Non-receptive organizational contexts and scenario planning interventions: a demonstration of inertia in the strategic decision-making of a CEO despite strong pressure for a change

Wright, George and O'Keefe, M (2010) Non-receptive organizational contexts and scenario planning interventions: a demonstration of inertia in the strategic decision-making of a CEO despite strong pressure for a change. Futures, 42 (1). pp. 26-41. ISSN 0016-3287

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Abstract

This study presents a single-case analysis of an unsuccessful scenario planning intervention within an organization. Our analysis utilises corporate documents produced prior to a scenario-based intervention, pre-scenario-development interviews with members of the top management team, and knowledge of post-intervention events. We conclude that, even in the face of strong, orchestrated pressure for a re-think of a fragile strategy, the aspirations of the CEO were dominant. Our case analysis illustrates that inertia in strategic decision making can be extreme – more extreme than the extant literature has recognised. Critical voices can go unheard. We end with consideration of issues to do with facilitating the early recognition that a strategizing intervention can stall.