Scenario-Based Decision Making

Essay by matiaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2003

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Scenario-Based Decision Making

Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here? asked Alice. That depends a good deal on where you want to get to, said the Cat. I don't much care, said Alice. Then it doesn't matter which way you go, said the Cat.

--Lewis Carroll, from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Method and Results

The Technique

Scenario-based decision-making provides managers with information and a guideline that is designed to improve their decision-making ability. This guideline allows management to begin scenario sketching that is beginning point for the decision-making process. Scenario development examines important questions that involve large uncertainties in the external influences on the organization. Unlike strategic planning, which postulates a single future, scenario planning looks at several alternative versions of the future, any one of which may or may not come about (van der Werff). Nine steps in scenario sketching involve anything from discussing the issue to implementing the decision in a timely fashion.

These nine steps are (van der Werff):

1.Specify the major issue or decision you are facing.

2.Isolate the key drivers (external forces) affecting your company.

3.Select three drivers that are both important and the most uncertain.

4.Write three scenarios (short stories) of the future, each highlighting a different key driver.

5.Give each scenario a pithy, memorable name.

6.Determine the implications of each scenario for the issue being considered.

7.Consider possible strategies to respond to each implication.

8.Select indicators which suggest that a particular scenario is unfolding.

9.Act in a timely and appropriate manner as a particular future unfolds.

Dr. van der Werff suggests that after the three drivers are selected, participants chose a scenario team to be on and that the remaining steps are done within each scenario...