinking by limiting the flow of experiences and insights to relevant corners of the firm. The authors suggest that knowledge management can have a significant role in increasing and improving strategic thinking by drawing such experiences and insights from all parts of the organization and making them available to points of strategic decision and action.
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