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A new model of strategic thinking competency

Polboon Nuntamanop (School of Management, Asian Institute of Technology, Pathumtani, Thailand)
Ilkka Kauranen (Industrial Engineering and Management, Aalto University, Aalto, Finland)
Barbara Igel (School of Management, Asian Institute of Technology, Pathumtani, Thailand)

Journal of Strategy and Management

ISSN: 1755-425X

Article publication date: 2 August 2013



This paper seeks to present new insights into strategic thinking, proposing a model of strategic thinking competency.


To find new knowledge, the research applies the Straussian grounded theory research method using multiple sources and techniques of data inquiry: in‐depth interviews, observations, literature review, and related published documents. The sample cases are business leaders of leading high growth companies in their respective markets, representing eleven different industries in Thailand.


Among many new knowledge, the study found seven characteristics of strategic thinking that impacts strategy formulation, strategic actions, and business performance: conceptual thinking ability, visionary thinking, analytical thinking ability, synthesizing ability, objectivity, creativity, and learning ability. This set of abilities and skilled are termed “strategic thinking competency”.

Research limitations/implications

In‐depth interview data inquiry method has potential bias towards positive information. Although the study covers many industries, the small number of sample cases limits degree of generalization. A constraint of qualitative research method in interpretation of the results is reduced by comparing empirical results to the literature.

Practical implications

The “strategic thinking competency” model offers a framework for developing strategic thinking of business leaders and managers which contributes to better strategy and better business performance. Human resource developers may apply the model for designing training programs to develop better strategic thinkers.

Social implications

Better strategic thinking could help improving efficiency and effectiveness of business and general management.


The study introduces a model of “Strategic Thinking Competency” with seven characteristics, proposing a new way of defining strategic thinking.



Nuntamanop, P., Kauranen, I. and Igel, B. (2013), "A new model of strategic thinking competency", Journal of Strategy and Management, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 242-264.



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