Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The use and impact of FTA

Havas, Attila and Johnston, Ron (2008): The use and impact of FTA.

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The need and relevance of using FTA for decision-making in the private and public sector is becoming ever more apparent. The complexity and multi-faceted nature of issues that need to be addressed, and the inescapable attendant uncertainty, requires a very different approach from the traditional analysis of internal capabilities and external possibilities through strategic planning. What is increasingly required is a capacity to contemplate and engage with a number of possible futures, to draw on the intelligence and perspectives of a wide range of actors, and to apply these in a dynamic, pro-active fashion, in a continuous learning process. Under these circumstances, demonstration of the impact of the application of FTA and of means to enhance that impact, are paramount. Precise cost-benefit analyses, however, are inappropriate. FTA should be understood as a conceptual framework, an art (practice) and a set of tools. Therefore, a broader set of criteria is required to evaluate its impacts. The paper first provides an overview of the theoretical frameworks, in which the FTA impacts can be assessed. Then a new, but more simple, pragmatic approach is proposed for analysing the use of FTA, namely a distinction between the arguments used by FTA experts and the expectations of potential ‘clients’. The paper concludes that major efforts are needed to operationalise the existing theoretical frameworks to assist actual impact assessment projects, and thus making impact assessment a widely used practice. In doing so, the FTA community will be in a position to analyse the differences between the promised, expected and actual impacts. That would improve the design of FTA projects, and contribute to a more appropriate and wider use of FTA.

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