“Strategy implies competing and outwitting competitors. Strategy is about being different from the competitors — finding the race to run and winning it… It is the process of finding alternative ways of competing and providing customer value,” (Abraham, 2005).
In his recent paper, Moon (2013) opines that there 4 critical elements to strategic thinking, namely, systematic, creative, vision-driven, and market-oriented thinking.
Systematic thinking entails to addressing underlying structures, which Senge (1990) opines, “shape individual actions and create the conditions where types of events become likely.” Creative thinking encompasses the search for new approaches and better ways of getting things done. Vision-driven thinking entails providing direction forward after synthesising complex information of the environment around. Market-oriented thinking entails aligning the organisation towards the market which can by itself exist as a competitive advantage. All these elements have to work in tandem.
Moon also found 5 crucial implications from his research for firms to note.
Firstly, organizational culture, which includes management’s risk taking attitude and its CEO’s emphasis on strategic thinking, has a significant influence on the firm’s strategic thinking. Coupled together, these factors affect the position of the company towards radical product innovation.
Secondly, the formalisation and centralisation of the firm’s decision-making structure, and interdepartmental teams will affect organisational strategic thinking. Moon’s findings corroborated with another finding that high autonomy in the firm positively relates to market orientation. In contrast however, a separate research group found that a centralised decision-making structure spurred radical innovation. What is more important for firms to note is that in the midst of turbulent seasons, centralised rather than decentralised organizational structures prove to be more effective in nurturing organisational strategic thinking.
Thirdly, marketing and technological competencies are key contributors to strategic thinking. It pays dividends for a firm to develop these.
Fourthly, the huge impact of external unforeseen situations underscores the importance of incorporating impending market and technology turbulences into strategic thinking.
Fifthly, strategic thinking has a positive impact on marketing performance. It behooves managers to think strategically if they want to improve their marketing which in turn boosts the bottom line.
Moon’s paper “Antecedents and outcomes of strategic thinking” was published in November 2012 and can be found in the Journal of Business Research 66 (2013) 1698–1708, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2012.11.006
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