Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Oil scenarios for long-term business planning: Royal Dutch Shell and generative explanation, 1960-2010

Jefferson, Michael and Voudouris, Vlasios (2011): Oil scenarios for long-term business planning: Royal Dutch Shell and generative explanation, 1960-2010. Published in: CIBS Working Papers Series No. 18 (5. January 2011): pp. 1-40.

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Abstract

Most executives know that overarching paints of plausible futures will profoundly affect the competitiveness and survival of their organisation. Initially from the perspective of Shell, this article discuses oil scenarios and their relevance for upstream investments.

Scenarios are then incorporated into generative explanation and its principal instrument, namely agent-based computational laboratories, as the new standard of explanation of the past and the present and the new way to structure the uncertainties of the future. The key concept is that the future should not be regarded as ‘complicated’ but as ‘complex’, in that there are uncertainties about the driving forces that generate unanticipated futures, which cannot be explored analytically.

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