Scenario Planning

Essay by cranky1873University, Bachelor's April 2006

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The modern society in which we live and conduct business is fiercely competitive, uncertain and highly susceptible to change. As such it is very difficult for companies to plan too far ahead into the future - if they did they would find that the external environment or technology used had changed in ways they had not anticipated in their strategic plans.

In order to counter this problem many organisations are adopting Scenario Planning in order to make flexible long-term plans. Many see scenario planning, as an effective management tool for helping to organise complex uncertainties into manageable snapshots of the future, from which Senior Management can shape their organisations accordingly. Others dismiss it as another in a long line of Management Fads, such as BPR or TQM.

This report seeks to clarify, through the discussion of fads and the benefits and problems associated with introducing Scenario planning, whether or not it is likely to be viewed as a useful organisational tool or just another management fad.


Management Fads

Despite Management being still very much in its infancy, as far as social sciences is concerned, there is already an extensive list of 'flavour of the month' Management fads which have died a premature death.

Fads have been defined in many different ways and often the definitions can be very contradictory. Definitions vary from something that is useful to something that is useless, from something trivial to something of significant importance, and from something, which has mass appeal to something, which is adopted only by a frenzied few in a narrowly defined niche (Carson 1999)

Wilkipedia define a fad as being:

"A fad, also known as a craze refers to a fashion that becomes popular in a culture (or subcultures) relatively quickly, remains popular, often for a rather brief...