Addressing Uncertainty through Construction of Vision: The Potential of Scenario Planning.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:30
Location: Hörsaal 48 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Knight (1921) distinguished conditions of Risk from those of Uncertainty. Probability fit well the former, but is inadequate for the latter. Yet the future is predominately uncertain, and becomes more so the further into the future we delve. Perhaps due to the absence of a better approach, probability has been frequently used, or perhaps ‘mis-used’, to address uncertainty in policy and futures studies. The Scenarios-to- Strategies (S2S) technique was developed in a corporate setting. It offers an alternative approach to addressing uncertainty, that of exploring boundaries. In this sense, it contrasts strongly with the central- tendency assumptions common in probability-based approaches. The social process of building scenarios and strategies in this technique can be seen as an attempt to explicitly construct a shared social reality (Berger and Luckman 1966). Specific practices that support sense-making (Weick 1995) are used in this construction process. The shared understanding and commitment produced is consistent with a vision which is seen as a core feature of leaders who wish to promote change (Conger 1998). An important consideration in strategy or policy endeavors is the extent to which an actor can influence outcomes. The S2S technique carefully explores the control boundary in developing a vision.

Berger, P. & Luckman, T., 1966. The Social Construction of Reality, Doubleday & Company Inc. Conger, J., & Kanungo, R., 1998. Charismatic Leadership in Organizations, Sage Publications. Knight, F. H. 1921. Risk, Uncertainty, and Profit. Boston: Hart, Schaffner & Marx.
Weick, K., 1995. Sensemaking in Organizations, Sage Publications.