Creating a strategic fit for possible futures: Investigating the theoretical foundation for Scenario Planning

Christian Østergaard Jensen & Peter Filtenborg Mogensen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Scenario Planning is a widely recognized and applied tool throughout the international world of business. Since its creation in the 1960’s it has consolidated itself through its distinctive capabilities proving particular valuable for international businesses operating in volatile industries. In a world of constant change it can be a strategic advantage to assess how the business should react on a long-term basis. Alongside the increasing popularity, scholars have awarded it their attention, leading to diverse definitions within the field. The many perspectives brought forward have undoubtedly contributed to the development of the tool, but it has also populated the scene with many different opinions. In this thesis we investigate how the concepts of System Theory and Evolutionary Theory can be used to strengthen the foundation of Scenario Planning in regards to further research and business applicability. As a mode of application we demonstrate our ability to use the tool in practice by creating four scenarios for how the world situation might be in 2030 seen from the Shipping Industries point of view. We use this case to apply the concepts in an effort to make them tangible and give the reader an overview of how the concepts effect the organization. We adopt System Theory and Evolutionary Theory to investigate how organizations can improve the use of Scenario Planning by conducting a pre-assessment of their capabilities in order to get the optimal use of the scenarios. Performing this research establishes the theoretical roots needed, on which further research of the effectiveness of the scenario creation process can be conducted. On the basis of the research design we produce a series of innovative and insightful findings capable of strengthening already existing methodologies within the field. Apart from reflecting on the findings of the theoretical analysis, we create recommendations for Scenario Planning practitioners and business leaders making them capable of improving the perception of what the tool is, how it is dealt with, and how they can succeed in using it.

EducationsMSc in International Business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2015
Number of pages130