What is it about?

The breadth of trends and technologies present an uncertain landscape for decision-makers entrusted with strategic planning. Given the time horizon and uncertainties in predicting the future accurately, these decision-makers face strategic risks. In this study, we apply a framework to assist management decision making in the face of uncertainty and to identify opportunities.

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Why is it important?

Management decision-makers often face strategic uncertainty. Constraints can limit their responses. Those can include resource constraints involving money, time, and human resources; structural constraints involving the scope and scale of how these resources can be allocated; and strategic constraints involving which services or products an entity can provide and the risks decision-makers must take in the process. Management decision-makers need a framework that allows them to maneuver in an uncertain environment within these constraints and to make decisions that can prepare their institutions for the future. The Strategic Flexibility Framework is based on the idea that decision-makers require flexibility to adjust decisions within given constraints. Strategic uncertainty requires strategic flexibility, the ability to change strategies. The Strategic Flexibility Framework is based on two core constructs: scenario-based planning and real options. Scenario-based planning creates potential future conditions and aims to anticipate the future rather than predict it. Options for alternative strategies are also explored, either for alternative scenarios or for a given scenario, which provides the ability to change strategies.

Perspectives

It was exciting doing this research and writing this paper. In this study, We did not apply the Strategic Flexibility Framework to a specific institution with defined capabilities, technologies and assets, and, therefore, defined constraints. Instead, we applied it to inform management decision-makers from a generic set of academic, industrial, and governmental institutions, using agrifood nanotechnology skill needs, which obviously is a subject of great relevance for the 21st Century

Professor Robert M Yawson
Quinnipiac University

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This page is a summary of: Strategic flexibility analysis of agrifood nanotechnology skill needs identification, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, May 2017, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2017.02.019.
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