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Working paper

Corporate Foresight in the Strategy of Multinationals

The purpose of this paper is to explore corporate foresight as a new important instrument within strategic management system of multinational corporations (MNCs). The author directly connects the recent rise of corporate foresight with MNCs’ growing need to fill the gaps of traditional corporate strategic management, struggling with the challenges of today’s global turbulent business-environment (known as VUCA world characterized by unprecedented volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). From this perspective corporate foresight is capable to provide a number of viable responses. They include significant expansion of the horizon of MNCs’ long-term future vision, enhanced capabilities of business-environment scanning (identifying not only clearly visible trends but the so-called weak signals as well) and strengthening intra-firm communications in the course of strategy development process, thus contributing to the implementation capacity of multinational corporate team. Within analysis of actual corporate foresight practices of major multinationals special attention is attached to the common features of foresight organization (standard process phases, typical set of methods used) and peculiarities related mainly to different MNCs’ sector-specific environment characteristics, including complexity and dynamics of change. The attempt is also made to disclose the actual impact of corporate foresight activities on the effectiveness of the key functions of MNCs’ strategic management. The author draws the conclusion that corporate foresight is becoming a core element of the strategic management architecture of multinational business, striving to protect and strengthen its global market positioning in increasingly turbulent and unpredictable environment. For MNCs’ top management, trying to find the right strategic course in radically changing competitive landscape, this powerful tool is increasingly playing the same role as GPS navigator for car drivers.