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Environmental scanning, futures research, strategic foresight and organizational future orientation: a review, integration, and future research directions


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In this paper we explore the current understanding on how firms explore future changes and trends as well as plan their managerial responses. We review literature in four research streams: (1) environmental scanning, (2) futures research, (3) peripheral vision, and (4) corporate/strategic foresight. Through the analysis of more than 250 articles we (a) trace the evolution over time, (b) highlight the linkages between the different research streams, and (c) give recommendations for future research. Overall we call for more cross-fertilization of the different research streams and a stronger linkage to adjacent research disciplines. Through such integration and linkage research should produce better recommendations for managers on how to build an organizational future orientation, drive organizational adaptation, and make their firms robust towards external discontinuous change.
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Environmental scanning, futures research, strategic foresight and organizational future orientation: a review, integration,
and future research directions
Rohrbeck, R. and M. Bade
ISPIM Annual Conference 2012, Barcelona, Spain
pg. 14
Environmental scanning, futures research, strategic
foresight and organizational future orientation: a
review, integration, and future research directions
René Rohrbeck*
Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus University, Fuglesangs Allé 4,
8210 Aarhus V, Denmark.
Manuel Bade
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Westring 425, 24118 Kiel,
* Corresponding author
Abstract: In this paper we explore the current understanding on how
firms explore future changes and trends as well as plan their managerial
responses. We review literature in four research streams: (1)
environmental scanning, (2) futures research, (3) peripheral vision, and
(4) corporate/strategic foresight. Through the analysis of more than 250
articles we (a) trace the evolution over time, (b) highlight the linkages
between the different research streams, and (c) give recommendations
for future research. Overall we call for more cross-fertilization of the
different research streams and a stronger linkage to adjacent research
disciplines. Through such integration and linkage research should
produce better recommendations for managers on how to build an
organizational future orientation, drive organizational adaptation, and
make their firms robust towards external discontinuous change.
Keywords: Environmental scanning, futures research, peripheral
vision, strategic foresight, corporate foresight, dynamic capabilities,
organizational ambidexterity, organizational adaptation.
In the last four decades the predictability of future developments have decreased
dramatically. Globalization led to the entrance of unknown competitors, the emergence of
the Internet has created global markets and now serves as a fast and inexpensive
marketing and distribution channel, risk capital allows small firms and new ventures to
become global players in months, and social networks have the power to turn niche
trends into huge markets within weeks. In consequence firms find it increasingly difficult
to retain their competitive advantage and survive in these dynamic environments [1, 2].
Electronic copy available at:
To succeed in dynamic environments firms can follow two major approaches: (1)
through planning and (2) through structural means. Structural means include, (a)
diversification in different business areas, thus balancing risk in one field with
opportunity in the other, (b) corporate venturing schemes, where the firm is creating
internal start-up companies and is counting on serendipity to bring out at least some very
successful new businesses [3, 4], and (c) ambidextrous organizational design, where part
of the company is focusing on managing the current business, while other parts explore
new business that might profit from external change [5, 6].
In this paper we focus however on the first alternative, i.e. enhancing planning, that
starts with identifying threats and opportunities early and subsequently translates these
future insights into managerial action. Our starting point is the proposition put forward by
Igor Ansoff that disruptive change can be anticipated by searching for weak signals,
interpreting these and triggering organizational responses [7]. While Ansoff’s work was
mostly concerned about strategic planning and management, we also expect that other
functions of the firm need to engage into future-related planning. Particularly marketing
has a role in spotting changes in customer behavior and needs [8] and innovation
management can for example plan future product generations on the basis of market
opportunities [8, 9].!!
Research on this future related planning has been conducted within different research
streams. Early work was primarily using the term environmental scanning emphasizing
the need for active search and the environment as the search target [10, 11]. Under the
term futures research scholars build primarily on the logic that the future is and will
remain uncertain, thus future-oriented planning should aim to explore possible futures
rather than trying to predict the one future [12, 13]. In the 2000s there was also some
research under the term peripheral vision, emphasizing similarly to environmental
scanning, that signals on discontinuous change need to be spotted outside the current
business and that firms need to build specific sensors to detect it [14, 15]. In recent years
the term strategic/corporate foresight has gained in popularity and will be regarded as a
fourth research stream in our analysis. In this latter research stream the focus is on the
process of translating future insights into managerial actions [2, 16].
Our overall research aim is to explore the current understanding on future-related
planning activities that are used to build a future orientation in the firm. In that respect we
Organizational future orientation (OFO) is the ability to identify and interpret
changes in the environment and trigger adequate responses to ensure long-term
survival and success.
Our research aim can be broken down into three sub-issues:
Identify key topics and findings within each research stream
Describe the relationship between the research stream
Give recommendations for future research
To identify relevant literature we use the Web of Science® (WoS) database that contains
all journals in the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI). That gives us a sufficiently broad
range of articles and ensures also a sufficient quality as SSCI listed journals are all
double-blind peer-reviewed and are among the leading journals in their research fields.
As keywords for our search we used the four research streams: (1) environmental
scanning, (2) futures research, (3) peripheral vision and (4) corporate/strategic foresight.
The latter one has been entered into the search as two keywords ‘corporate foresight’ and
‘strategic foresight’. We have decided to combine these two because an initial review of
articles has shown that the perspectives are similar. The only difference is that corporate
foresight is focusing exclusively on the firm perspective, while under strategic foresight a
high proportion of articles is discussing the perspective of national foresight activities, for
example to identify which future technologies yield the highest societal welfare potential
and thus which research should be supported by governmental subsidies and tax
Time-wise we decided to focus on the time after the early seminal work from Igor
Ansoff, as we could only identify very few other articles before 1980 and our research is
also aimed primarily at identifying the state-of-the-art and not trace back the historic
roots of the respected research streams. The last articles that we included were the once
published in November 2011.
To identify the relevant articles we used two filter, as can be seen in Figure 1. In the
first filter we used the keywords plus the subject area “business economics” in the WoS
database. This subject area includes all topics that are related to management science and
helped us thus to exclude all articles that had were discussing for example results form
foresight exercises in particular fields, thus not dealing with advancing the research on
foresight, but research in the particular field (for example the future of biotech). Through
this automated search and filtering we identified 259 articles.
Figure 1: Search process on the basis of the Web of Science database and manual filtering
This set of 259 however still included articles that related to future-related planning
from a national perspective, while we aim our analysis exclusively on the firm
perspective. To identify the articles on the firm perspective we reviewed the papers
manually. In most cases the abstract was already sufficient; in only a few reading through
the whole paper was required. At the end of this second filtering we had a set of 114
articles in total. The larges proportion was with 45 papers the environmental scanning
Environmental Scanning Futures research Peripheral vision Strategic/Corporate foresight
Automated filter
Selecting subject area ‘business economics’
Manual filter
Selecting articles on firm perspective
Article search with Web of Science
114 articles
entered our
content analysis
259 articles
identified through
database search
field, followed by futures research with 34, corporate/strategic foresight with 29, and
peripheral vision with 6 papers.
These 114 articles entered our content analysis, where all articles were reviewed,
classified concerning their methodology, empirical basis (where applicable), and major
findings. In addition the detailed review of the article content formed the basis of the
discussion of the evolution of the different research streams over time and the discussion
of the relationships between the research streams.
Literature on how firms explore their futures
When plotting the articles on a time scale, see Figure 2, we can see that the early research
was conducted only under the two terms environmental scanning and futures research.
The environmental scanning articles followed mostly the conceptual propositions form
Igor Ansoff [7] and tried to establish if and to what ends environmental scanning was
used [17, 18]. The articles were also predominantly empirical and often based on
quantitative analysis of survey data. The futures research articles where mostly
conceptual or literature reviews that aimed to build the frame on how to integrate the
‘multiple-futures’-logic into corporate and strategic planning [12, 19]. Another issue was
how to motivate the adoption of futures research and how to motivate for participation in
futures-research exercises [20, 21].
Figure 2: Development over time, number of articles published in the respective research streams
in the years 1980 2011.
The research streams peripheral vision and corporate/strategic foresight emerged as
important research streams only after 2000. The most influential authors in the peripheral
vision research stream are Day and Schoemaker, who have also created the term for a
conference and a special issue in the Long Range Planning journal. The emergence of the
research stream corporate/strategic foresight has been driven by a larger community of
scholars and has been growing much faster than the others.
10 18 17
8 15
1980-1989 1990-1999 2000-2011
Peripheral vision
Futures research
Environmental Scanning
In the following we want to discuss more into detail the major topics covered in the
different research streams.
Environmental Scanning
In an early work Hambrick proposes that environmental scanning activities should be
employed to focus more attention on trends and changes in the firm´s environment in
order to learn from these events [22]. Jain emphasizes that this is particular important for
large firms that need to deal with a rising complexity, both in the environment and
through the increase of complexity of internal structures. This raise complexity is
increasing the need for a systematic environmental scanning [23]. Jain further
emphasizes that firms need to scan not only in the technological but also in the social,
economic, and political environment [23]. Sawyer adds the uncertainty dimensions to the
reasons why firms need environmental scanning. He finds that scanning activities of
firms rise with the level of uncertainty perceived by its top management [24].
To enhance environmental perception, top management functional diversity is found
to have a positive impact [25]. Also specific techniques can be used such as the quick
environmental scanning technique of Nanus [26, 27] or the on-line computerized data
base search [28, 29]. Overall the aim is to use environmental scanning to enhance the
firm’s performance [30].
It has also been shown that even for small firms environmental scanning seems to pay
off [31]. For small firms, that can allocate less resources on formal environmental
scanning activities or invest into dedicated units, it is suggested that maintaining a
personal information network can be a good alternative [32]
Futures Research
The starting point for futures research is the paradigm that corporate planning under
uncertainty needs to move away from forecasting and predicting towards identifying
multiple possible futures [19, 33, 34]. These can than be used to plan flexible strategies,
increase strategic agility or assess the robustness of the firm’s strategy.
In the 1980 research contributions where primarily focused on establishing the
raison d’être”, i.e. the potential usefulness of futures research. Eppink [12] linked it to
corporate and strategic planning and emphasized the importance to continuously monitor
changes in the environment. Morris [35] pointed out its usefulness for product-planning.
Sims and Eden [20] emphasis the role of facilitating discussion in the management teams,
including the creation of shared believes and dealing with conflicts. Becker sees futures
research primarily as a tool to orchestrate and coordinate ideas from disperse sources.
And finally Masini [36] points at its transformative power, if applied in a project like
fashion, where desired futures are identified and later build together.
But there were also calls for increased focus of futures studies. Or as Amara [37] puts
In order to survive it [futures research] needs to dispense with its tendency to be ‘all
things to all people’
Linstone [38] also pointed already early at the difficulty to bridge the gap between
analysis and action. Decision-makers and planners are just not ready to deal with multiple
and often conflicting views of the future.
In the 1990s the focus was mainly on advancing methods and processes of futures
research [39, 40]. Helmer [41] suggests to use that more the new possibilities create
through the Internet, by for example enabling the use of a worldwide Delphi-Net (in
reference to the Delphi technique) that would help to support governmental and industrial
planning. Coates [42] emphasizes that the awareness of the corporation´s external
environment and long-term future is getting increasingly important in technology
planning. He adds that it is important not to focus entirely on the firm, but to analyze the
whole industry to identify factors that will drive its futures. A particularly interesting
path, which is still pursued today, is also the usage of complexity theory in futures
research [43, 44].
The call to connect futures research more with other management functions [45], has
however remained largely unanswered, at least from futures research scholars.
Peripheral Vision
In contrast to futures research, the research stream on peripheral vision has from the
outset been primarily concerned about the firm perspective. The basic proposition is that
that firms need to look for information that lies beyond their core business. Scanning for
technological and market developments is important for survival and retaining the long-
term competitiveness.
Day and Schoemaker have put the term peripheral vision forward for their special
issue in Long Range Planning of (2004, Volume 37, Issue 2). In addition to the special
issue they also organized a conferece at the Wharton School under the same term. The
conference brought together 100 practitioners and scholars. The special issue compiled a
set of interesting articles from leading scholars, primarily from the field of strategic
Day and Schomaker assume that firms are organized and managed in a way that
draws the attention of management towards the current business and the insight of the
firm. This results into a systematic ignorance to changes and events outside the firm.
They compare this situation to driving though fog and argue that special sensors are
needed to counterbalance this systematic ignorance [46]. This view is further emphasized
by the article from Sidney Winter in which she explains that firms tend to reemphasize
the sensors that made them successful, leading to in inadequacy of sensors in a new and
altered environment [47].
Heackel sees the need for new sensors to be routed even deeper. He argues that the
nature of business has changed from a “make-and-sell” to a “sense-and-respond”-
paradigm [8].
Prahalad points out, that organizations have an inherent dominant logic that keeps
them on the road, but also may act as a blinder towards change. While the dominant logic
is good for running the current business effectively and efficiently, it hinders the ability
of adaptation to environmental changes. To overcome this blinder, firms should focus on
next practices, use low cost experimentation, look beyond the borders of industries and
beyond geographical borders [48]. Another way to prevent such peripheral blindness is to
use teams for interpretation and ensure a sufficient diversity in team composition [49].
While the research under the term peripheral vision has generated important
contributions to the overall research field, the term as such has lost appeal in the research
community. The findings and proposition however continue to influence research today
and are mostly followed up and referenced in the research stream on corporate/strategic
Corporate/Strategic Foresight
It can be argued that corporate/strategic foresight (CF) can at least be traced back to the
propositions of Igor Ansoff, that strategic management will move towards real-time and
competitive advantage will be build on the basis of timely responses to external
(discontinuous) change [7]. Thus the argument for the need for CF capabilities is also
based on the need for firms to adapt to external change to retain their competitive
advantage [50]. In addition CF research has also draws on the methodology literature
from the broader (national and societal) foresight field.
As we have argued earlier CF has also become a term of choice for scholars that have
previously worked in the field of peripheral vision and futures research, giving it already
the function of consolidating the field. This shift of terminology can also be seen in the
increase of articles that are being published under the term corporate foresight. In Figure
2 CF research accounts already for over 40% of the overall field, while in the early
phases from 1980-1990 and from 1990-2000 none of the articles was published under the
CF term.
The research on CF builds on the proposition that firms need a continuous process for
identification and interpretation of change and triggering adequate organizational
responses [2, 51, 52]. In such a process the identification of weak signals and their
filtering and interpretation is crucial [53, 54]. It has also been noted that particularly the
interpretation should be done through top management as they are the only ones in a firm
that have a sufficiently high vantage point [55].
The outcome of CF activities can be an enhanced market intelligence [56-58],
enhances innovation capacity [9, 59, 60], enhanced competitive intelligence [61], the
identification of promising new business fields [16] and better strategic decision-making
A particular emphasis is put on the identification and management of wild cards, i.e.
events that are singular, sudden, surprising and shattering (serious and severe
consequences). A CF system or approach should thus be able to incorporate these rare but
high impact events into planning and in case of occurrence trigger the appropriate
managerial responses in a timely fashion [65-68].
The research stream has also produced a good collection of case studies of CF
practices, which reveal methods [69-72], approaches [73] as well as the organizational
outcomes [56, 57, 74]. Overall CF is expected to facilitate organizational interpretation
[75] and learning [76] and thus can be one of the key element to ensure organizational
adaptation in times of environmental change.
An integrated perspective on organizational future orientation
In Table 1 we have attempted to compare the different research streams concerning their
basic proposition, i.e. their dominant logic, the tools and techniques and the desired
outcome they seek.
Futures research
Peripheral vision
strategic foresight
needs to scan the
environment in
order to respond
to external change
The best way to
deal with
uncertainty is to
plan on the basis
of multiple
possible futures
Firms need to
develop specific
sensors to detect
change in the
periphery early in
order to be able to
retain their
Firms need to build
integrated systems
that allow
perceived change
into managerial
scanning by (top)
management, by
networking or
active search for
weak signals
Methods that
build on systems
logic and allow to
deal with multiple
Focus on the
establishment of
sensors that can be
build on methods,
processes or
A central process
that utilizes
foresight methods
and that is linked to
other functional
units such as
strategic and
Enhanced firm
Plan under
uncertainty and
the future
Fast response to
towards external
change, particular
for enhancing
strategic decision-
making and the
innovation capacity
Table 1: Comparison of the different research streams
By reviewing more than 30 years of scholarly research on organizational future
orientation we hope to contribute to the integration of the various research streams. In
addition we use the different lenses, provided by the research streams, to highlight their
major contributions to the overall understanding on how firms should deal with their
futures. By comparing them on their basic assumptions, their tools & techniques and their
desired outcomes, we wish to provide a basis for further integration of the research field.
As we have shown in Figure 2, the development over time seem already to point at an
integration of the different research streams under the common term corporate/strategic
foresight. In this integration it will be important to build on the knowledge on how firms
scan for change in their environment (environmental scanning perspective), how they
plan by using multiple possible futures, rather than predictions (futures research
perspective) how firms can build adequate sensors (peripheral vision perspective) and
how to tie these elements into and integrated organizational response system.
From the conceptual work of Daft and Weick [75] we know that an organizational
response might be generated along three phase, scanning (data collection), interpretation
(data given meaning), and learning (action). However the empirical evidence, particularly
from the corporate/strategic foresight research seems to suggest that firms still lack
systems that ensure that these steps can be taken repeatedly in order to ensure that all
relevant external change is perceived and response are triggered [74, 76, 77].
Future research directions
Integration with other research disciplines
In the discussion of the research streams we have already commented on their
relationship to broader research disciplines such as strategic and innovation management.
While environmental scanning has its roots and has always kept a direct link to strategic
management, corporate/strategic foresight is often referencing towards innovation
management literature. This latter link has its roots in the close relationship between
technology foresight and technology/R&D/engineering/innovation management. Another
link from foresight can also be traced towards marketing and particularly exploratory
marketing. Some reference foresight also to risk management, particularly concerning
discontinuous change and wild cards that translate into major threats for the firm’s
Futures research and peripheral vision have much less connection to other major
disciplines and are thus more reliant on their own basic theoretical propositions. This is a
lack which has been pointed out before [45, 78], but too few scholars have responded to
these calls.
We believe that particularly the strategic management theoretical frameworks can be
used to advance the field of organizational future orientation. Four theoretical frames can
be expected to be particularly useful: dynamic capabilities [79], strategic agility [80],
organizational ambidexterity [81, 82] and strategic adaptation [50]. Within the innovation
management discipline the areas radical innovation [83] and (technological) disruptions
[84] can be expected to have a close link.
Making these links would provide the organizational future orientation perspective
with powerful meta-frameworks. And in the other direction organizational future
orientation can advance the theoretical frameworks by contributing understanding about
the underlying micro processes.
Jointly building an understanding of Organizational Future Orientation
In contrast to economics the management research field is lacking a meta-model that
ties the different research streams together. This leads to a large variety of research topics
that often explore similar phenomena, but use different terms to describe them. If these
research streams stay ignorant towards the related or similar activities we run the risk to
continuously “re-invent the wheel”, fail to build on each other’s work and end up giving
conflicting recommendations to managers.
As we have shown in the analysis of the different research streams this is already
happening in the field that we choose to call organizational future orientation. The
problem is amplified by the lack of reference to meta-frameworks such as dynamic
capabilities (to just name one).
We believe that more effort is required to consolidate our terminology and theoretical
frameworks as well as to increase the cross-referencing between the different research
streams. It would also do a lot of good for advancing our research field, if we were to
conduct more studies to test and reproduce earlier findings rather than aiming to identify
and explore yet another phenomenon that lacks a connection to earlier findings.
Many research disciplines have profited from developing a meta-frame of reference.
One example is the new product development (NPD) best-practice framework, which
defines the maturity of a firm’s innovation management system [85]. The Organizational
Future Orientation field has also already two attempts to create such a maturity model:
Terry Grim’s “Foresight Maturity Model” [86] and René Rohrbeck’s “Maturity Model of
Organizational Future Orientation [87].
I believe that both models are not a final answer to the call for a suitable meta-frame
for our field, but they should provide a sound basis for discussion and are certainly an
open invitation to other scholars to join in the development.
We hope that many will join in this quest to mature our research field and link it to
the established management research disciplines.
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... Therefore, companies have a strong need to constantly increase both their awareness for and their responsiveness to external change by scanning their corporate environment for early and relevant signals of change (de Geus, 1997;von der Gracht et al., 2010;Durst & Durst, 2016). However, in most cases these signals are detected by chance rather than by a systematic approach, exposing companies to a risk that could well be prevented (Rohrbeck & Bade, 2012;Mühlroth & Grottke, 2022). ...
Full-text available
The early detection of and an adequate response to meaningful signals of change have a defining impact on the competitive vitality and the competitive advantage of companies. For this strategically important task, companies apply corporate foresight, aiming to enable superior company performance. With the growing dynamics of global markets, the amount of data to be analyzed for this purpose is constantly increasing. As a result, these analyses are often performed with an unreasonably high investment of financial and human resources, or are even not performed at all. To address this challenge, this paper presents a machine-learning-based approach to help companies identify early signals of change with a higher level of automation than before. For this, we combine a newly-proposed quantitative approach with the existing qualitative approaches by Cooper (stage-gate model) and by Rohrbeck (corporate foresight process). After a search field of interest has been defined, the related data is collected from web news sites, early signals are identified and selected automatically, and domain experts then assess these signals with respect to their relevance and novelty. Once it has been set up, the approach can be executed iteratively at regular time intervals in order to continuously scan for new signals of change. By means of three case studies supported by domain experts we demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach. After presenting our findings and discussing possible limitations of the approach, we suggest future research opportunities to further advance this field.
... L'environnement des entreprises est soumis à des changements constants et à des prises de décisions nombreuses. De nouveaux facteurs, souvent inconnus, déent les entreprises, qui ne peuvent s'appuyer le plus souvent que sur de l'information incomplète et asynchrone [RB12]. Les quantités importantes de données disponibles nécessitent le développement d'outils toujours plus performants capables d'analyser les dynamiques en jeu [Hil08]. ...
Ce manuscrit s’inscrit dans le cadre du développement d’une plateforme d’analyse automatique de documents associée à un service sécurisé lanceurs d’alerte, de type GlobalLeaks. Nous proposons une chaine d’extraction à partir de corpus de document, d’analyse semi-automatisée et de recherche au moyen de requêtes Web pour in fine, proposer des tableaux de bord décrivant les signaux faibles potentiels. Nous identifions et levons un certain nombre de verrous méthodologiques et technologiques inhérents : 1) à l’analyse automatique de contenus textuels avec un minimum d’a priori, 2) à l’enrichissement de l’information à partir de recherches Web 3) à la visualisation sous forme de tableau de bord et d’une représentation dans un espace 3D interactif. Ces approches, statique et dynamique, sont appliquées au contexte du data journalisme, et en particulier, au traitement, analyse et hiérarchisation d’informations hétérogènes présentes dans des documents. Cette thèse propose également une étude de faisabilité et de prototypage par la mise en œuvre d’une chaine de traitement sous forme d’un logiciel. La construction de celui-ci a nécessité la caractérisation d’un signal faible pour lequel nous avons proposé une définition. Notre objectif est de fournir un outil paramétrable et générique à toute thématique. La solution que nous proposons repose sur deux approches : statique et dynamique. Dans l’approche statique, contrairement aux approches existantes nécessitant la connaissance de termes pertinents dans un domaine spécifique, nous proposons une solution s’appuyant sur des techniques nécessitant une intervention moindre de l’expert du domaine. Dans ce contexte, nous proposons une nouvelle approche de modélisation thématique multi-niveaux. Cette méthode d’approche conjointe combine une modélisation thématique, un plongement de mots et un algorithme où le recours à un expert du domaine permet d’évaluer la pertinence des résultats et d’identifier les thèmes porteurs de signaux faibles potentiels. Dans l’approche dynamique, nous intégrons une solution de veille à partir des signaux faibles potentiels trouvées dans les corpus initiaux et effectuons un suivi pour étudier leur évolution. Nous proposons donc une solution d’agent mining combinant data mining et système multi-agents où des agents animés par des forces d’attraction/répulsion représentant documents et mots se déplacent. La visualisation des résultats est réalisée sous forme de tableau de bord et de représentation dans un espace 3D interactif dans unclient Unity. Dans un premier temps, l’approche statique a été évaluée dans une preuve de concept sur des corpus synthétiques et réelles utilisés comme vérité terrain. L’ensemble de la chaine de traitement (approches statique et dynamique), mise en œuvre dans le logiciel WILD, est dans un deuxième temps appliquée sur des données réelles provenant de bases documentaires.
... On the other hand, the fast-evolving nature of modern science and technology has made strategic planning more complex [16]. The incomplete and asynchronous information, in some cases, adds to this complexity [17]. These attributes along with the availability of advanced computer science algorithms provide new opportunities to gain better insights from S&T databases. ...
Full-text available
Emerging technologies can have major economic impacts and affect strategic stability. Yet, early identification of emerging technologies remains challenging. In order to identify emerging technologies in a timely and reliable manner, a comprehensive examination of relevant scientific and technological (S&T) trends and their related references is required. This examination is generally done by domain experts and requires significant amounts of time and effort to gain insights. The use of domain experts to identify emerging technologies from S&T trends may limit the capacity to analyse large volumes of information and introduce subjectivity in the assessments. Decision support systems are required to provide accurate and reliable evidence-based indicators through constant and continuous monitoring of the environment and help identify signals of emerging technologies that could alter security and economic prosperity. For example, the research field of hypersonics has recently witnessed several advancements having profound technological, commercial, and national security implications. In this work, we present a multi-layer quantitative approach able to identify future signs from scientific publications on hypersonics by leveraging deep learning and weak signal analysis. The proposed framework can help strategic planners and domain experts better identify and monitor emerging technology trends.
... Businesses operate in volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environments Schwarz, Rohrbeck, & Wach, 2019). The VUCA environment is expressed in the form of constantly new developed technologies (Kahaner, 1997), increasing technological modularity and complexity (Mons, Tapie, Mathieu, Dantin, & Chevassus, 2010), and continually adapting customer behavior (Rohrbeck & Bade, 2012;Tseng, 2009). Besides, new market entrants like start-ups (Schwarz et al., 2019) and cross-industry activities from companies previously outside of the industry have exposed companies to new forms of competition (Gushurst, Burkhart, & Schwieters, 2018). ...
Businesses have to deal with and survive in competitive, constantly changing landscapes due to new entrants and exogenous shocks like the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, decision-makers have to deal with staggering amounts of data produced in their corporate environment. Hence, research and practice have developed hybrid socio-technical systems of data mining and expert knowledge to identify competitors early on. To better understand the ergonomic design of such systems and how to integrate them in strategic management driven by artificial intelligence, we engaged in a systematic literature review to summarize the field and guide future research. We identified use cases, data source types, and algorithms that have been developed in 40 publications between 2002 and 2019. We found that existing approaches neglect to identify indirect and potential competitors at the periphery of a company’s vision. Such a blind spot exposes companies to increased risks of disruption, given that disruptive change often starts in the form of weak signals. Furthermore, we recommend using artificial intelligence to advance search strategies, allow document collection updates, and harmonize multiple data source types.
... Research that links foresight to strategic and organizational outcomes dates back to the 1960s [5], [40]. Iden et al. [41] discuss 59 articles that are positioned at the intersection of strategic foresight and strategy and among these dynamic capabilities theory features prominently. ...
Full-text available
Strategic foresight activities in both research and practice aim to identify superior courses of action in situations of future uncertainty and change. While the field has existed for more than 70 years and has its own concepts and methodologies, over time it has incorporated and used many of the theories and methods found in cognate fields, particularly in strategy and innovation management. The reverse is also true as these various areas of study have begun to adopt the frameworks of a maturing foresight field. However, these interfaces are frequently encapsulated and restrained by paradigmatic rigidity. The objective of this article is to raise awareness and build bridges across these parallel but often unconnected fields of research endeavor. In particular, we review traces of foresight in cognate literatures and highlight "forward-looking search" as a promising way to formulate a joint conversation. The papers of the IEEE-TEMS special issue on foresight in strategy and innovation management are introduced, with their particular contributions that echo our call to build bridges across closely associated fields.
... This futures orientation will, over time, enable scanning to be undertaken not as an occasional task, but in a continuing process that enables an organisation to consider short-and long-term potential impacts of change before decision making and action in the present (Bell & Mau, 1973, p. 19). That is, anticipating social change in this long-term sense is possible only when an organisation embeds an environmental scanning system in its operations (see for example, Choo, 1999;Rohrbeck & Bade, 2012;Voros, 2001). ...
Full-text available
A new Futures Conversations Framework (FCF) is proposed in this paper, one that draws on Integral Futures to integrate four types of conversations about futures – Self, Culture, Change and Futures – that each hold assumptions about how futures are understood and articulated in the present. The FCF is a design frame that seeks to ensure that any useful conversation about possible futures takes place in a space that surfaces and challenges these assumptions with the aim of expanding organisational discourses about futures and how those futures are used in the present. This paper is conceptual in nature and focuses on organisational futures and explores the nature and emphasis of each conversation before suggesting how an integrated framework can be used in practice to inform the design of foresight and futures processes to ensure as many assumptions about futures as is possible are identified in the present.
... The literature review focused on theoretical and empirical papers about the ways top-managers detect (perceive) and interpret weak signals. In line with other multi-disciplinary reviews, a two-step approach was chosen to develop a composite search result of papers from searches within distinct, yet related disciplines (El Akrouchi, Benbrahim, & Kassou, 2015;Forbes & Milliken, 1999;Rohrbeck & Bade, 2012;Rossel, 2012). The first step was designed to pinpoint the disciplines with substantial research on weak signals. ...
The research into the perception of early signals, the so-called weak signals, started in the field of strategic planning in the 1970s. Soon, research dispersed into new, specialized fields, such as foresight, sense-making, and entrepreneurial alertness. Each field used different terms for weak signals and framed the research in its own theoretical and methodological basis, which led to many different descriptions of weak signals. To put a stop to the growing number of definitions, this paper presents a contrarian approach. The usual simple combinations are likely to omit relevant meaning when underlying definitions only partially overlap. Therefore, his paper used a three-step approach including cluster analysis to unify 68 reviewed definitions into one. Cluster analysis includes more meaning by summarizing data. The analysis resulted in the defining of weakness in terms of distance to a perceiver's frame of reference. Distance explains the difficulty of perceiving weak signals more clearly than keywords like novel, ambiguous, or ill-defined. Distance also helps to quantify the amount of weakness in signals. Our approach may help others to find clarity and retain meaning when constructs are fuzzy. Defining weakness in distance opens up comparative studies between signals of various levels of weakness.
يعتبر تأثير الاستشراف الاستراتيجي في تحقيق استراتيجية متجددة توفر للمنظمات فرصة لاستدامة الميزة التنافسية وتأثير إدارة الموهبة في تعزيز ذلك من المواضيع المعاصرة ذات الاهتمام في الإدارة الاستراتيجية، للبحث هدفان رئيسيان، الأول قياس مستويات التطبيق لمتغيرات تشتمل اولا على الاستشراف الاستراتيجي، من خلال ثلاثة أبعاد هي (قابلية المسح البيئي، قابلية الاختيار الاستراتيجي وقابلية التكامل الاستراتيجي) باعتباره متغير مستقل، وثانيا على التجديد الاستراتيجي، من خلال أربع اليات للتجديد هي (الإنتعاش، المغامرة، تجديد الشباب وإعادة الهيكلة) وباعتباره متغير تابع، وثالثا على إدارة الموهبة من خلال ستة أبعاد هي ( تحديد الموهبة، جذب الموهبة، تطوير الموهبة، تفعيل أداء الموهبة، الاحتفاظ بالموهبة والتقييم والنمذجة). باعتبارها المتغير الوسيط ما بين المتغير المستقل والمتغير التابع. والهدف الرئيسي الثاني، تحديد دور الوساطة لإدارة الموهبة في تقوية تأثير الاستشراف الاستراتيجي على اليات التجديد الاستراتيجي، تم اختيار البنك المركزي العراقي كمنظمة مبحوثة، عليه، تم تقديم انموذج للبحث يتضمن أربع فرضيات أساسية للتأثير بين المتغير المستقل والتابع ودور المتغير الوسيط، واعتمدت الدراسة المنهج الوصفي التحليلي مدخلاً لوصف بيانات الدراسة وتفسير العلاقات بينها واستيعاب النتائج الميدانية المحتملة والناتجة عن العلاقات ما بين متغيرات الدراسة المختلفة. تم استعمال الاستبانة كأداة الدراسة الرئيسة، والمقابلات الشخصية المباشرة كأداة ساندة، فضلاً عن الاستعانة ببعض الأبحاث المتعلقة المنشورة في المجلة الخاصة بالمنظمة المبحوثة لتعزيز نتائج الدراسة. وقد تم تحليل بيانات الدراسة عبر مجموعة من البرامج الحاسوبية أهمها (SPSS & AMOS) مقياس ليكرت السباعي لتحديد مستويات تطبيق متغيرات الدراسة وتحديد مقدار الفجوة، ولقياس صدق بناء مقاييس الدراسة، وتحليل علاقات التأثير بينها. بينت نتائج الدراسة وجود مستويات مرتفعة لتطبيق متغيرات الدراسة الثلاثة مع وجود فجوات لأسباب معرفية و تطبيقية، واثبات وجود تأثير ايجابي للمتغير المستقل (الاستشراف الاستراتيجي) على المتغير التابع (اليات التجديد الاستراتيجي) بوساطة (إدارة الموهبة)، و تم إثبات صحة الأنموذج المقدم ضمن المنظمة المبحوثة، واستنتجت الدراسة ضرورة إدخال مناهج الاستشراف الاستراتيجي في الاستراتيجيات الحالية لضمان عملية تجديدها المستمر، اهمية تفعيل التقييم والمراجعة والنمذجة المستمرة في عملية ادارة الموهبة والتنضيج الميداني لآليات التجديد، تم تقديم توصيات فكرية وتطبيقية تدعم استدامة مستويات التطبيق المرتفعة للمتغيرات المبحوثة، تجاوز الفجوات في التطبيق، تقوية المؤثرات الايجابية لاختيار آليات تجديد استراتيجي الأفضل لاستدامة نجاح المنظمة المبحوثة.
Emerging technologies can have major economic impacts and affect strategic stability. Yet, early identification of emerging technologies remains challenging. In order to identify emerging technologies in a timely and reliable manner, a comprehensive examination of relevant scientific and technological (S&T) trends and their related references is required. This examination is generally done by domain experts and requires significant amounts of time and effort to gain insights. The use of domain experts to identify emerging technologies from S&T trends may limit the capacity to analyse large volumes of information and introduce subjectivity in the assessments. Decision support systems are required to provide accurate and reliable evidence-based indicators through constant and continuous monitoring of the environment and help identify signals of emerging technologies that could alter security and economic prosperity. For example, the research field of hypersonics has recently witnessed several advancements having profound technological, commercial, and national security implications. In this work, we present a multi-layer quantitative approach able to identify future signs from scientific publications on hypersonics by leveraging deep learning and weak signal analysis. The proposed framework can help strategic planners and domain experts better identify and monitor emerging technology trends.
Full-text available
This article reports the results of a study of the over training of apprentices by large manufacturers in the Middle East countries. The term over training was traditionally used to refer to the way in which nationalized industries trained more apprentices than they needed, with the surplus being released at the end of their training to find another employer .in contrast, the evidence reported in this article indicates that over training now typically involves large employers helping to train apprentices who are employed and paid by other firms from the outset. The project examines the extent and nature of over training, the reason why employers become involved in over training, and policy implications. The evidence suggest that over training can increase the number of high-quality apprenticeships. Large employers need to be made more aware of over training. Government can help and promote overtraining via its catapult centers.
Full-text available
Dynamic capabilities have been proposed as a useful way to understand how organizations are able to adapt to changes in technology and markets. Organizational ambidexterity the ability of senior managers to seize opportunities through the orchestration and integration of existing assets to overcome inertia and path dependence, is a core dynamic capability. While promising, research on dynamic capabilities and ambidexterity has not yet been able to specify the specific mechanisms through which senior managers are actually able to reallocate resources and reconfigure assets to simultaneously explore and exploit. Using interviews and qualitative case studies from thirteen organizations, this article explores the actions senior managers took to implement ambidextrous designs and identify which ones helped or hindered them in their attempts. A set of interrelated choices of organization design and senior team process determine which attempts to build ambidextrous organizations are successful.
Full-text available
The spin-along approach is a combination of internal and external corporate venturing elements and its goal is to support corporations' innovative performance. We argue that corporations can successfully implement spin-along approaches in their organisation by means of ambidextrous corporate venturing. The results from four case studies reveal that corporations must apply complementary ambidexterity's antecedents to use spin-along as a deliberate exploring and exploiting tool to achieve higher innovative performance. Managing spin-alongs requires a coordinating and moderating management layer between the parent firm and the spin-alongs; this layer requires entrepreneurial as well as ambidextrous skills. Propositions are developed on the basis of the case study results, and are illustrated in a conceptual framework.
This article deals with the use of the new paradigm of complexity for futures research. The introduction of the ideas of complex thinking in futures research has been characterized by epistemological lacunae and contradictions. The main shortcomings derive from the superficial application of physical concepts to social sciences and the univocal theoretical approach to futures studies, The methodology of social sciences, instead, can help us to find critical arguments and correct indications for consistent futures research. Copyright (C) 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd
Three gaps in the present futures research methodology are presented as a challenge to workers in the field. In the author's opinion, the elimination of these deficiencies would quite markedly enhance the applicability of futures research to long-range planning.
Environmental scanning is generally viewed by strategic management scholars as a prerequisite for formulating effective business strategies. Moreover, effective scanning of the environment is seen as necessary to the successful alignment of competitive strategies with environmental requirements and the achievement of outstanding performance. This study of small manufacturing firms competing in a wide variety of industries examines the effect of the frequency and scope of environmental scanning on environment-competitive strategy alignment. Results suggest that obtaining information on several aspects of specific environmental sectors (for example, customers, competitors, suppliers) facilitates alignment between some competitive strategies and environments (that is, industry life cycle stages) whereas the frequency of scanning has no effect on such alignments.
Market analysts and marketing strategists stress understanding the fundamental dynamics of a market, but how deeply do they think about the interplay of such fundamentals and what frameworks do they use in such thinking? How do business schools teach managers to think this way? The premise of this article is that in their strategizing, senior marketing executives, boards of directors, consultants, and financial analysts should see the market and the firm’s embeddedness in a market as a moving video rather than a static snapshot. The authors propose that what makes the video move are fundamental feedback effects that create the evolutionary paths that a market and a firm may travel. A taxonomy of systemic feedback regularities is presented with applications that demonstrate how the taxonomy and proposed soft mapping techniques can be use to construct dynamic mental models that help managers and consultants improve their dynamic strategic thinking and the strategic foresight of firms.
Modern strategic planning systems increasingly confront two difficulties: strategic information about impending threats and opportunities is perceived too late to permit timely and effective response; and the corporate planning cycle is too long to permit timely response to fast-developing events. In response to the first difficulty, the author develops a technique for early identification of early strategic signals and a method for matching the firm's response to the quality of information. In response to the second problem, a real time planning system, called strategic issue management, is developed.
Strategic discontinuities and disruptions usually call for changes in business models. But, over time, efficient firms naturally evolve business models of increasing stability - and therefore rigidity. Resolving this contradiction can be made easier by developing three core meta-capabilities to make an organization more agile: strategic sensitivity, leadership unity and resource fluidity. This article reviews the underlying determinants of these capabilities, based on detailed research undertaken in a dozen companies who were re-conceiving their business models - among others, Nokia, easyGroup, HP, SAP and Kone are used as examples. We propose a repertoire of concrete leadership actions enabling the meta-capabilities needed to accelerate the renewal and transformation of business models. To organize our argument we borrow the three main dimensions of the strategic agility framework presented in our earlier work, and develop corresponding vectors of leadership actions, each of which can enhance a firm's ability to renew its business models.