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Strategic Decisions and Weak Signals: Anticipation for Decision-Making

Strategic Decisions and Weak Signals: Anticipation for Decision-Making

Humbert Lesca, Nicolas Lesca

ISBN: 978-1-118-95915-2

May 2014

144 pages


An increasing number of business executives, managers and political leaders are using the concept of “weak signals” nowadays. There are also an increasing number of people trying to find out exactly what this concept means, as well as when and how to use it. Such questions arise particularly when it comes down to making strategic decisions.  To help with these questions, this book defines the concept of the “weak signal” and then demonstrates how it would be useful in relation to strategic decisions, and more precisely in relation to three moments of the strategic decision, i.e.:

- The trigger of the strategic decision (what is the trigger, why and when)
- The development of the strategic decision
- The implementation of the strategic decision


Introduction ix

Chapter 1 The Subject Within the Field of Management Science: Concepts and Issues 1

1.1 Strategic management and strategic decision-making 3

1.2 Strategic decision-making and anticipation 6

1.3 Anticipation, anticipative information and weak signals 16

1.4 Weak signals and anticipative strategic scanning 25

1.5 Organizational issues in anticipative strategic scanning, which could weaken strategic decision-making 31

1.6 Conclusion: concepts discussed, issues noted and resulting requirements 45

Chapter 2 State of the Art: Systems Suggested by Previous Authors 47

2.1 Entry point: collective interpretation of a set of homogeneous weak signals to make sense 48

2.2 Directly detecting a weak signal in a full text 58

2.3 Automatically selecting a ""useful"" information fragment (a ""brief"", for our purposes) 59

2.4 Improving weak-signal detection by improving the target 68

2.5 Conclusion 71

Chapter 3 Proposed Systems: Results of Information System Prototyping Research Conducted at the CNRS-CERAG Lab (France) 73

3.1 TARGETBUILDER, and aid to targeting scanning priorities 74

3.2 APROXIMA, automated extraction of fragments (briefs), which may hold weak signals 82

3.3 ALHENA, an aid to finding connections between weak signals 92

3.4 Conclusion 105

Conclusion 107

Glossary 111

Bibliography 121

Index 129