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Organizational practices to develop strategic thinking

Ellen F. Goldman (Department of Human and Organizational Learning, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, George Washington University. Washington, DC, USA)
Andrea R. Scott (Department of Human and Organizational Learning, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, George Washington University. Washington, DC, USA)
Joseph M. Follman (Department of Human and Organizational Learning, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, George Washington University. Washington, DC, USA)

Journal of Strategy and Management

ISSN: 1755-425X

Article publication date: 18 May 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the practices used by organizations to develop the strategic thinking ability of their leaders, managers, and other employees.

Design/methodology/approach

A basic interpretive study was conducted with human resource (HR) executives across a broad range of large organizations. Participants were interviewed, and general information about their organization and its programs was reviewed. Findings were verified via member checks and triangulation.

Findings

Organizations make limited use of the range of approaches to develop strategic thinking, many indirectly supporting its development via general leadership programs. Most approaches are experiential and focused on elites. Use of the literature, evaluation, and ties to competency models are very limited.

Research limitations/implications

The study only provides indications of potential generalizations, but offers access to issues that cannot be identified without an in-depth analysis.

Practical implications

The findings identify major gaps in the practices utilized to develop strategic thinking and the related competency framing and evaluation processes. As such, the study exposes opportunities to extend what is known about effective leadership development programs specifically to the development of strategic thinking.

Originality/value

The study fills a gap in the literature regarding specific ways organizations formally and informally develop the strategic thinking of their leaders, managers, and other employees. In so doing, it provides a catalyst for strategy and HR executives and scholars to come together to improve the development of this often absent ability.

Keywords

Citation

Goldman, E.F., Scott, A.R. and Follman, J.M. (2015), "Organizational practices to develop strategic thinking", Journal of Strategy and Management, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 155-175. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSMA-01-2015-0003

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited