How to improve scenario analysis as a strategic management tool?
Scenarios are claimed to support strategic decision makers. They are especially effective in dealing with uncertainties. This paper addresses some drawbacks of the conventional scenario method, which is especially directed at handling these uncertainties, and indicates possible avenues for methodological adaptations. We take the approach, which rests in the Shell tradition, as exemplary for our discussion on the mainstream scenario methodology. This approach has some limitations when it comes to dealing with simultaneous trends and countertrends, and trends or clusters of trends that are not thought of beforehand, especially the methodological requirements of causality and consistency, which might be limiting factors in this respect. This paper indicates alternative ways for scenario construction. It discusses the use of either recombinant scenarios, context scenarios, or inconsistent scenarios and/or combinations of these scenarios. These options explicitly incorporate the notion of ‘paradoxical trend’ as the codriver of future developments into the methodology.