Intersections of Strategic Planning and Futures Studies: Methodological Complementarities

by Curtis W. Roney


Two apparently independent management disciplines – Strategic Planning and Futures Studies –are converging through joint application in practice and their literatures. The two disciplines enhance each other; yet, in the academic community, they remain largely detached and ignorant of each other. The primary purpose of this article is to acknowledge and explore the methodological intersections and complementarities of Strategic Planning and Futures Studies. In the academy, Strategic Planning was the predecessor of contemporary Strategic Management. But, Strategic Planning was essentially abandoned by the academy in the 1980s. Subsequently, a new community of strategic planning methodologists – comprised largely of futurists – emerged. Futures studies have enabled strategists to use planning models more productively by clarifying vital issues such as impending and potential changes in economic, industry and market structures; drivers of rivalry; technology; and supply/demand balances. Concurrently, the strategic planning model provides a structure for integrating and organizing the many methods and techniques that are used by futurists. Thus, Futures Studies and Strategic Planning are highly complementary. A second purpose of this article therefore is to stimulate a more productive conversation between these two disciplines and to encourage their collaboration in the academy.

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