Department of Management

René Rohrbeck

Corporate Foresight: An Emerging Field with a Rich Tradition

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  • René Rohrbeck
  • Cinzia Battistella, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, ItalyEelko Huizingh, university of Groningen, Netherlands
The goal of this introductory article to the Special Issue on Corporate Foresight is to provide an overview of the state of the art, major challenges and to identify development trajectories. We define corporate foresight as an ability that permits an organization to lay the foundation for a future competitive advantage. Historically we distinguish and discuss four main phases 1) birth of the field (1950s), 2) the age of scenarios (1960s-1970s), 3) professionalization (1980s-1990s), and 4) towards an organizational ability (2000- ). A systematic literature search revealed 102 articles on foresight, 29 of them on corporate foresight. Based on these articles and those in this Special Issue, we identify four main themes. Two more mature themes, namely ‘organizing corporate foresight’, and ‘individual and collective cognition’, and two emerging themes ‘corporate foresight in networked organizations’, and ‘quantifying value contributions’. In the conclusion we make a plea for establishing corporate foresight as a separate research stream that can adopt various theoretical foundations from a number of general management research traditions. To help the field move forward we identify three areas in which corporate foresight research can build on theoretical notions in general management, and can contribute to such on-going debates.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Volume101
Pages (from-to)1-9
ISSN0040-1625
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Research areas

  • Corporate Foresight, Strategic Foresight, Review, Historical Development

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