Handbook of Research on Strategy and Foresight
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Handbook of Research on Strategy and Foresight

Edited by Laura Anna Costanzo and Robert Bradley MacKay

Drawing together a collection of 29 original chapters, the Handbook makes an invaluable contribution to theory and practice by stimulating disciplined, rigorous and imaginative enquiry into the relationship between strategy and foresight. Leading scholars in the field of strategic management are brought together to offer innovative and multi-disciplinary perspectives on the past, present and future of strategy formation and foresight. In so doing, they challenge research in four key areas: strategy and foresight processes; strategy innovation for the future; understanding the future; and strategically responding to the future.
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Chapter 25: Strategic Foresight and the Role of Organizational Memory Within a Punctuated Equilibrium Framework

Stelios C. Zyglidopoulos and Stephanie W.J.C. Schreven


* Stelios C. Zyglidopoulos and Stephanie W.J.C. Schreven Worlds on worlds are rolling ever From creation to decay Like the bubbles on a river Sparkling, bursting, borne away. (Shelley, in Whitehead, Modes of Thought, 1938: 45) Introduction According to Whitehead (1938), strategic foresight is the capacity for establishing appropriate generalities and anticipating future developments. Therefore, he continues, strategic foresight is the crucial feature of a competent business mind, and, we might add, functions as a valuable and decisive characteristic of an organization’s ability to successfully deal with the future. However, despite the importance of the matter in terms of understanding the conditions under which strategic foresight enables organizations to successfully navigate uncertainties and capitalize on changing future conditions, it has not received adequate attention within the strategic management and organization theory literatures. In this chapter, drawing on the appropriate literatures, we develop a conceptual model that addresses the role that organizational memory plays in a firm’s capability for strategic foresight, within a punctuated equilibrium framework. Strategic foresight, as an organizational capability, refers to an organization’s ability to conceptualize novel developments and anticipate them (Whitehead 1938; Slaughter 1998; Tsoukas and Shepherd 2004). In other words, an organization’s capability to engage in strategic foresight has two aspects to it. The first refers to an organization’s ability to conceptualize novel developments, which depends on its understanding of the situation, and its ability to engage in speculative imagination, whereas the second refers to the organization’s ability to take the appropriate actions in anticipation of novel...

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