Plausability and probability in scenario planning

Ramírez, Rafael and Selin, Cynthia (2014) Plausability and probability in scenario planning. Foresight, 16 (1). pp. 54-74.

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For decades scenario planners have debated the relative merits of using plausibility and probability in their methodology. Preference for the one or the other distinguishes not only techniques and tools, but comprises whole schools of thought, determines criteria for effectiveness, and suggests not only epistemological but also ontological differences. In this article we critically examine both concepts: their etymology and history, their cultural connotations, and their relationships. We find that the relationship between both concepts is more complex and more nuanced, that over time it has varied, and that much more clarity is called for when invoking each both on its own merits and in counter-distinction to the other. The paper makes two contributions: it demystifies some of the distinctions that influential authors have called upon to classify scenario approaches, laying bare unfounded biases and unhelpful and even artificial and self-serving differences. In so doing it provides practitioners a more nuanced appreciation of the merits of plausibility and probability, providing a more rigorous and scholarly view, so that they can be more effectively referred to when making choices of method and approach.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: scenario planning, plausibility, probability, methodological choice, scenario planning ‘schools’
Subject(s): Strategy; Entrepreneurship & Global business
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2013 10:06
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2017 13:00
Funders: Not applicable

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