To read this content please select one of the options below:

The formation of high strategic thinking ability: a study of Chinese grassroots cadres

Zhihang Xu (Southwest Minzu University, Chengdu, China)
Lei Liu (Sichuan University, Chengdu, China)
Wenran Jin (Sichuan University, Chengdu, China)

International Journal of Public Leadership

ISSN: 2056-4929

Article publication date: 5 August 2022

Issue publication date: 26 September 2022




The purpose of the research is to identify the factors contributing to the formation of high-level strategic thinking ability (STA) of Chinese grassroots cadres.


Through in-depth interviews with 20 Chinese grassroots cadres with high-level STA and grounded theory method, this research explores the contributive factors for the formation of the grassroots cadres' STA from a dynamic and long-term perspective.


The formation of STA is an accumulative process based on the interaction between external factors, including wide space for activities, adequate supporting resources, demonstration of role model, and inflection point and internal drivers, including strong sense of self-actualization, high sense of responsibility, thinking enhancement skills, diverse knowledge and high openness. Moreover, the external factors play a more important role in shaping STA in the early growth stage of the grassroots cadres, while in the late stage the internal factors tend to dominate.

Practical implications

The study advises to offer more professional training on STA and take STA as an important factor for Chinese grassroots cadres to compete in a complex socio-political environment in the long term.


(1) This paper investigates into the STA of Chinese grassroots cadres, which are largely ignored in current literature; (2) different from the extant studies which studies the static influencing factors of STA, such as demographic variables, personal traits and organizational characteristics, this paper focuses on the dynamic and long-term factors during the growth of the cadres.



This study was financially supported by the “Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of Southwest Minzu University” (Grant No.: 2020SYBPY34) and Sichuan University (Grant No: SCJJ-15).


Xu, Z., Liu, L. and Jin, W. (2022), "The formation of high strategic thinking ability: a study of Chinese grassroots cadres", International Journal of Public Leadership, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 369-390.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles