A matter of foresight: how practices enable (or impede) organizational foresightfulness

David Sarpong, Mairi Maclean, Clayton Davies

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Emphasizing practice as the site of the emergence of strategic foresight, this paper draws on the contemporary turn to 'practice' to examine how the organizing practices of members positioned further down the organization may facilitate (or constrain) their ability to enact foresightful actions. Adopting a case-based approach, three software companies engaged in four new product development projects served as our empirical research sites. With emphasis placed on their innovation teams' everyday practices, data for the empirical inquiry were collected using the qualitative methods of semistructured interviews, ethnographical observation and project archival documents. Explicating the observed foresightful practices and their underlying activities under the general rubrics of organizing architecture and social co-ordination, we identified over-compartmentalization, over-determinism and (in)congruence-of-values as quintessentially embedded organizing practices, that constitutively enable (or impede) organizational foresightfulness. We conclude the paper with a discussion of the managerial implications and some limitations of our research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-625
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Management Journal
Issue number6
Early online date28 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • (In)congruence-of-values
  • Organising architecture
  • Organizational foresight
  • Product innovation teams
  • Social co-ordination
  • Social practices


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