Uncertainty, turbulence and scenarios

Ramírez, Rafael and Forssell, Madeleine (2011) Uncertainty, turbulence and scenarios. Ekonomiaz, 76 (1). pp. 92-103.


Uncertainty is a precondition for our choices to have meaning, but we like to think we have adaptive capacities to deal with the surprises and opportunities uncertainty entails. The turbulent field was defined in 1965 by Emery and Trist as the most uncertain causal texture a system could be in, though the more uncertain hyper-turbulent and vortical fields have been considered since. People's experience of the uncertainty in turbulence is moderated by the adaptive capacities they perceive they can mobilize, both individually and collectively. In turbulence, pre-existing adaptation possibilities are overwhelmed for the individual system. Turbulence for a system arises because its broader contextual environment and its constituent parts become highly inter-linked and the resulting complexity and the uncertainty it produces overwhelms that system’s response capability, as happened in the recent financial crises - the demise of Lehman Brothers, the Icelandic and Irish melt-downs, the even questioning the Euro’s viability. In a turbulent world, scenarios are helpful navigators of the uncertainties of such futures for systems in it. The values that scenarios can surface, test, and contest contribute to create new collective certainty for those that participate in their production, pushing turbulence back and re-constructing a more stable ground for decision making and investing.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Causal texture; contextual environment; learning; risks; scenarios; transactional environment; turbulence; uncertainty; values turbulences
Subject(s): Strategy; Entrepreneurship & Global business
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2012 16:52
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2018 14:31
URI: http://eureka.sbs.ox.ac.uk/id/eprint/3132

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