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Corporate Foresight and Dynamic Capabilities: An Exploratory Study


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Firms engage in forecasting and foresight activities to predict the future or explore possible future states of the business environment in order to preempt and shape it (corporate foresight). Similarly, the dynamic capabilities approach addresses relevant firm capabilities to adapt to fast change in an environment that threatens a firm's competitiveness and survival. However, despite these conceptual similarities, their relationship remains opaque. To close this gap, we conduct qualitative interviews with foresight experts as an exploratory study. Our results show that foresight and dynamic capabilities aim at an organizational renewal to meet future challenges. Foresight can be regarded as a specific activity that corresponds with the sensing process of dynamic capabilities. The experts disagree about the relationship between foresight and sensing and see no direct links with transformation. However, foresight can better inform post-sensing activities and, therefore, indirectly contribute to the adequate reconfiguration of the resource base, an increased innovativeness, and firm performance.
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Corporate Foresight and Dynamic Capabilities:
An Exploratory Study
Lisa-Marie Semke and Victor Tiberius *
Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Potsdam, 14482 Potsdam, Germany;
Received: 5 May 2020; Accepted: 22 May 2020; Published: 1 June 2020
Firms engage in forecasting and foresight activities to predict the future or explore possible
future states of the business environment in order to pre-empt and shape it (corporate foresight).
Similarly, the dynamic capabilities approach addresses relevant firm capabilities to adapt to fast
change in an environment that threatens a firm’s competitiveness and survival. However, despite
these conceptual similarities, their relationship remains opaque. To close this gap, we conduct
qualitative interviews with foresight experts as an exploratory study. Our results show that foresight
and dynamic capabilities aim at an organizational renewal to meet future challenges. Foresight can
be regarded as a specific activity that corresponds with the sensing process of dynamic capabilities.
The experts disagree about the relationship between foresight and sensing and see no direct links
with transformation. However, foresight can better inform post-sensing activities and, therefore,
indirectly contribute to the adequate reconfiguration of the resource base, an increased innovativeness,
and firm performance.
Keywords: corporate foresight; dynamic capabilities; forecasting; Germany
1. Introduction
Firms are competing in a so-called VUCA business environment which is characterized by high
degrees of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity [
] as well as hypercompetition
Discontinuities caused by the omnipresent digitization in most industries [
] but also by
unforeseeable events such as the COVID-19 crisis [
] challenge firms existentially. Adapting
to these changing conditions by being agile determines the success of the company [15,16].
Several management concepts provide specific lenses, tools, and techniques which can help firms
survive and better perform under such conditions. Among them, two predominant ones are corporate
foresight (CF) and the dynamic capability (DC) approach. CF explores possible future scenarios to cope
with uncertainty [
]. In that sense, it exceeds forecasting activities which usually aim at predicting
the most probable future [
]. Such strategic intelligence is the basis for informed decision making and
increased innovativeness [
] to create a competitive advantage [
] and increase profitability [
Similarly, DCs address the temporality of competitive advantages based on an outdating resource
base that has to be renewed permanently [
]. More generally, DCs are a firm’s capabilities to adapt to
a changing business environment in order to renew competitive advantages [2729].
While considerable research has been carried out on both concepts, the joint analysis of CF and DC
is under-explored. Despite the obvious similarities in the problems they address and in their general
logic, the two concepts surprisingly seem to remain almost separated in scholarly literature. Hardly
any scientific paper mentions both concepts simultaneously. As an exception, Heger and Boman argue
that the DC approach and CF have in common that they try to incorporate external sources [
]. Even
though the authors integrate both concepts, they do not provide a systematic analysis of how both
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concepts are related. Rhisiart et al. find that a firm’s engagement in scenario planning can strengthen
parts of DCs [31]. Fergnani argues that CF is a future-oriented firm capability which can enhance the
DC framework [
]. Schwarz et al. conceptualize corporate foresight trainings as a microfoundation
of dynamic capabilities [
]. Haarhaus and Liening consider foresight as an important antecedent of
firms’ dynamic capabilities, fostering strategic flexibility and decision rationality [34].
Therefore, systematic research on the relationships between CF and DCs is scarce. We address
this research gap with our exploratory study that aims at a better understanding of the links between
both concepts, by conducting qualitative interviews with foresight experts. In the absence of prior
empirical research, we chose a qualitative research design to generate propositions rather than testing
hypotheses [35,36].
Our results show that both concepts aim at an organization’s renewal to meet future challenges.
CF can be regarded as a specific activity that corresponds with the sensing process of DCs. The experts
disagree about the relationship between CF and seizing and see no direct links between CF
and transformation. However, CF can better inform post-sensing DC activities and, therefore,
indirectly contribute to the adequate reconfiguration of the resource base, an increased innovativeness,
and firm performance.
Our findings contribute to both CF and DC research by linking both fields and deepening the
understanding of their relationships. DC research can benefit from the in-depth knowledge about
foresight processes and practices. Besides these theoretical contributions, the results can help firms to
better integrate their strategic intelligence with pursued change processes.
The paper is structured into three main sections. In the second section, a theoretical overview of CF
and DCs is presented. However, we deliberately dispensed with a thorough literature review because,
in accordance, with the qualitative research setting, we wanted to enter the expert interviews with as
little prior theoretical knowledge as possible. We therefore limit our focus on the two concepts’ practical
purpose, working definitions, and sub-concepts in order to structure the interviews. In the third
section, the research methodology is presented, followed by the findings in the fourth section derived
from the data analysis. Subsequently, these results are critically discussed. Finally, the managerial
implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research are pointed out.
2. Theoretical Background
The characteristic of qualitative research is to not have a high level of prior knowledge, which
is why only a brief literature review was carried out before conducting the interviews in order to
gain a general understanding of the concepts and to structure the interview questions based on this
basic knowledge. The academic research databases Web of Science as well as EBSCOhost were selected
to execute a structured keyword search. The search aimed at the identification of state-of-the-art
review articles and highly cited seminal papers, preferably published in the year 2000 or later. For CF,
the keywords “foresight”, “strategic foresight”, and “corporate foresight” were searched for in the title.
The use of truncations helped to include all possible forms of spellings as well as singular and plural
forms of the keyword. Other synonyms, for instance “futures studies” or “futures research”, were not
included in the search string, as they are associated with another research tradition which is not only
focused on business and management. Subsequently, the abstracts and articles were manually screened
for their relevance to our study. The literature search on DC was conducted similarly, only using the
keyword “dynamic capability” or “dynamic capabilities”. Overall, more high-quality research exists
on DC.
2.1. Corporate Foresight
Rather than a mere process, CF, sometimes also ‘strategic foresight’ [
] or just ‘foresight’, is
considered as a firm capability [
] that comprises a set of future-oriented activities like scenario
planning, road mapping or Delphi studies, only to mention some key activities, with the aim of
handling environmental uncertainty [
]. For this purpose, the market environment is scanned and
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monitored to detect and analyze relevant drivers of change in order to identify discontinuous change,
as well as possible technological changes and trends which shape the firm’s evolving future context.
The challenge is not only to recognize what is changing but also to evaluate the impact of this change
for one’s own firm [
]. The implications for the business and corporate strategy on how to respond
to future events are evaluated resulting in knowledge which helps top managers to lead the company
into the future [
]. This knowledge is integrated into strategic decisionmaking processes to be able to
anticipate these emerging threats and opportunities at an early stage by altering the organization’s
strategy [20,25,38].
CF exceeds forecasting [
]. While natural processes often can be forecasted because they are based
on causal links, social changes are based on human intentions, social interactions, and coincidence [
In contrast to forecasts with the goal of a clear future prediction, the term CF stands for the consideration
of multiple possible futures. Hence, CF is conceptualized as a firm’s capability to use a set of practices
which is concerned with what possible future scenarios might look like. They enable firms to sense
trends faster than competitors and to gain a deeper understanding about the eects of these trends [
From these probable scenarios, the most eective options for action and design are derived. In this
way, the risk of short-sightedness is to be reduced. In addition, it is intended to foster the ability
of companies to anticipate events before they actually occur and, at best, to actively shape their
development, thus strengthening the firm’s ability to learn and innovate ahead of its competitors.
In brief, firms should learn from the multiple futures, make strategic decisions and, with the
help of these decisions, secure their long-term competitiveness and survival. Firms must exploit the
environmental changes in the long run, which is why CF has a strategic character [19,20,37,38,41].
2.2. Dynamic Capabilities
Teece et al. are regarded as the founders of the DC approach, having extended the resource-based
view (RBV) through a dynamic perspective [
]. The RBV states that companies can create and maintain
a sustainable competitive advantage in stable environments from resources that are valuable, rare,
inimitable, and organized [42]. In contrast, the DC approach describes the adaptation of the resource
portfolio in turbulent environmental conditions. It thus describes the potential of companies to adapt
to changing environmentals by tailoring and further enhancing internal resources as well as integrating
external resources to seize opportunities [
]. Due to the characteristics of the VUCA world,
a firm’s resource base has to adapt to changed conditions to create value and generate a competitive
advantage [43].
In his later work, Teece extended this view by refining the DC conceptualization through
a three-step approach [
]. First, opportunities and threats are sensed by scanning the external
environment to obtain market, technological, and competitive information from outside and inside the
company (sensing). Second, a strategic response to the detected opportunities has to be formulated
(seizing). Third, the firm carries out the implications for action, which involves enhancing, combining,
reallocating, and reconfiguring the tangible and intangible assets (transforming) in order to sustain
profitable growth and maintain competitiveness (Figure 1).
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Figure 1. Dynamic Capabilities [28].
However, the creation of a strategic competitive advantage is not based on having DCs alone
but in using the capabilities earlier than competitors to create resource configurations that provide
superiority over the competition [28,29,43].
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In summary, DC include the functions of identifying market and technological change,
anticipatipating these developments, and implementing means of action at an early stage with
the aim of altering the resource base [
]. DCs enable organizations to “continuously create, extend,
upgrade, protect, and keep relevant the enterprise’s unique asset base” ([
] p. 1319), constituting “the
firm’s ability to integrate, build, and reconfigure internal and external competences to address rapidly
changing environments” ([29] p. 516). Hence, DCs are decisive for the survival of a firm [43].
3. Research Methodology
The objective of our research is to obtain an ‘understanding’ [
] about the links between CF
and DCs as organizational phenomena in the real world [
]. Since this constitutes an unexplored
topic, qualitative expert interviews were conducted. This explorative approach can inductively gain
additional primary material, discover new facts, and generate propositions which can be examined
for their validity in subsequent studies [
]. Therefore, this open-ended approach can extend the
existing theory [
], especially by filling theoretical gaps and connecting previously unconnected
theories [
]. The present study does not formulates propositions. The individual insights from the
interviews are not of interest for the research but the conclusions that can be drawn from the data are.
Therefore, our methodology—building on rudimentary prior theoretical knowledge and searching fo
rnew analytical insights [
]—is in the tradition of ‘theory elaboration’, as coined by Lee et al. and
Maitlis [49,51], meaning a partly deductive and partly inductive approach [5254].
Qualitative studies are particularly suitable for in-depth analyses of organizational processes [
] and thus capabilities associated with these processes. In particular, we were able to closely
capture foresight experts’ subjective experiences and interpretations of CF, DCs, and their links. Since
these concepts are rather abstract categories, the interviews could also add vividness, concreteness,
and richness to the phenomena and their relations [47,48,56].
3.1. Sample and Data Collection
We employed a purposive sampling technique for in-depth analyses [
]. We selected seven
foresight experts from Germany (Table 1). We collected and analyzed the data right after collection
and continued until reaching a saturation point, i.e., no substantial additional insights could be
gained [
]. A similar, recent investigation—exploring the links between CF and eectuation—was
based on interviews with seven futurists and four entrepreneurs [
]. We aimed for maximum variation
while following the principles of appropriateness and adequacy [
]. This sampling approach
allows us to find information not only about general trends among the respondents but possibly also
about contrasting data [57].
Two interviews were carried out by telephone and five face-to-face, all in German. They lasted
between 25 and 60 min.
A semi-structured interview form was chosen which covered a framework of themes along an
interview guideline with predetermined open questions [
]. This interviewing technique is favored
to gain insights from individuals who are aected by the research phenomenon [
]. It constitutes
the most frequently used qualitative research method [
]. The interview guideline standardizes the
interviewer’s actions, since the questions are basically the same for each interview. The involvement
of the interviewer therefore is rather minimal. The respondents’ statements potentially enable the
researcher to find new concepts instead of arming existing ones [35].
The open-ended questions allowed the interviewees to answer with their own words and did
not provide them with predefined answers. The questions had to be answered in each interview but
both the order and the wording of the questions depended on the course of the conversation in order
to create a natural conversation situation [
]. By using an interview guideline, it is ensured
that all relevant information is collected in a similar way to enable a better data analysis thereafter.
Moreover, the guideline helped to focus on the answering of the research questions as time was limited.
All questions were re-examined in terms of their relevance and focus on the research question and
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tested in an initial interview. The pre-test confirmed that the questions were comprehensible, in a
useful order, and answerable.
Table 1. Sample Overview.
Coding Industry Position
I1 Consulting company, focus: automotive industry Founder and Managing Director
I2 Consulting company, focus: various industries
(e.g., automotive, chemistry, public sector)
Founder and Managing Director
I3 Consulting company, focus: automotive industry Founder and Managing Director
I4 Corporate innovation unit, chemical industry Foresight Manager
I5 Consulting company, focus: various industries
(e.g., logistics, aviation, automotive chemistry)
Founder and Managing Director
I6 Consulting company, focus: various industries
(e.g., food, energy, the public sector)
Founder and Managing Director
I7 Consulting company, focus: various industries
(e.g., energy, transport, healthcare)
Associate Director, Leader of
Foresight Europe
As an opening to the interview, the objective of the study was presented, explaining that the aim
was to examine the relationships between DCs and CF. The interviewees were guaranteed anonymity
of the given responses to ensure that no conclusions on individual respondents or companies can be
drawn and that personal data are protected. The initial questions on the background of the participants
and their typical activities in foresight served as a start to the conversation because they could easily
be answered and ideally made each respondent comfortable about the interview situation. Using a
question about typical activities of foresight experts, the respondents were asked what precisely they
understand the term CF to mean. The second question addressed the respondents’ understanding
of the concept of DCs. In several cases, the interviewees had their own interpretation of the term
but were not familiar with the scholarly understanding of it. In these cases, the interviewer gave a
short explanation about the concept. The two subsequent questions focused on the impact of CF on
the renewal of competitiveness and the renewal of the firm’s resource. Successively, the interview
participants were open-endedly asked about their views on the relationships between the three DC
sub-processes (sensing, seizing, and transforming) and CF. The final question addressed the abstract
relationship between the two concepts.
3.2. Data Analysis
Data analysis was employed by a constant, comparative method [66,67] which consisted of data
comparison, deduction, conclusions, and verification [68].
In the first step, the interviews were transcribed with the software f5transkript. Colloquial
langue was adjusted to standard spelling whilst retaining the sentence form. In addition, word and
sentence breaks (“/”) as well as pauses (“
. . .
”) were marked. Comprehension signals of the currently
non-speaking person are not captured unless the answer consists only of an armative or negative
“mhm” without further expression. Non-verbal expressions were only transcribed if they account for a
change in the meaning of a statement. Illustrative quotes in the following sections were translated to
English staying as close to the literal meaning as possible. The texts were anonymized.
In the next step, the texts were coded by the interviewer using the same software and following the
Gioia approach [
]. The 2nd order themes were already given as they corresponded to the interview
questions. Relevant text passages which can be assigned to the corresponding 2nd order themes were
marked in order to get a broad overview and to highlight the structure of the text without adhering
to any existing theory or a priori hypotheses [
]. The marked text passages were then condensed
into keywords, which represent the more precise 1st order themes [
]. As a result, a list of 1st order
concepts that closely correspond to the terms the interviewees used was extracted. We then analyzed
whether the respective keywords were mentioned by multiple respondents. Subsequently, all text
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passages with the same codes were compared and evaluated in the sense of inductive theory formation.
The final interview question about the understanding of the abstract relationships between DCs and CF
is not listed as a separate 2nd order theme but is intended to illustrate the interviewees’ summarizing
view of the links.
4. Findings and Proposition Generation
The main finding of the study is that the concept of dynamic capabilities partly corresponds
with foresight and partly has only lose relationships. Figure 2provides a comprehensive overview of
the findings.
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Figure 2. Coding.
4.1. Renewal of Competitiveness
The first interview question aimed to find out what contribution CF makes to renew
competitiveness. The background to this question is that firms with DCs can adapt to changing
environmental conditions ahead of their competitors and thus gain competitive advantages. As a
result, competitiveness is renewed in two ways: on the one hand through a temporal advantage over
the competition in which the organization has “to try to understand in every area what the relevant
change trends are and at an early stage not only has to react but has to align [the] portfolio, [the]
organization” (I7, 2019, 04:29, para. 8). On the other hand, a competitive advantage can be achieved
when the firm not only reacts faster to the changes but, if possible, actively shapes these changes with
the competitors being forced to adapt to the proactively operating company (I1, 2019, 35:09, para. 55).
Consequently, a positive contribution of DCs to the renewal of competitiveness can be concluded.
However, the objective of this question was to find out whether also CF contributes to renewing
competitiveness. Four out of seven interviewees reported that CF contributes to the renewal of
competitiveness. One respondent explained that this is possible through “a deep and systematic
understanding [...] of the market environment” (I7, 2019, 03:29, para. 8) by capturing and interpreting
the changes and the emergence of new challenges in the markets, consumer wishes and technologies
(I2, 2019, 06:25, para. 12; I4, 2019, 21:14, para. 24; I7, 2019, 04:29, para. 8). Therefore, CF can be seen as
an antecedent of competitive advantages:
P1: CF fosters a firm’s better understanding of change in the business environment in such a way that
strategic competitive advantages can be generated.
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Additionally, firms can recognize and sense rather uncertain opportunities that derivate from
the previous path. One respondent interpreted CF as the firm’s “playing leg” (I5, 2019, 13:23, para.
9–14.16; para. 21):
P2: CF empowers companies to identify opportunities beyond their previous horizons, which can increase
their competitiveness.
On the basis of this capture of change, an alignment of change and strategy can be initiated
to define the corporate strategy and positioning (I2, 2019, 06:45, para. 12). The firm continuously
evaluates whether the chosen strategy is still the right one or a strategic adjustment is needed (I1, 2019,
17:55, para. 31). If the firm succeeds in addressing the opportunities and challenges earlier than the
competition, then it can renew its competitiveness (I4, 2019, 21:21, para. 24). A respondent mentioned
that “the most important contribution to maintaining the competitiveness of CF [...] is not to be too
strongly or exclusively involved in one driver or a few trends from only one sub-sector but to always
try to look at all social sub-systems” (I7, 2019, 04:00, para. 8). Firms must perceive the major change
trends in each relevant area and must align the organization accordingly in “good times” (I7, 2019,
04:29, para. 8). As one expert reflected, CF represents “the spearhead of competitiveness” (I4, 2019,
23:16, para. 24). Hence, a clear link between CF and the renewal of competitiveness can be derived:
P3: Firms conducting CF activities show better-informed strategic decisions, which can result in higher
4.2. Renewal of Resource Base
With the increasing complexity and turbulence of the environment, the need for companies
to quickly anticipate changing environmental conditions by adapting their resources increases.
The answers to the second interview question revealed that five out of seven interviewees observe a
positive contribution of CF to firms’ capability to permanently change their resource base so that it
does not become obsolete. Firms identify the need for a resource base adjustment in “good times” and
subsequently identify which resources are required to meet these changes (I1, 2019, 22:00, para. 37; I3,
2019, 11:33, para. 24; I6, 2019, 07:25, para. 12; I7, 2019, 06:34, para. 12). Hence, companies adopt an
outside-in perspective (I2, 2019, 11:26, para. 24):
P4: Companies conducting CF activities adopt an outside-in perspective that fosters a renewal of the
resource base.
One foresight expert usually conducts a SWOT analysis after the scenario analysis, which addresses
the external opportunities and threats identified in the scenarios, the strengths, in which “the resources
are essentially present” (I1, 2019, 21:04, para. 37), and the weaknesses of the firm. The analysis can
contribute to the resource adaptation, the second identified concept. Firms must clarify whether the
opportunities can be addressed and the threats can be avoided with the available resource base. If this
is not the case, an enhancement of strengths and a reduction and compensation of weaknesses in core
areas that prevent the company from seizing opportunities and avoiding risks are required (I1, 2019,
22:00, para. 37):
P5: The renewal of the resource base is determined by the future positioning identified through CF.
4.3. CF and Sensing
In the main part of the interview, the interviewees were asked about the relationships of DCs on
CF. Sensing revealed three concepts regarding CF. In particular, all interview participants believed
that there exists a clear connection between sensing and CF (I1, 2019, 25:06, para. 45; I2, 2019, 17:53,
para. 24; I3, 2019, 20:41, para. 40; I4, 2019, 37:43, para. 40; I5, 2019, 23:31, para. 31; I6, 2019, 10:23,
para. 22; I7, 2019, 12:25, para. 20). CF is considered a “perception tool” that detects changes in the
corporate environment (I3, 2019, 36:52, para. 38; I5, 2019, 22:19, para. 29; I7, 2019, 12:38, para. 20). An
environmental analysis is carried out in the sensing process. “Foresight is [therefore] a tool for sensing”
(I3, 2019, 20:37, para. 38). For this reason, sensing constitutes a process step of CF (I1, 2019, 25:34, para.
45), as one expert described: “CF is the only instrument used to sense environmental changes” (I5,
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2019, 21:43, para. 29). In the perception part, CF should therefore play the decisive role (I7, 2019, 12:38,
para. 20) since “it is the only instrument [...] that [...] can increase the perceptiveness of the firm” (I5,
2019, 22:19, para. 29):
P6: The purpose of CF is to sense environmental changes.
Sensing constitutes a reactive action of the firm, as it perceives changes after they have already
occurred (I2, 2019, 19:45, para. 26). Thus, the reactivity represents the third identified concept, meaning
that many firms do not operate proactively.
4.4. CF and Seizing
As much as the interviewees agreed on the relationship between sensing and CF, their opinions
on seizing diered to some extent. While four participants said that they do not see a relationship
between CF and seizing and that the “process break” for them occurs after the sensing phase, two
other experts stated they see a rather partial relationship, and one mentioned a clear relationship.
A total of six concepts were identified, the first being a perception tool. This further illustrates that the
majority of the participants considered CF primarily as a perception and observation tool and less as
an implementation tool (I3, 2019, 21:21, para. 44; I7, 2019, 14:58, para. 24). For this reason, a “process
break” emerges, since seizing is not integrated in the CF process (I1, 2019, 27:50, para. 47; I3, 2019, 21:09,
para. 44; I5, 2019, 25:38, para. 35, 26:07, para. 35). The lack of integration is often related to a “personnel
break” in firms (I1, 2019, 28:52, para. 47). External foresight consultants often are engaged to conduct
future-oriented environmental analyses but are not involved in the further decisionmaking process (I7,
2019, 13:34, para. 22). Rather, the firm’s executives decide on the strategic direction (I1, 2019, 29:21,
para. 47). For this reason, an “interface”, which may lead to a lack of common future understanding,
is required to transfer the gained knowledge from the sensing process (I1, 2019, 30:12, para. 47; I7,
2019, 13:30, para. 22). CF ultimately has the task of collecting the relevant knowledge during the
sensing process and then operationalizing it in a way so it can be transferred to decisionmaking (I7,
2019, 13:30, para. 22). The prepared knowledge is passed on to the management via a functioning
interface. Consequently, a key finding is that CF has a descriptive character (I3, 2019, 23:51, para. 46)
and is regarded as a decision preparation, but not as decision making (I7, 2019, 13:30, para. 22). Most
of the participants shared this view:
P7: Knowledge generated in the CF process can inform and therefore improve the seizing process.
4.5. CF and Transforming
Six out of seven foresight experts did not see a clear relationship between CF and transforming.
Due to the fact that foresight experts often are external consultants, they do not participate in the
reconfiguration and transformation of the business (I3, 2019, 24:17, para. 48; I3, 2019, 24:36, para. 50).
Although CF is not integrated in the transformation process, it can give the impetus for a change
process (I5, 2019, 28:53, para. 37). However, it is necessary that transforming was induced by insights
from CF in order to be competitive in the long-run:
P8: Knowledge generated in the CF process can generate an impetus and improve the transforming process
In summary, it can be concluded that four out of seven interviewees saw a clear process break
after the sensing phase, while two others saw only a partial relationship between CF and seizing.
Interestingly, these participants work as external foresight consultants. Only one of the experts is an
internally employed foresight manager. He had an entirely dierent view to the consultants. For him,
all dynamic capability activities are part of the CF process. In his company, all three sub-activities are
handled and implemented in the same way as they are described in the working definition for this
research project (I4, 2019, 41:20, para. 48). These divergent views between consultants and internal
employees represent an important and interesting insight, which will be discussed in greater detail in
the following chapter.
In the last interview question, the participants were asked about their view on the abstract
relationship between DCs and CF. The majority of respondents considered the two concepts to be
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related and coexistent (I2, 2019, 51:46, para. 50; I6, 2019, 19:41, para. 40). They are part of each other
(I1, 2019, 42:31, para. 63) and mutually strengthen each other (I1, 2019, 42:59, para. 63). Two other
interviewees argued that CF can be described as a special type of DC (I2, 2019, 50:59, para. 48; I6, 2019,
17:18, para. 36). One of the observations made is “that it must actually be an equilibrium” (I5, 2019,
29:19, para. 39). This means that CF triggers the observation of a need for change but DC processes put
the change process into action. Therefore, DCs must already be present in the company to a certain
extent since they cannot be triggered by CF alone (I5, 2019, 30:19, para. 39) as one expert described
it: “Both must exist in the company and they must always somehow be managed together” (I3, 2019,
32:15, para. 60). In addition, it needs the openness of the company for both, DCs and CF (I1, 2019,
12:37, para. 21; I3, 2019, 32:55, para. 62):
P9: The more balanced the joint integration of CF and DCs is, the higher the future orientation will be.
This proposition leads to the assumption that companies with a higher future orientation can
perform better. Both concepts are interdependent and support each other.
The time perspective of both concepts also related both concepts to each other. While CF takes a
mere future perspective as perception tool, DCs as the adaptability require each company to remain in
the market and take on a present perspective (I3, 2019, 33:26, para. 62–34:53, para. 66). CF supports
DCs to the extent that DC processes can use methods from CF, and probably also the other way around
(I6, 2019, 18:36, para. 38–19:56, para. 42).
The three-part approach of perceiving, prospecting, and probing represents the superordinate
process steps of CF, as it is designed in the company of one interviewee (I6, 2019, 04:22, para. 6).
Perceiving is the process by which companies become aware of external change. Prospecting enables
firms to understand the drivers and direction of change and to bring it into the context of their own
organization. Probing refers to actions which are derived for implementation (I6, 2019, 04:22, para. 6).
This approach helps to understand how a firm’s capabilities and resources need to be changed in order
to remain competitive (I6, 2019, 06:25, para. 10–07:25, para. 12). These future preparation activities
show parallels to the three-part approach of DCs.
5. Discussion
The results revealed that CF primarily corresponds to sensing activities, while transforming is
not integrated in the CF process. This is in congruence with the findings by Heger and Boman, who
investigated the use of foresight knowledge in firm networks and found that mainly sensing rather than
initiating activities are subject of foresight knowledge [
]. Similarly, Rhisiart et al. argue that firms
engaging in scenario planning can strengthen their sensing capabilities but no other DC subtypes [
The experts in our study disagreed on seizing. With regard to the first two interview questions,
there is also a positive connection with CF. Firms must continuously renew their resource base if they
are to survive with DCs being employed because they aim at removing resources that prevent the
company from seizing opportunities as well as recombining old resources in new ways [
]. When
using DCs earlier and more eciently than competing firms, it has an impact on competitiveness.
Our study showed that all experts saw a positive significant relationship between CF and the
renewal of the resource base on the one hand and the renewal of competitiveness on the other. Hence,
not only DCs can be used to explain how companies leverage their resource base, but also CF enables
a firm to detect a need to renew its resource portfolio with the long-term goal of sustaining firm
performance and competitiveness. One can argue that, in the VUCA world, knowledge as a resource is
considered one of the most important sources of competitive advantage [
]. This future-oriented
knowledge is crucial for renewal processes and gained through CF activities.
CF can be regarded as a DC as mentioned by one interviewee (I6, 2019, 17:18, para. 36), since it
represents the specific capability to gain knowledge about the environment and how it is changing
in the future (sensing). The expert answers to the first two interview questions crystallized a link
between the two concepts. Collectively, the renewal of the resource base and therefore competitiveness
lead to the renewal of the strategy, which is the main goal of DCs and can therefore can be considered
Forecasting 2020,2189
a goal of CF. The objective of strategic renewal is the long-term competitiveness of a firm through
aligning internal capabilities and resources as well as the change in the external environment [
For a renewal approach to strategy, the resource base has to be updated in order to secure the long-term
competitiveness. This has to happen as early as possible, bringing DCs and CF into the game as
powerful lenses to examine technological and market change. In short, CF activities stimulate processes
that lead to resource adjustment. Adapting the resource base to changes in the business environment
generates competitive advantages and thus ideally leads to an edge over competitors and increased
business performance.
In close connection with the partly inconsistent opinions among the experts is the issue of
dierence between external foresight consultants and internal foresight managers. During the
interviews, it became obvious that the only interviewee who pursues CF activities for internal purposes
and not for external clients takes a strinkingly dierent view of the integration of CF in the three
DC sub-processes. One possible explanation for this result could be the mentioned lack of uniform
definitions. Thus, the range of CF is perceived dierently between consultants and activities are thus
embedded and integrated in dierent ways. This may also be the case depending on the individual
firm. In this context, the firm size can also have a considerable influence on the integration of CF.
On the one hand, a positive relationship between the firm size and the execution of environmental
analyses can be derived. Consequently, CF is used more frequently in large companies than in smaller
ones, since the latter are more dynamic (I4, 2019, 43:05, para. 50). Additionally, larger companies are
more likely to engage in CF since they have more financial resources than smaller companies (I4, 2019,
31:22, para. 34). On the other hand, in large companies a personnel break can often be observed, which
prevents a deep integration of CF. However, the dierence between external and internal consultants
is not only a matter of job title but also depends on the respective firm. Thus, an internal foresight
manager from another firm may assess the situation dierently than the interviewed foresight manager.
A central element of qualitative research is openness. Accordingly, the interviewer approached
the investigation without a predefined theoretical lens but rather a high level of openness towards
the research objective. Nevertheless, it was formerly expected that all DC sub-processes would be
somewhat related to CF. However, this expectation was refuted during the evaluation of the interviews.
The authors’ expectation is in line with the respondents’ view: CF and DC should be further
integrated in order to ensure a solid foundation for strategic decisionmaking. The division of work, i.e.,
the separation of information gathering by CF and decisionmaking based on this information might
have adverse eects. It can lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Therefore, CF should
be further integrated into all DC sub-processes. CF creates orientation knowledge by an intense
engagement with (possible) changes in the environment (I7, 2019, 14:18, para. 22). This knowledge
triggers processes of resource adaptation. Accordingly, CF can be considered as a perception and
observation tool, but not as an implementation tool. This result does not correspond to the authors’
expectation either.
Openness is not only a central aspect of qualitative research but is also important for the
development of a firm. Firms must possess this attribute in order to gain experience. The data indeed
points toward this fact. Several interview participants stated that companies should not hesitate if a
scenario does not develop as expected. A key part of this is to be open in dealing with mistakes and to
learn from them. In line with this is a statement from the interviews: “this openness in dealing with
future options is, in my view, the crux” (I1, 2019, 12:37, para. 21). In this context, managers have a
distinctive role in the DC process. Capturing new strategic opportunities is a managerial function.
However, it is not possible for a manager to have a concrete idea of DCs, since a uniform, generally
accepted definition of the complex construct of dynamic capabilities does not exist yet.
6. Conclusions
The aim of this paper was to explore the links between CF and DCs, two concepts considered to
be important for companies to generate competitive advantages by dealing with future opportunities.
Forecasting 2020,2190
For this reason, seven foresight experts with dierent functions and backgrounds were interviewed.
The main finding of the study is that CF is not clearly integrated in all subcategories of DCs. However,
they cannot be managed independently if a firm wants to build a superior position in future markets.
At present, it can be concluded that there exists a relationship between CF and DCs regarding the
sensing process but CF is hardly involved in the subsequent steps.
A first important step for a deeper integration of seizing and transforming is a firm’s reformulated
understanding of both concepts which broadens them in order to create a common conceptual
understanding. In this way, dierent conceptual perceptions between internal and external foresight
experts as well as between companies can be reduced.
The findings have several managerial implications. When major environmental changes are
underestimated or not recognized, firms may risk a strategic drift and lose their competitive position.
In the VUCA world, firms cannot rely on static processes and rigid resources bases as the environment
is ever-evolving dynamically. The resource base has to be renewed appropriately to renew competitive
advantages. To handle environmental uncertainty, it is important for companies to possess DCs.
CF itself can be regarded as a specific DC that enables a firm to detect the need to renew its portfolio of
resources. Hence, management needs to understand the relevance and meaning of both concepts. In the
propositions, a positive relationship between the two concepts was deduced. A joint consideration
can therefore lead to a superior firm performance. Therefore, management should consider CF and
DCs collectively.
It is obvious that it is better for firms to be proactive in order to gain advantages over competitors.
If this is not possible, they have to be reactive at least and do not ignore occurring changes. Otherwise,
the firm may not stay in the market. For this reason, there must be an awareness for the changing
conditions, as well as the necessity for CF.
Finally, the results should sensitize companies to be aware of the relevance of the personnel break in
the DC approach. A strong focus on the involvement during environmental scanning is recommended
for management. If this is not possible, then the consultants conducting the environmental analysis
should be integrated in the decisionmaking process. Management should not underestimate the loss of
information when dierent individuals are involved in the information gathering and decisionmaking
process, as strategically unfavorable decisions may be made because the accuracy of the information
decreases during the knowledge transfer.
There are several limitations associated with this research that have to be acknowledged. It is
intended to give a first indication about the relationships between CF and DCs. Nevertheless, more
research should be conducted to gain specific insights.
Due to the limited number of interviews, the study lacks the means to analyze the results
quantitatively and make statistical generalizations. Due to the small sample, representativeness and
a high level of generalizability could not be achieved. Future research should test our qualitatively
generated propositions and consider moderators and mediators.
Similarly, mainly external consultants were interviewed, which may exclude deeper insights
from internal foresight experts. As pointed out before, the conceptual perception diered between
the respondents. A recommendation for further research is therefore to interview a larger sample.
Interesting insights could be provided by variations across industries and professions of the respondents.
Future studies could also address the dierences between internal foresight managers and external
foresight consultants that were observed. It may be important to achieve a balance between both
among the sample. Another possibility would be to consider small and large enterprises separately
in order to achieve specific results for dierent company sizes. At this point, it would be interesting
to examine whether the respondents’ assumption that the integration of CF depends on the size of
the company is correct or can be refuted. In need for further investigation is the statement of one
interviewee saying that it is important to not only look at the company and its resources singularly,
but rather in relation to other companies and stakeholders (I6, 2019, 07:45, para. 12). Often companies
alone do not dispose of sucient resources to execute CF eectively, which is why they have to be
Forecasting 2020,2191
considered in relation to other companies in order to dispose of sucient resources (I6, 2019, 08:23,
para. 14). In addition, this may point future research towards the relevance of jointly considering
both topics.
Additionally, we adopted a rather narrow DC lens focusing on the purpose and sub-processes
of DCs. For an exploratory study, this procedure is adequate. However, DC research reveals a
complex field with many more conceptualizations. An example of this is learning as the basis for DCs,
or path-dependencies indicating that DCs depend on a firm’s previous decisions and routines, which
have not been included in the study. Future research should expand on the DC conceptualization.
Despite these limitations, this explorative study oers a first analysis and encourages future
research towards a joint consideration.
Author Contributions:
Conceptualization, L.-M.S. and V.T.; methodology, L.-M.S. and V.T.; software, L.-M.S.;
formal analysis, L.-M.S.; investigation, L.-M.S. and V.T.; writing—original draft, L.-M.S. and V.T.; writing—review
and editing, V.T.; funding acquisition, V.T. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of
the manuscript.
Funding: The research project received no funding.
Acknowledgments: We gratefully acknowledge the respondents’ engagement in the study.
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare there is no conflict of interest with regard to this manuscript.
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This study is to efficiently apply artificial neural network (ANN) to the robotics, so as to provide experimental basis for mobile robots to learn the optimal trajectory planning strategy. An algorithm model is innovatively proposed based on back propagation neural network (BPNN) and reinforcement learning (Q-Learning) by combining the motion space, selective strategy, and reward function design. The simulation experiment environment is set and the ROS mobile robot is adopted for simulation experiments. The algorithm proposed in this study is compared with other neural network algorithms from the perspectives of accuracy, precision, recall, and F1. It can be found that the accuracy of algorithm proposed was at least 5.47% higher than that of the model algorithm proposed by other scholars, and the values of precision, recall, and F1 were at least 5.5% higher. The results show that the mobile robot could find the shortest trajectory and the best trajectory in a discrete obstacle environment, no matter the more or less the discrete obstacles or the large or small the space. Therefore, compared to the advanced model algorithms proposed by other scholars in related fields, the robot trajectory planning based on the improved BPNN combined with Q-Learning constructed in this study could realize better results, and can be used in practical applications with robot trajectory planning, providing practical value for the field of machine vision.
... Our study contributes to robo advisory and investment advice research by providing a plausible scenario for the future development of robo advisors. Foresight gained from future scenarios derived through Delphi studies, for example, can allow practitioners to formulate futureoriented strategies (Tiberius and Lisiecki, 2019;Tiberius and Hauptmeijer, 2021;von der Gracht and Darkow, 2010) and generate competitive advantages (Anderson, 1997;Semke and Tiberius, 2020). ...
Robo advisors represent a digital financial advice solution challenging traditional wealth and asset management, investment advice, retirement planning, and tax-loss harvesting. Based on algorithms, big data analysis, machine learning, and other technologies, these services minimize the necessity for human intervention. Based on an international three-stage Delphi study, we provide a plausible forecast of the development of the robo advisor industry, with regards to market development, competition, drivers of growth, customer segments, challenges, services, technologies, and societal change. The results suggest that the financial advice market will experience a further increase in the number of robo advisor services available. Existing and traditional financial advice players will be forced to adjust to the changing environment of the market. Due to low fees and ease of use, robo advisors will be made available to a broad cross section of society, and will cause significant market losses for traditional investment advice companies. Ten years from now, the predominant investment class will remain Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). Even though degrees of human intervention are expected to vary considering the complexity of advice, automation will increase in significance when it comes to the development of robo advisors.
... Kim and Kim [58] Karanika-Murray et al. [59] Afsar and Badir [60] Al-Ghazali [4] As leaders play an important role in motivating and pushing subordinates to reach their full potential in any company [61][62][63][64][65][66][67][68][69][70][71][72][73], more research is needed to understand the impact of agile leadership on employees' perceived career success. Thus, this study addressed the research by examining the relationship between agile leadership, job embeddedness, and perceived career success. ...
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Agile leadership is an important managerial function in which responsiveness and innovation appear to be essential elements for the long-term development and success of any business. The world has become increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) during and post COVID-19. Managers are required to possess agile leadership to facilitate their employees' successful careers. Therefore, this study aims to find out the relationship between agile leadership and career success by examining the mediation of job embeddedness in healthcare organizations. The descriptive research design and survey method were employed in this study. The data were collected by using three scales from healthcare employees in healthcare organizations in Turkey. Hypotheses were tested using structural equation modelling (SEM). The data were analysed by using SPSS and AMOS programs. The findings of this study showed that agile leadership behaviours enhance career success. Moreover, the relationship between agile leadership and career success is mediated by job embeddedness. The role of agile leadership in promoting employees' career success has rarely been studied in the literature. This is one of the first studies to examine the effect of agile leadership on career success along with the mediating role of job embeddedness. Healthcare managers have faced many critical challenges at their workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the lens of managing efficient healthcare organizations in many contexts, this research sheds some important light on the association between agile leadership, career success, and job em-beddedness. Managers with high agility levels used strategies such as group decision making, problem solving, effective internal and external communication, and adaptation to uncertain environment in order to increase their career success.
... Further (2021) 105 research could be done to review articles in the domain of opportunity recognition using fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA), which is becoming more popular in entrepreneurship research (Kraus, Ribeiro-Soriano & Schussler, 2018). There is a lot of untapped potentials to connect strategic foresight with opportunity recognition (Iden, Methlie & Christensen, 2017) and researchers suggest that future opportunities might be sensed through foresight (Semke &Tiberius, 2020). The needs of customers may provide a great source of information on how to tap opportunity and related initiatives regarding entrepreneurial ventures. ...
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Entrepreneurship is multidimensional in nature. The purpose of this paper was to gather and summarize the plethora of research on opportunity recognition and revealed the constructs specific to entrepreneurial opportunity recognition along with its antecedents and consequences. The study was based on the literature review of entrepreneurial opportunity recognition with emphasis on the leading prominent literature from authentic and well-reputed journals. This study employed the strategy majorly based upon empirical data over the last two decades i.e. 2000-2020. This review indicated that the field is empirically underdeveloped and numerous inconsistencies are existent in research conclusions. The study summarized the phenomenon of opportunity recognition which is referred to as the self-defined field of research. Moreover, the study suggested future research directions to recognize and exploit the business opportunities.
... Teece et al. [26] introduced a dynamic view to the theory of the RBV, proposing adapting to environmental changes as a similar strategic capacity, and coined the term dynamic capability to describe specific competences that allow firms to successfully address changing environment. In recent years, a growing community of scholars have further advocated for strategic foresight to be considered as a firm-specific competence, one which is particularly useful in fast-changing and complex environments [43]- [45]. Day and Schoemaker [46] have shown via two case studies how active sensing of trends led to seizing of opportunities and the transformation of the resource portfolio that created a competitive advantage. ...
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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.
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Real options are widely applied in strategic and operational decision-making, allowing for managerial flexibility in uncertain contexts. Increased scholarly interest has led to an extensive but fragmented research landscape. We aim to measure and systematize the research field quantitatively. To achieve this goal, we conduct bibliometric performance analyses and bibliographic coupling analyses with an in-depth content review. The results of the performance analyses show an increasing interest in real options since the beginning of the 2000s and identify the most influential journals and authors. The science mappings reveal six and seven research clusters over the last two decades. Based on an in-depth analysis of their themes, we develop a research framework comprising antecedents, application areas, internal and external contingencies, and uncertainty resolution through real option valuation or reasoning. We identify several gaps in that framework, which we propose to tackle in future research.
Climate change affects the business environment, and companies need future‐oriented information to build climate resilience. To this end, companies are encouraged to conduct climate change scenario analysis, as recommended by the Task Force on Climate‐Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). However, companies' actual adoption of this practice is limited as they lack a straightforward scenario analysis implementation process and relevant climate change knowledge. This research develops an implementation process by clarifying the concept of resilience into a stability and a change domain and by specifying the type of focal questions for these two domains. Next, a scenario typology guides the selection of reference scenarios, and two standard scenario methods guide the tailoring of these reference scenarios to company‐specific scenarios. By structuring this process in five steps and specifying input and process requirements, we provide an implementation process called the climate resilience cycle. By applying the cycle in transdisciplinary teams of climate change experts and company staff with knowledge about the company value chain, we bring in the required knowledge. To become climate resilient, the outcomes of the climate resilience cycle need to be integrated in the business planning and the overall company strategy. We argue that implementing the cycle as a new company routine contributes to the development of dynamic capabilities like sensing, seizing and transforming, which have been proven to be essential for integrating sustainability in company strategies. Once begun, we show how the cycle can become part of a company strategy process.
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This paper will analyze knowledge management trends in organizations framed in the most up-to-date currents in administration in order to explain the knowledge-based vision, developed by multi-dimensional strategies in value creation. Furthermore, considering the various critical processes from the strategic alliances and the dynamic capabilities that determine it. In an analytical, bibliographic-documentary approach, study categories are defined to interpret and contrast how knowledge continues to be a comparative advantage, demonstrated in its conceptual deconstruction, where theoretical discussions are generated. The same advantage point to new conceptions extracted from its applicative composition in the 21st century organizations, which implies various human and process adaptations. It is concluded that knowledge management and dynamic capacities, and strategic alliances are essential for organizational success and social welfare
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Purpose Within a very short period of time, the worldwide pandemic triggered by the novel coronavirus has not only claimed numerous lives but also caused severe limitations to daily private as well as business life. Just about every company has been affected in one way or another. This first empirical study on the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on family firms allows initial conclusions to be drawn about family firm crisis management. Design/methodology/approach Exploratory qualitative research design based on 27 semi-structured interviews with key informants of family firms of all sizes in five Western European countries that are in different stages of the crisis. Findings The COVID-19 crisis represents a new type and quality of challenge for companies. These companies are applying measures that can be assigned to three different strategies to adapt to the crisis in the short term and emerge from it stronger in the long run. Our findings show how companies in all industries and of all sizes adapt their business models to changing environmental conditions within a short period of time. Finally, the findings also show that the crisis is bringing about a significant yet unintended cultural change. On the one hand, a stronger solidarity and cohesion within the company was observed, while on the other hand, the crisis has led to a tentative digitalization. Originality/value To the knowledge of the authors, this is the first empirical study in the management realm on the impacts of COVID-19 on (family) firms. It provides cross-national evidence of family firms' current reactions to the crisis.
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Research summary: The discovery of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and the spread of COVID-19 have led many governments to take drastic measures. The lockdown of large parts of society and economic life has come as an exogenous shock to many economic actors, not least innovative startups. This rapid response research combines a qualitative research design informed by entrepreneurial ecosystem actors with an analysis of policy measures called for, announced, and reportedly implemented in the international press. Interviews from an entrepreneurial ecosystem offer a first-hand account of the adversity startups face during a crisis and how by utilizing bricolage responses they cope, and the analysis of policy measures can serve as an inspiration to design support initiatives to protect startups from the consequences of the current lockdown and to alleviate the effects of future crises. Managerial summary: The lockdown measures as a response to the spread of the new corona-virus threaten the existence of many innovative startups. Our rapid response research first illustrates the challenges entrepreneurs face as a consequence of the crisis. Second, we illustrate how entrepreneurs are dealing with the effects of the crisis and what they are doing to protect their ventures. Finally, we present measures that could be utilized by policymakers to assist entrepreneurs facing challenges. The research conducted suggests that while startups are suc-cessfully leveraging their available resources as a first response to the crisis, their growth and innovation potential are at risk. Therefore, policy measures should not only provide first aid to startups by alleviating the pressure caused by constrained cashflow, but also involve long-term measures embedded in and supported by the wider entrepreneurial ecosystem to ensure rapid recovery and growth.
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This paper challenges the solely rational view of the scenario technique as a strategy and foresight tool designed to cope with uncertainty by considering multiple possible future states. The paper employs an affordance-based view that allows for the identification and structuring of hidden, emergent attributes of the scenario technique beyond the intended ones. The suggested framework distinguishes between affordances (1) that are intended by the organization and relate to its goals, (2) that emergently generate organizational benefits, and (3) that do not relate to organizational but individual interests. Also, constraints in the use of scenarios are discussed. Affordance theory’s specific lens shows that the emergence of such attributes depends on the users’ specific intentions.
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The dynamic capabilities perspective is aimed at explaining how firms achieve and sustain competitive advantages, especially in environments that become volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA). In this paper, we combine factors that explain dynamic capabilities on the firm level with factors of dynamic managerial capabilities on the individual level. In addition to the dynamic capabilities theory, we draw on corporate foresight literature to test the impact of corporate foresight training. We find that both the organizational-level practices and the individual-level training of leaders are positively associated with firm-level outcomes. We further observe that this relationship is mediated by dynamic managerial capabilities (i.e., the ability of leaders to challenge current business models, make decisions under uncertainty, and reconfigure organizational resources). Our findings emphasize the importance of training leaders and building organizational corporate foresight practices to build the dynamic capabilities needed in VUCA environments.
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The innovation of products, services, and business models is key to firm survival, performance, and growth in today’s turbulent business environments. However, accelerating environmental dynamics also require speeding up the innovation process. A suitable solution may be the use of agility, especially at the front end of innovation. In this study, we aim to identify agility enablers in this first stage of the innovation process. We follow a two-step procedure. First, we review existing agility frameworks and find that several agility enablers are already discussed, but no holistic framework exists yet. Second, we conduct qualitative expert interviews to obtain a better understanding of additional enablers and enabler attributes. By comparing the theoretical and managerial sources, we find gaps in each side’s attention. As a result, we introduce a novel, agile front end of innovation framework that helps firms pay attention to agility enablers that can speed up the innovation process.
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Today’s key challenge for firm growth relies in the integration of digital technologies and their use in new business models. Thus, firms increasingly engage in a digital transformation and in digitalizing their business model. Firms can apply digital technologies for improved or novel internal and external processes and integrate them in new business models. The digital transformation itself demands diverse knowledge from diverse origins in the firm. We examine the key concepts related to business model digitalization. We develop a conceptual matrix for portfolio considerations of firm business model digitalization. We introduce the seven contributions in this special issue on knowledge and innovation related to business and offer some recommendations for future research on the new working conditions and digital identities of firms.
Purpose – The purpose of this study is to formulate the most probable future scenario for the use of blockchain technology within the next five to ten years in the electricity sector based on today’s experts’ views. Design/methodology/approach – An international, two-stage Delphi study with 20 projections was used. Findings – According to the experts, blockchain applications will be primarily based on permissioned or consortium blockchains. Blockchain-based applications will integrate Internet-of-Things devices in the power grid, manage the e-mobility infrastructure, automate billing and direct payment, and issue certificates regard¬ing the origin of electricity. Blockchain solutions are expected to play an important big role in fostering peer-to-peer trading in microgrids, further democratizing and decentralizing the energy sector. New regulatory frameworks become necessary. Research limitations/implications – The Delphi study’s scope is rather broad than narrow and detailed. Further studies should focus on partial scenarios. Practical implications – Electricity market participants should build blockchain-based competences and collaborate in current pilot projects. Social implications – Blockchain technology will further decentralize the energy sector and probably reduce transaction costs. Originality/value – Despite the assumed importance of blockchain technology, no coherent foresight study on its use and implications exists yet. This study closes this research gap.
Technology is rapidly changing the financial industry. Banks, in particular, are faced with a shift from traditional, interpersonal forms of service to digital financial services. These digital technologies are more and more becoming today’s standard in the banking sector, they challenge traditional business models, and provide opportunities for banks to capitalize on. Building on the concept of Entrepreneurial Orientation (EO), this study of banks in Germany, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein aims at developing insights that explain how banks can use the tactics and strategies associated with EO to achieve superior performance in the digitalization age. Results from a survey in 102 banks show that: 1) banks that display high levels of EO report a higher level of performance, and 2) the relationship between a banks’ strategic vision on digitalization, and performance is moderated by EO. These results indicate that the sheer level of the digitalization of a bank does not affect profitability. Instead, in this time of technological change banks should develop a clear vision on digitalization that is characterized by innovation, being ahead of the competition, and a willingness to take risks.
Increasing environmental uncertainty poses significant challenges for organizations. Although scholars generally agree that companies require dynamic capabilities to flexibly respond to and shape uncertain environments, only little empirical research has been conducted on the factors that facilitate the development of these capabilities. This study addresses this gap and introduces strategic foresight as an important antecedent of firms’ dynamic capabilities. The paper investigates the impact of strategic foresight on two distinct types of dynamic capabilities, namely strategic flexibility and decision rationality, and how the influence of strategic foresight is moderated by the degree of environmental uncertainty. We test our hypotheses by adopting a mixed-methods approach, using both qualitative information gathered trough five expert interviews, as well as survey data collected from 79 managers familiar with strategic foresight practices. The obtained results indicate a significant positive impact of strategic foresight on firms’ strategic flexibility and decision rationality. Furthermore, this study finds that environmental uncertainty strengthens the positive effect of strategic foresight on strategic flexibility. Contributions to strategic foresight research and managerial practice for firms trying to cope with continuously increasing levels of environmental uncertainty are discussed.
This article introduces the construct of corporate foresight to a strategy and management scholars’ audience. Corporate foresight is a dynamic, firm-level capability that allows firms to evaluate future scenarios of the business environment, including systematic doomsday collapses. Corporate foresight is defined, situated in the broader epistemological underpinnings of futures studies, theoretically inscribed in the dynamic capabilities’ framework, distinguished from related constructs, and deconstructed in its main components. Its main antecedents and outcomes are elaborated, and further research directions are discussed. It is argued that corporate foresight is of fundamental relevance to strategy and management scholarship due to four reasons: (a) corporate foresight can integrate with, enrich, and expand the dynamic capabilities framework by considering an additional, underinvestigated, future-oriented firm capability; (b) the emergence of corporate foresight is an organizational phenomenon, closely aligned with the contingency theory of the firm; (c) corporate foresight can favorably affect important organizational outcomes including learning, creativity, innovation, and performance via a mechanism to create competitive advantage that has not been previously explored by strategy and management scholarship; and (d) further investigating corporate foresight from a strategy and management point of view opens a rich research agenda.