Towards a theory of effective scenario planning: a systematic review and critical interpretive synthesis

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This research paper starts with systematically reviewing the scenario planning effectiveness literature. The critical interpretive synthesis of the literature generated four synthetic arguments which then were used to form a theory of effective scenario planning. By applying the CIS process, a critique of the perceived role of SP and the limitations of the technique were presented. The four synthesising arguments, 'scenario planning as an enhancing process', 'change', 'drawbacks and requirements of scenario planning', and 'SP practise in business and comparison with other strategy tools' demonstrated the sophisticated nature of the scenario development phenomenon. Although in some cases, the findings of subjective and objective measures suggested contradictory results, scenario planning was evaluated and supported by evidence as an enhancing technique in terms of its effectiveness on thinking, judgement, decision making, learning and firm performance. Scenario planning served a means of empowering participants, letting them have their voices, joining in discussions, and making them feel valued as individuals and valuable to the organisations they are part of.
Adverse and no effect areas were also reported. In this regard; type, content, information structure, and participants' interpretation of the scenarios emerged as important issues. Concerning the impact of the technique, further research can help us to understand more about where the influence of a scenario intervention begins and where it ends.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Academy of Management Conference 2021
Subtitle of host publicationReshaping Capitalism for a Sustainable World
Place of PublicationMontréal, Canada
Number of pages41
ISBN (Electronic)9782960219531
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2021
Event21st European Academy of Management Conference - University du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Canada
Duration: 16 Jun 202118 Jun 2021

Publication series

NameEURAM Conference
PublisherEuropean Academy of Management
ISSN (Print)2466-7498


Conference21st European Academy of Management Conference
Abbreviated titleEURAM 2021
Internet address


  • scenario
  • review
  • theory
  • critical interpretive synthesis


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