The Chinese Strategic Mind

The Chinese Strategic Mind

Hong Liu

This book addresses the fundamental issue: does the Chinese strategic mind have its own idiosyncrasies which differ considerably from those of the Western mind? It expounds and unravels the particular characteristics of the Chinese strategic mind: what they are, how they are evolved and what strategic implications they have. This book adopts a holistic approach to an analysis of Chinese strategic thinking, drawing upon the fields of literature (including the sources of both the Chinese and English languages), military studies, political science, history, sociology, psychology, philosophy, linguistics and business strategy. It combines a detailed consideration of these disciplines with a series of case studies to elucidate the formation, nature and crucial managerial implications of the idiosyncratic Chinese strategic mind.

Chapter 2: Existing knowledge of strategic thinking

Hong Liu

Subjects: business and management, asia business, business leadership, organisational behaviour, strategic management


A serious discussion about strategic thinking or the ‘strategic mind’ would be meaningless without looking into its relationship with strategy. Because of the intrinsic connection between the two concepts, it is of paramount importance to have a good understanding of the latter. At the core of strategy is the postulate that the strategic choice of a firm determines its performance. As Cusumano and Markides (2001) observe: Behind every successful company there is a strategy that works. Managers may have developed this strategy through formal analysis, trial and error, intuition, or even pure luck. No matter how it has emerged, strategy underpins the success of any company. A common contemporary definition of strategy in the military field is as ‘being about maintaining a balance between ends, ways, and means; about identifying objectives; and about the resources and methods available for meeting such objectives’. ‘Strategy’ is a term whose origin is rooted in antiquity. John Collins, Director of Military Strategy Studies at the US National War College, regards Sun Tzu (400–320 bc), an ancient Chinese strategist, as the precursor of strategy with his landmark treatise, The Art of War.

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