Strategic thinking: an exploration

Downs, J 2013, Strategic thinking: an exploration, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Management, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Strategic thinking: an exploration
Author(s) Downs, J
Year 2013
Abstract This thesis explores the intersection between cartography and business management. Strategy-As-Practice proponents argue that an organisation doesn’t have a strategy, it enacts one through, among other things, the micro practices of individuals. This research explores how senior managers undertake their strategy-making praxis and concentrates specifically on strategic thinking. Utilising cartography as a lens through which to examine managers’ strategic thinking practices, this research provides insight into how managers can better undertake their strategic thinking praxis by utilising an understanding of maps and mapping. One of the key findings in this research is that maps and mapping techniques are part of a specific epistemology and that the epistemic technologies of mapping can be adapted to help strategic thinkers undertake their praxis. The other contribution that this thesis makes is in the area of research methodology. Using a case study approach to investigate the strategic thinking praxis of four senior managers from different industries, the methodology combined the use of co-learning agreements and an instructional design framework to develop a novel research methodology. Co-learning agreements recognise that the researcher and research participants are intimately linked and that each has something to learn from the other. The Learning By Design framework was used to structure the data co-generation phases of the research, thus building on the co-learning agreements and guiding the progression of the research. Managers were interviewed about their strategy making praxis and the co-generated data was analysed using a template analysis. Cartographic concepts were used as a lens to interpret the data. A model consisting eleven elements of an epistemic technology of strategic thinking is presented. This research offers the eleven map-making elements as an open-ended scaffold for individuals and teams to think and plan strategically (together) without ever prescribing either process or 'content'. At the same time, these elements offer a shared professional language for describing and understanding Strategy-As-Practice. They will function as enablers of clearer, more thoroughly thought-through and explicit strategy for thinking/making ‘out loud’. The findings in this thesis add to the knowledge of the Strategy-As-Practice and the organisational research disciplines and suggestions for future research avenues are provided.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Management
Keyword(s) Strategic thinking
epistemic technology
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Created: Fri, 02 May 2014, 13:13:16 EST by Lynne Johns
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