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Pre-determined elements in the business environment: Reflecting on the legacy of Pierre Wack

Burt, G. and Wright, G. (2006) Pre-determined elements in the business environment: Reflecting on the legacy of Pierre Wack. Futures, 38 (7). pp. 830-840. ISSN 0016-3287

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Abstract

Understanding uncertainty in the business environment has long been a key challenge for managers to help them understand drivers of change, yet scant attention is paid to the idea of 'predetermined elements' in the business environment. Pierre Wack defined predetermined elements as 'those events that have already occurred but whose consequences have not yet unfolded' created by the underlying systemic structures. By drawing on a recent scenario case study we are able to develop Wack's idea of predetermined elements from which it is possible to determine what is inevitable from what is fundamentally uncertain in the business environment. Identifying predetermined elements provides managers with insights that reveal the nature and interaction of factors and actors that are part of systemic structures driving change.