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Long Range Planning

32/4 August 1999

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Charles Baden-Fuller Editorial

Risk and its Management

G. Ringland, M. Edwards, L. Hammond, B. Heinzen, A. Rendell,
O. Sparrow, E. White
Shocks Paradigm Busters (Why Do We Get Surprised? gill.ringland@btinternet.com

    The authors use a range of sources of data to review anticipations of the future made at various times in the past century. They conclude that the projections of the future suffer from four basic assumptions that are not generally valid. These relate to the roles of government, the individual and technology, and the concept of progress. They conclude that forecasts today will probably suffer at least to some extent from these assumptions, and ask whether there are new and different paradigm shifts that we are failing to anticipate. The article concludes by suggesting some ways in which organisations can improve their ability to anticipate the future.

C. J. Clarke and S. Varma Strategic Risk Management: The New Competitive Edge cclarke@boyden.com

    Risk Management has become a critical issue as a result of globalisation and the continued quest for greater returns. Whilst most companies now see risk as a key strategic issue, risk is typically still treated tactically and piecemeal. In this article, the authors argue that an integrated risk management approach allows companies to consistently deliver superior performance while proactively managing risks. The article outlines a structured methodology for risk management process evaluation and change. The methodology has been developed through the author's' work as risk management consultants to various companies globally.

Strategy and Organisational Design

M. Church Organizing Simply for Complexity: Beyond Metaphor Towards Theory  michael.church@dovregruppen.swinternet.co.uk

    The science of complexity is founded on the repeated finding that important behaviours of different complex adaptive systems can be described by a small number of principles. In spite of growing interest, applications to human social organisation have been limited to metaphor and analogy – no theoretical principles have been proposed. In this article a general description of the characteristics of emergence and coherence as a wider pattern of organisation leads to the proposal that six general principles, or necessary conditions, underlie ‘adaptation' to complex and uncertain environments. It is then argued that two key regularities in the development and final shape of human cognition make this deeper understanding of systems directly relevant and applicable to human social organisation – as eight principles that enable us to organise simply for a complexity. Four of the principles – level-specific capability; values; level-specific work processes; and level-specific information processes – are discussed in more detail.

B. Simpson and M. Powell  Designing Research Organizations for Science Innovation  b.simpson@auckland.ac.nz

    In these times of rapid environmental and organisational change, there is increasing demand for sustainable, continuous innovation. Science research organisations, which operate at the cutting edge of creative innovation, require organisational designs capable of supporting this growing trend. This article identifies four distinct design archetypes, which are then integrated into a comprehensive typology for the analysis of science organisations. Case studies of a set of eight comparable research institutes in New Zealand highlight the various design options available to science organisations as well as the performance implications of these options.

Managing Service Quality

I. Lings Managing Service Quality with Internal Marketing Schematics. I.N.Lings@aston.ac.uk

    This article presents the development and application of a new tool for enhancing the quality of services delivered to a firm's customers. This new model, the internal marketing schematic, has considerable advantages over other models that have been presented in the literature. The internal marketing schematic is derived from a synthesis of existing tried and tested management tools. It identifies the processes involved in delivering quality services both internally and externally and provides for the measurement of the quality of these services. These measures are used to develop improvement targets for all groups within the organisation. The internal marketing schematic encourages participation from all employees, focuses them on the impact of their activities on the firm's customers and motivates them to achieve higher quality service provision. The results of exploratory studies into the application of the internal marketing schematic suggest that the tool has considerable utility in achieving high quality service provision to customers.

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