Simpler Scenarios

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  • Topic: Scenario planning, Management, Scenario
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Management Decision
Emerald Article: Simpler scenarios David Mercer

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To cite this document: David Mercer, (1995),"Simpler scenarios", Management Decision, Vol. 33 Iss: 4 pp. 32 - 40 Permanent link to this document: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00251749510084662 Downloaded on: 27-11-2012 References: This document contains references to 5 other documents Citations: This document has been cited by 18 other documents To copy this document: permissions@emeraldinsight.com This document has been downloaded 802 times since 2005. *

Users who downloaded this Article also downloaded: *
Kippenberger, T, (1999),"Pitfalls in scenario planning", The Antidote, Vol. 4 Iss: 4 pp. 32 - 33 http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/EUM0000000006712 David H. Mason, James Herman, (2003),"Scenarios and strategies: making the scenario about the business", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 31 Iss: 1 pp. 23 - 31 http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/10878570310455024 Stephen M. Millett, (2003),"The future of scenarios: challenges and opportunities", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 31 Iss: 2 pp. 16 - 24 http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/10878570310698089

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Simpler scenarios
David Mercer Scenario forecasting as a technique for long-range planning must be kept simple to be effective

Development of a practical approach to scenario forecasting to guide strategy was initiated by Wack[1] in 1971 at the Royal Dutch Shell group of companies – and it was given impetus by uncertainty resulting from the oil shock two years later. Unfortunately, in common with most forms of long-range forecasting, the use of scenarios has now declined markedly. Indeed, it has become the province of only a handful of private-sector organizations; and Shell remains almost alone among them in keeping the technique at the forefront of its long-range planning. It is possible that some part of this reduction in use arose from the shortening of planning horizons which accompanied the deepening recession in the early 1990s. On the other hand, the evidence suggests that the technique’s fall from favour started rather earlier than this, and was at least as much the result of the complexity of the process itself, which could no longer be supported when the large corporate planning departments were disbanded, and many of their responsibilities passed to line management, earlier in the 1980s. Whatever the reason, the resulting lack of scenario forecasting skills in most organizations may now prove to be an embarrassment as the recession eases over the next few years and managements once more start to consider their long-term futures. The position may prove doubly embarrassing where there are so many discontinuities now lying in wait for the unwary. A number of revolutionary forces are converging on the millennium. Post-modernism, post-materialism, postFordism and now post-politics, all with rather different implications for an organization, are set to peak at the...
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