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On the diffusion of probabilistic investment appraisal and decision-making procedures in the UK's upstream oil and gas industry

Finch, J.H. and Macmillan, F. and Simpson, G. (2002) On the diffusion of probabilistic investment appraisal and decision-making procedures in the UK's upstream oil and gas industry. Research Policy, 31 (6). pp. 969-988. ISSN 0048-7333

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Abstract

A critical activity for companies involved in the upstream oil and gas industry is deciding whether or not to invest in developing hydrocarbon prospects. Decisions are characterised by combinations of uncertainty and incomplete information assembled by professionals with different, but highly complementary areas of expertise. This paper presents evidence of variation among companies in the industry in the extent to which formal appraisal and decision-making procedures are adopted, and, where adopted, in the manner of application. An explanation is set out in which the importance of senior managers' attitudes is tempered by limits to the adaptability of organisational routines, of which appraisal and decision-making processes are prominent.