Literature Review of Strategic Foresight and Scenario Planning

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LITERATURE REVIEW OF STRATEGIC FORESIGHT AND SCENARIO PLANNING

Introduction
In an increasingly uncertain global economic climate, the challenges facing businesses today have changed significantly over the past few decades, and equally so have academic perspectives and topical management trends.

With consumers becoming more sophisticated and demanding than ever, in addition to technology advancing at such a rapid pace, it appears crucial for leaders of industry to utilize a multitude of business tools and conceptual frameworks in order to maintain viable sustainability.

Examining and exploring the potential external conditions and future possibilities of the global and local market places, in addition to the relevant industry trends is virtually an essential undertaking for any business hoping to survive and succeed in the future.

There are a variety of methodologies and conceptual practices proposed and documented to enable organisations achieve these particular objectives. This document aims to identify and critique the vast array of academic literature upon the specific topics of scenario planning and strategic foresight, including the key themes and chronological developments.

Illustrating the academic progression, exploring the significance of the historic and contemporary approaches and international theoretical differences, assessing their pertinent effectiveness and providing relevant recommendations for implementation are the primary objectives of this paper.

This manuscript provides a detailed academic review of the relevant literature, including an investigative analysis, critical evaluation and coherence synthesis of the tensions and developments between these two particular approaches to strategic management.

The structure of this paper consists of detailed appropriate definitions of the chosen terms, a brief exploration of the related background, a series of analytical evaluations of relevant academic journals upon the concurring key themes investigating the conceptual frameworks, context, magnitude and significance of the appropriate research, concluded with reflective analysis and recommendations.

The rationalization for reviewing the selected topics emerged from dynamic entrepreneurial interest and fascination into the impact and importance of future and forward thinking methodologies.

Definitions of terms
[A review of SP lit]
Scenario Planning
Different scholars have historically provided varying definitions in an attempt to further our understanding of the scenario planning approach. Porter (1985) suggests that it is the process of recognizing future possibilities, rather than adopting precise predictions. Schwatz (1991) details this method as a mechanism for organizing an individual’s awareness of future capabilities in order to determine a person’s ability to choose relevant outcomes. Ringland (1998) refers to scenario planning as a key intricacy with regards to planning strategically for the future, and Schoemaker (1995) argues that it is specifically related to a companies “disciplined methodology for imagining possible futures” (Chermack, Lynham & Ruona, 2001)

One thing is for certain following reviewing the literature there is evidently a need for universal clarity towards defining exactly what Scenario Planning actually entails. However the underlying recurring theme firmly relates to an association with influencing an organisations ability to make coherent choices about future operations and activities with relation to the external unseen environment.

Strategic Foresight
[Towards a best-practice framework for strategic foresight]
Strategic foresight is also viewed and referenced in a variety of altering perspectives, and is considered to include a number of different elements. Slaughter (1998) acknowledges the approach as an organisational capability, allowing companies to assess the future by utilizing relevant knowledge in a constructive...
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