In today s modern world an executive s ability to make sense of complexity in order to make effective strategic decisions is of the upmost importance. Strategic foresight, and scenario planning specifically, has frequently been proposed as an effective method of overcoming the inherent cognitive limitations decision makers face. However, in spite of this the prevalence and perceived usefulness of scenario planning as a strategic decision making tool has yet to be established. This research is therefore an attempt to address this issue while at the same time exploring different methods of managing complexity in a dynamic South African market.
The research involves a qualitative study containing 15 in-depth, face to face interviews with South African executives. The use of an exploratory research method allowed for a broad enquiry into the presence, utilisation, antecedents and enablers of scenario planning in South African executives decision making. Content and thematic data analysis was done in order to determine key themes from the data obtained during the interview process.
The outcome of this research study has resulted in three models that can be applied in order to improve strategic decision making and foresight. The first model relates to the key enablers of a strategic decision and integrates the various intrapersonal, interpersonal and environmental elements involved in a strategic decision. The second model contributes to the current research about leadership in complex systems and strategic foresight by identifying the entrepreneurial mind-set as a way of managing increasing complexity and developing a competitive advantage in the South African marketplace. The third is an integrated model representing the enablers, benefits, process challenges and potential inhibitors of scenario planning as a strategic decision making tool by South African executives.
Mini-disseration (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2015.