Cognitive barriers in the scenario development process

Bradfield, Ronald (2008) Cognitive barriers in the scenario development process. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 10 (2). pp. 198-215. ISSN 1523-4223 (

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The literature on scenario planning can be neatly divided into two broad categories: (a) anecdotal, practitioner oriented articles that describe how scenario planning has been undertaken in organizations, its espoused benefits, and experienced-based advice on how to construct scenarios and (b) articles that are more academic and analytical in that they attempt to provide a theoretical underpinning for scenarios based on a small body of empirical studies of related topics. It is this second category, the empirical studies of related topics that this article focuses on, in particular, research findings from the cognitive psychology domain in terms of how knowledge is organized and activated in the human mind, cognitive simplification processes, and inductive versus deductive thinking. A research project focusing on the scenario development process is described and the preliminary findings related to the impact of these cognitive phenomena in terms of learning barriers in the development process is discussed.