Enacting a new approach to scenario analysis: the potential of a pragmatist account

Paul Davis (Teaching Fellow, Senior Lecturer, Worcester Business School, University of Worcester, Worcester, UK)
Neil Pyper (Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Business, Environment and Society, Coventry University, Coventry, UK)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Publication date: 14 September 2015



This paper aims to take a new look at how scenarios are produced and used. It does so from a perspective that is unusual in the field: network pragmatism.


This paper takes a conceptual approach.


A network pragmatist account allows scenarios to play an important role in actions designed to secure specific futures for organisations. It, thus, endows them with micro-political force. Any scenario that fails to exert this force will wither and, ultimately, die, but it can be resuscitated. With its demise in the networked world, a scenario can assume a more partial and private existence, shaping the affections, loyalties and actions of notable individuals.

Research limitations/implications

This approach generates novel propositions that question the adequacy of currently dominant cognitive theories. However, it has yet to be tested empirically.


Pragmatist reading of scenarios that is proposed is not only distinct but also only ever partial. This work emphasises that a holistic account of scenario lives needs multiple theoretical perspectives.



Davis, P. and Pyper, N. (2015), "Enacting a new approach to scenario analysis: the potential of a pragmatist account", Foresight, Vol. 17 No. 5, pp. 427-443. https://doi.org/10.1108/FS-10-2014-0060

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