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Cultivating strategic foresight in practice: A relational perspective

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mairi Maclean



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Drawing on relationalism as a theoretical lens, we examine how normative organizing structures, rights and authority relationships influence the cultivation of strategic foresight among organizational members lower down the organizational hierarchy. We adopt a case-based approach involving three software firms, whose innovation teams served as our empirical research sites. Our study highlights the triadic influence of individual, organizational and contextual organizing practices on the cultivation of strategic foresight. We identify four relational assemblages of practices that enable (or impede) the enactment of strategic foresight in practice. These include strategic conversations, perspective taking and reflexivity-in-practice, over-emphasis on formal knowledge and technical rationality, and benevolent conspiracies. We add to research on strategic foresight by extending our understanding of the vital role that lower-level employees may play in the cultivation of organizational ‘foresightfulness’. We therefore urge management advisors to accord lower-level input recognizably respectful consideration, if not adoption.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sarpong D, Maclean M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Business Research

Year: 2016

Volume: 69

Online publication date: 30/12/2015

Acceptance date: 13/12/2015

Date deposited: 15/12/2015

ISSN (print): 0148-2963

ISSN (electronic): 1873-7978

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2015.12.050


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