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A matter of foresight: How practices enable (or impede) organizational foresightfulness

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mairi Maclean


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Emphasizing practice as the site of the emergence of strategic foresight, this paper draws on the contemporary turn to ‘practice’ to examine how the organizing practices of members positioned further down the organization may facilitate (or constrain) their ability to enact foresightful actions. Adopting a case-based approach, three software companies engaged in four new product development projects served as our empirical research sites. With emphasis placed on their innovation teams’ everyday practices, data for the empirical inquiry were collected using the qualitative methods of semistructured interviews, ethnographical observation and project archival documents. Explicating the observed foresightful practices and their underlying activities under the general rubrics of organizing architecture and social co-ordination, we identified over-compartmentalization, over-determinism and (in)congruence-of-values as quintessentially embedded organizing practices, that constitutively enable (or impede) organizational foresightfulness. We conclude the paper with a discussion of the managerial implications and some limitations of our research.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sarpong D, Maclean M, Davies C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Management Journal

Year: 2013

Volume: 31

Issue: 6

Pages: 613-625

Print publication date: 01/12/2013

Online publication date: 28/04/2013

ISSN (print): 0263-2373

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5681

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.emj.2013.03.004


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