Strategic thinking in turbulent times

Constantin Bratianu 1
  • 1 The Bucharest University of Economic Studies, , Academy of Romanian Scientists, , Bucharest, Romania


The purpose of this paper is to present a structural analysis of strategic thinking spectrum in turbulent times. Business excellence cannot be achieved without a well-defined strategic thinking spectrum able to elaborate and implement strategies in a fast changeable and unpredictable business environment. Strategic thinking means to think for a desirable future which can be ahead 4-5 years of the present time and to make decisions to the best of our knowledge for that unknown business environment. Thus, the research question is: How can we conceive the spectrum of strategic thinking such that we shall be able to deal with a complex and unknown future in achieving a competitive advantage? The methodology used to answer this question is based on metaphorical thinking, and multidimensional analysis. I shall consider four main dimensions: time, complexity, uncertainty, and novelty. On each of these dimensions I shall analyze the known thinking models and their attributes with respect to request formulated in the research question. Then, I shall choose those thinking models that correspond to the future characteristics and integrate them in a continuous spectrum. On each dimension I shall consider three basic thinking models. On the time dimension they are: inertial, dynamic and entropic thinking. On the complexity dimension they are: linear, nonlinear and systemic thinking. On the uncertainty dimension they are: deterministic, probabilistic and chaotic thinking. Finally, on the novelty dimension we have: template, intelligent and creative thinking. Considering all requirements for the unknown future, we conclude that strategic thinking spectrum should contain: entropic, nonlinear and systemic, probabilistic and chaotic, intelligent and creative thinking models. Such a spectrum increases the capacity of our understanding and as a consequence it enhances the capability of making adequate decisions in conditions of complexity and uncertainty.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Atkins, P. (2010). The laws of thermodynamics: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

  • Bird, R.J. (2003). Chaos and life: Complexity and order in evolution and thought. Columbia University Press, New York.

  • Boroditsky, L. (2000). Metaphoric structuring: Understanding time through spatial metaphors. Cognition, 75, 1-28.

  • Bratianu, C. (2007). Thinking patterns and knowledge dynamics. In Remenyi, D. (Ed.). Proceedings of the 8th European Conference on Knowledge Management, Consorci Escola Industrial, Barcelona, Spain, 6-7 September 2007, pp. 152-156.

  • Bratianu, C. (2009). The frontier of linearity in the intellectual capital metaphor. In Stam, C. (Ed.). Proceedings of the European Conference on Intellectual Capital, Inholland University of Applied Sciences, Haarlem, Netherlands, 28-29 April 2009, pp. 97-103.

  • Bratianu, C. (2011). A new perspective of the intellectual capital dynamics in organizations. In Vallejo-Alonso, B., Rodriguez-Castellanos, A. and Arregui-Ayastuy, G. (Eds.). Identifying, measuring, and valuing knowledge-based intangible assets: New perspectives, pp. 1-21, IGI Global, Hershey.

  • Bratianu, C. and Orzea, I. (2013). The entropic intellectual capital model. Knowledge Management Research & Practice, 11(2), 133-141.

  • Burnes, B. (2009). Managing change. 5th Edition, Prentice Hall, London.

  • Christensen, C.M. (2003). The innovator’s dilemma. Harper Business Essentials.

  • De Bono, E. (1973). Lateral thinking: Creativity step by step. Harper Colophon Books, New York.

  • Dima, A. M., Hadad, S., & Cantaragiu, R. (2016). A conceptual analysis of business-university knowledge transfers in the energy field. ENERGY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND SUSTAINABILITY, 201-207.

  • Dima, A.M. and Vasilache, S. (2013). An analysis on the link between emerging markets MNES’ reputation and corporate social responsibility. In Leonard, L. and Gonzalez Perez, M.A. (Eds.). Principles and strategies to balance ethical, social and environmental concerns with corporate requirements, Vol.12, pp. 51-66. Advances in Sustainability and Environmental Justice.

  • Downes, L. and Nunes, P. (2014). Big bang disruption: Business survival in the age of constant innovation, Portfolio Pinguin, New York.

  • Gardner, H. (2006). Multiple intelligences: New horizons. Basic Books, New York.

  • Gladwell, M. (2005). Blink: The power of thinking without thinking. Back Bay Books, New York.

  • Gleick, J. (2008). Chaos: Making a new science. 20th Anniversary Edition. Penguin Books, New York.

  • Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligences. Bantam Books, New York.

  • Grondin, S. (2010). Timing and time perception: A review of recent behavioral and neuroscience findings and theoretical directions. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 72(3), 561-582.

  • Hastie, R. and Dawes, R.M. (2001). Rational choice in an uncertain world: The psychology of judgment and decision making. Sage, London.

  • Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York.

  • Knight, F.H. (2014). Risk, uncertainty and profit. Dover Publication, Mineola.

  • Kotter, J.P. (2012). Accelerate. How the most innovative companies capitalize on today’s rapid – fire strategic challenges – and still make their numbers. Harvard Business Review, November, 44-58.

  • Lefter, V., Bratianu, C., Agapie, A., Agoston, S. and Orzea, I. (2011). Intergenerational knowledge transfer in the academic environment of knowledge-based economy. Amfiteatru Economic, 13(30), 392-403.

  • Makridakis, S., Hogarth, R. and Gaba, A. (2009). Dance with chance: Making luck work for you. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

  • Miron, D., Dima, A.M. and Vasilache, S. (2009). Indexes of regional economic growth in post-accession Romania. Romanian Journal of Economic Forecasting, 11(3), 138-152.

  • Murgatroyd, S. (2015). How to rethink the future: Making use of strategic foresight, Collaborative Media Group, Alberta.

  • Nonaka, I. and Takeuchi, H. (1995). The knowledge-creating company: How Japanese companies create the dynamics of innovation. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

  • Senge, P. (1990). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. Random House, London.

  • Stacey, R.D. (2001). Complex responsive processes in organizations: Learning and knowledge creation. Routledge, London.

  • Syrett, M. and Devine, M. (2012). Managing uncertainty: Strategies for surviving and thriving in turbulent times, Profile Books, London.

  • Taleb, N.N. (2004). Fooled by randomness: The hidden role of chance in life and in the markets. 2nd Edition. Penguin Books, London.

  • Taleb, N.N. (2007). The black swan: The impact of the highly improbable. Penguin Books, London.


Journal + Issues