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Article
Publication date: 14 November 2016

Stuart Thomas and Jason Potts

The purpose of this paper is to investigate a competitive evolutionary process we call “innovation overshooting” that has been observed in equipment-based sports, using…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate a competitive evolutionary process we call “innovation overshooting” that has been observed in equipment-based sports, using windsurfing as a case study.

Design/methodology/approach

The case-study approach is based upon primary data gathered through semi-structured, in-depth interviews with pioneers of the case-study sport and through analysis of international and domestic industry publications and grey literature.

Findings

New sports, in particular equipment-based “lifestyle” sports, can experience a rapid rise in popularity but eventually technology-driven competition leads to equipment overshooting the capabilities and financial budgets of most users. This Schumpeterian market process leads to a rapid decline in participation and the eventual collapse of the market for the sport’s equipment.

Originality/value

Models of endogenous overshooting are established in the study of finance and business cycles, and have recently been extended to the music and design industry. The authors extend this to the sports equipment sector finding clear evidence of evolutionary competitive technological and market overshooting.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. 6 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2017

Lalit Upadhayay and Prem Vrat

The Indian technical education has experienced an exponential growth since 1995. However, the technical education system was not able to sustain it and the enrollments…

Abstract

Purpose

The Indian technical education has experienced an exponential growth since 1995. However, the technical education system was not able to sustain it and the enrollments, particularly in engineering, fell down considerably. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the growth of Indian technical education from system dynamics (SD) perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

Technical education is a complex system in which the outcome of a decision comes with a third order delay. SD is an appropriate tool to analyze the causal structure and behavior of complex systems. This study developed an analogy from the physics of a boomerang to do the comparative assessment of “sudden overshoot and collapse” phase in the growth of Indian technical education. Further, it compared the technical education growth with the Gartner hype cycle. The growth model of Indian technical education was developed using SD software STELLA (version 10.0).

Findings

The model was simulated for five different policy scenarios. The outcome of the SD analysis shows that the “goal-seeking behaviour,” which produces stable growth without hampering quality, is the best proposition amongst all scenarios considered in the study. It identifies policies which will enable long-term stability in the Indian technical education system as well as policies which will lead to perpetual instability in the system.

Research limitations/implications

The study conducted will encourage researchers to use SD in analyzing complex systems for sustainability and in the selection of appropriate policies.

Originality/value

The paper uses boomerang analogy for analyzing the growth in engineering enrollments and highlights the presence of “the boomerang effect,” a term coined by the authors for sudden overshoot and collapse behavior, in the causal structure which is injurious to the education system.

Details

Journal of Advances in Management Research, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0972-7981

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Article
Publication date: 4 June 2008

Clifford G. Hurst

The purpose of this paper is to propose that consumer goodwill can best be understood as a limited, but potentially renewable resource. Like a renewable natural resource…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose that consumer goodwill can best be understood as a limited, but potentially renewable resource. Like a renewable natural resource, consumer goodwill can be over‐exploited. A review of the rise and rapid fall of the business‐to‐consumer (b‐to‐c) telemarketing industry in the USA provides evidence that over‐exploitation of consumer goodwill is precisely what happened. Using telemarketing as a case study, the paper aims to argue that direct marketing practices ought to be managed in accordance with principles of sustainability. If they are not, the consequences may be sudden and near‐permanent declines in consumer responsiveness.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper interprets the rise and rapid fall of b‐to‐c telemarketing in the USA through the theoretical framework of sustainability. The rise of telemarketing began in the early 1990s with the adoption of predictive dialer technology. Its demise can be marked by the passage of the Federal Do Not Call Registry in 2003.

Findings

It was found that the framework of sustainability does, in fact, seem to adequately describe events surrounding the rise, then near‐collapse of b‐to‐c telemarketing in the USA during this timeframe.

Research limitations/implications

Being a conceptual paper, the principal finding is that there exists a real, but yet‐undefined threshold of consumer goodwill towards consumer telemarketing. How can that threshold be determined? How can industry self‐regulate to remain below its threshold? Can an industry that has over‐exploited its consumer threshold of goodwill ever recover? These questions are raised, not answered.

Originality/value

The paper applies the concept of sustainability to direct marketing. It will be of interest to any researchers or practitioners who seek to comprehend what worked so well then went quickly so wrong with b‐to‐c telemarketing in the USA. The findings may help to prevent similar consumer backlashes in other countries where b‐to‐c telemarketing has only begun to become common practice. These findings may also have value for practitioners who rely on consumer goodwill in other direct marketing channels, such as e‐mail and catalog marketing.

Details

Direct Marketing: An International Journal, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-5933

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Article
Publication date: 10 November 2014

Joshua Floyd and Richard A. Slaughter

The purpose of this special issue is first to highlight the need for wider understanding of the “civilisational challenge” facing humanity, as it encounters and then…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this special issue is first to highlight the need for wider understanding of the “civilisational challenge” facing humanity, as it encounters and then exceeds significant limits to growth. The second is to present material that provides grounds for developing effective responses.

Design/methodology/approach

The issue draws on evidence from previous research, economic modelling and a range of other sources to investigate the hypothesis that humanity is heading towards an “overshoot and collapse” future. It further suggests that a useful way of responding is to explore the possibility that the prospect of collapse can be moderated or avoided through a process of “conscious descent.”

Findings

The main findings are that a very wide spectrum of policies, actions, strategies and options is available that can and should be used to help us avoid the most disastrous manifestations of “overshoot and collapse.” Yet there are also many barriers and impediments that continue to inhibit effective responses. This means that the process of coming to grips with the “civilisational challenge” will take longer and become increasingly costly. Denialism and short term thinking remain embedded in dominant institutions and mainstream practice. Currently, vastly more is miss-spent on various perverse incentives (e.g. advertising, the funding of denial, fossil fuel subsidies) than on securing the future of civilisation. This can be seen as a consequence of outdated values and inadequate worldviews.

Research limitations/implications

The contributions here represent a sample from within a rapidly expanding field of enquiry and action. They should therefore be seen as indicating the need for further high quality investigation, work and action. The main implication is that this process needs to be taken seriously, properly resourced and eventually transformed into a mainstream social project.

Originality/value

The papers are contributions to an in-depth understanding of a complex and evolving situation. Their value lies in the fact that greater understanding and a commitment to early action are among the most productive investments available to societies vulnerable to the systemic threats outlined here. As such, the special issue evokes a fundamental tenet of foresight work in general. Or to put this in the words of Bertrand de Jouvenel, “the proof of improvidence lies in falling under the empire of necessity.”

Details

foresight, vol. 16 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 9 August 2013

James W. Breaux

The purpose of this paper is to look at the communications strategy of the wake up call suggested by Slaughter and to explore alternatives and other perspectives on its

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to look at the communications strategy of the wake up call suggested by Slaughter and to explore alternatives and other perspectives on its transmissions and receptions.

Design/methodology/approach

This review uses a topical literature survey and synthesis method to critique conventional vs integral‐type communications strategies and suggests alternatives.

Findings

Communications are tricky. The alignment of the sender and receiver are crucial and can be improved or degraded depending on the contextual framework of each, as well as the perceived agency and interaction of the sender/receiver actors.

Research limitations/implications

This work was accomplished from the single viewpoint of the author, with literature references and a US‐centric, western bias.

Practical implications

The discussion about the variety of communication stratagem from the perspective of the receiver and, the context of the message, as well as the motivation of the sender may provoke changes which in turn could allow greater chance for success in establishing a glide path to sustainability.

Originality/value

This work is referenced to highlight the work of others, including the author of the book reviewed. The synthesis and suggested communications approach is original to the author of the paper.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

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Article
Publication date: 9 August 2013

Joshua Floyd

Slaughter has proposed futures in which interior human development matches that of technological development as the best prospect for avoiding catastrophic collapse

Abstract

Purpose

Slaughter has proposed futures in which interior human development matches that of technological development as the best prospect for avoiding catastrophic collapse through overshoot of the Earth's carrying capacity. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of the primary energy resource context in making sense of the prospects for such futures, and to consider how subtle changes to conceptual models for understanding the nature of human development can offer alternate pathways for proceeding in light of the fundamental limits this imposes.

Design/methodology/approach

Conceptual models for the relationship between energy and social complexity are reviewed, and proposals for connecting social complexity with interior human development are discussed. Popular models of interior human development are critiqued in light of recent clarifications relating to Integral Theory; and specific reconceptualisations are proposed.

Findings

Technological and interior human development are intimately linked. There are important interdependencies between energy and social complexity that must be taken into account in establishing expectations for the way that these realms might evolve together. This presents significant challenges for realising on a society‐wide scale development of the nature commonly associated with Integral Theory. However, alternative ways of conceptualising such development offer fresh opportunities for confronting the spectre of environmental and social breakdown.

Originality/value

The implications of models relating social complexity and resource context are extended to questions of human interior development; the unit of development is extended from the individual in relative isolation to the organism‐in‐environment.

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Article
Publication date: 9 August 2013

Stephen McGrail

The purpose of this paper is to take up and contribute to understanding an important emerging theme in recent literature on global environmental change and

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to take up and contribute to understanding an important emerging theme in recent literature on global environmental change and socio‐ecological issues (including Slaughter's The Biggest Wake‐up Call in History): “positive reframing”. The paper also aims to deepen consideration of the potential for “overshoot and collapse” futures and related concerns by foresight practitioners.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on, and presents, a thematic analytical literature review.

Findings

In total, four underlying drivers of increased reframing and four central themes in positive reframes are identified; mental “frames” informing and limiting foresight work need to be openly communicated and reflected on – such practitioner reflexivity is often missing in foresight work, such as in The Biggest Wake‐up Call in History by Richard Slaughter.

Practical implications

The paper includes discussion of the implications for futures practice, including the role of mental frames and reframing. The author suggests futures practitioners can play important new roles in challenging the recent re‐emergence of influential forms of environmental determinism and foresight practitioners need to be more wary of the potential for “narrative bias”.

Social implications

Futures assessment is increasingly needed to guide policy and action in improving human‐environment relations. Barriers and opportunities to fulfilling this societal need must be understood.

Originality/value

The paper helps to deepen the consideration of “re‐framing” and environmental limits by foresight practitioners and theorists. In doing so, the paper also brings in new concepts from other fields (such as cognitive psychology and Science and Technology Studies) into the foresight/futures field.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

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Article
Publication date: 24 August 2012

Richard A. Slaughter

The purpose of this paper is to discuss and take forward several themes in two earlier papers by Ogilvy and Miller. After summarising their main points it seeks to

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss and take forward several themes in two earlier papers by Ogilvy and Miller. After summarising their main points it seeks to consider different approaches to “sense making” in the work of future‐relevant theorists and practitioners; then to consider the case of sense making through integral approaches and then to explore implications through several themes. These include: a view of changes in the global system, generic responses to the global emergency, the critique of regressive modernity and how responses to “Cassandra's dilemma” (to know the future but not be believed) might stand in relation to the views of both authors. The paper aims to conclude with a view of the benefits to be obtained from the use of a four‐quadrant approach to understanding and responding to the human predicament.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a discussion paper that questions some of the views and assumptions of the earlier papers and explores some implications of an alternative view.

Findings

While supporting the drive to improve upon the theoretical foundations of futures studies and foresight, the paper questions whether such developments are as central, or will be as influential, as the authors suggest. A different view of “how to approach the future” is recommended, in part through four “domains of generic responses” to the global predicament.

Research limitations/implications

The paper presents an argument supported by evidence. Both should be reviewed by others in pursuit of extending the conversation beyond philosophical questions to implications in practice.

Practical implications

The essence of a methodology to understand, approach and even to resolve many aspects of the global emergency is outlined here. As such the paper has many practical implications for the way that futures and foresight professionals operate and towards what ends.

Social implications

The paper provides a substantive basis for qualified hope and engagement with a range of future‐shaping tasks. Specifically, these relate to the necessary shifts from “overshoot and collapse” trajectories to options for “moderated descent”.

Originality/value

Much of the work carried out on the perspective and issues discussed here has been carried out by those working outside of the futures/foresight domain. The value is both in affirming positive ways forward and extending the professional reach of futures/foresight workers to embrace new ideas and methods.

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Article
Publication date: 10 January 2018

Jason Potts and Stuart Thomas

The purpose of this paper is to propose a new classification of rules-driven sports and technology-driven sports that suggests different models of how sports develop. This…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a new classification of rules-driven sports and technology-driven sports that suggests different models of how sports develop. This paper outlines some key aspects of an evolutionary view of sports economics research and, separately, an institutional view of sports economic research.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is a conceptual/theoretical piece rather than an empirical analysis of a research question. The authors scaffold a proposed analytic framework that is a combination of evolutionary economics and new institutional economics.

Findings

A new dynamic approach to the study of sports industries is called for. The authors observe that sports and sports industries exhibit dynamic qualities but in the study of sports there is no analogue of “industrial dynamics” as in economics. What is missing is the field of “evolutionary sports dynamics.” To build this, the authors frame a new evolutionary approach to the study of the sports economy and sports industries – by examining the evolution of sports, their industries, and the complex industrial ecosystems they operate in, through the lens of institutional and evolutionary economics.

Originality/value

The paper establishes a theoretical basis for a “New Economics of Sports” – as a shift in the types of questions that sports economics seeks to answer. These are away from “sports statics” – as a branch of applied economics of industrial organization and optimal allocation of sports resources (ala Rottenberg, 1956; Neale, 1964) – and toward concern with the economics of “sports dynamics.” The prime questions are less with the optimal organization of existing sports, and more toward understanding the origin of new sports and the evolutionary life cycles of sports.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

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Article
Publication date: 10 November 2014

Richard A. Slaughter

The purposes of this paper are as follows. Part one examines the role of denialism in the context of proposals advanced through the much-abused Limits to Growth (LtG…

Abstract

Purpose

The purposes of this paper are as follows. Part one examines the role of denialism in the context of proposals advanced through the much-abused Limits to Growth (LtG) project. Part two uses three sets of criteria (domains of reality, worldviews and values) to characterise some of the interior human and social aspects of the “denial machine.” It uses these criteria to address some vital, but currently under-appreciated “interior” aspects of descent. (N.B. A succinct “primer” or overview of the concept and underpinning rationale for notions of “descent pathways” is provided in the introduction to this special issue.)

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on a number of authoritative sources that track the dimensions of global change and, specifically, the ways that humanity is tracking towards Dystopian overshoot-and-collapse futures. The significance of the LtG project is assessed in this context. Part two employs the criteria noted above to identify and open out the centrality of the human and cultural interiors.

Findings

Responses to the LtG project are shown to have deprived humanity of the clarity and will to respond effectively to the emerging global emergency. The rise of climate change denialism has followed suit and made effective responses increasingly difficult. A new focus, however, on some of the dynamics of reality domains, worldviews and values, clarifies both the nature of the problem and prefigures a range of solutions, some of which are briefly outlined.

Research limitations/implications

This is primarily a conceptual paper that suggests a range of practical responses. For example, re-purposing parts of the current information technology (IT) infrastructure away from financial and economic indices to those tracking the health of the planet. Also translating the case put forward here for a new generation of Institutions of Foresight (IoFs) into real-world start-ups and examples. Further research is needed into the uses and limitations both of positive and negative views of futures. It is suggested that the latter have more value than is commonly realised.

Practical implications

In addition to those stated above, the practical implications include new uses for IT infrastructure based on worldcentric – rather than financial and economic worldviews; designing and implementing a new generation of IoFs; and finding new ways to inform the public of impending Dystopian outcomes without exacerbating avoidance and depression.

Social implications

The social implications are profound. Currently, humanity has allowed itself to “tune out” and ignore many of the well-founded “signals” (from the global system) and warnings (from those who have observed and tracked real-world changes). As a result, it has outgrown the capacity of the planet to support the current population, let alone the 10 billion currently projected by the United Nations (UN). Something must give. Applied foresight can provide essential lead time to act before human actions are overwhelmed by forces beyond its control.

Originality/value

The paper draws together material from hitherto disparate sources to assess the LtG project. It also deploys key concepts from an integral perspective that shed new light on human and cultural forces that determine how people respond to the prospect of Dystopian futures. In so doing, it provides insight into why we are where we are and also into some of the means by which humanity can respond. Specifically, it suggests a shift from collapse narratives to those of descent.

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