Corporate foresight in Sweden : A quantitative comparison between Swedish and European companies

University essay from KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM); KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM)

Abstract: Studies show that the average lifespan of large companies is decreasing and that companies of today face a higher degree of market-saturation caused by globalization. In order for companies to stay alive, they need to scan for trends outside their business scope, which can be done by adopting corporate foresight. This thesis investigates the uniqueness of corporate foresight in large Swedish companies when compared to a European sample. The focus lies on measuring differences with regards to need, capabilities and maturity of corporate foresight. This thesis establishes that there is an ever-growing interest in studying corporate foresight from a Swedish perspective due to the high rate of innovation in the country. Based on a theoretical framework, a method is established for measuring the three main dimensions of need, capabilities and maturity. The data for the Swedish companies is empirical data from 11 Swedish companies gathered using a survey provided by the collaborator Rohrbeck Heger GmbH. The Swedish data is then compared to a European sample by using an existing database. Through the use of a quantitative method with two statistical tests, one non-parametric test (Mann-Whitney U-test) and one parametric test (Welch’s t-test), several interesting differences were found. For need, it was found that Swedish firms act in a less dynamic environment than its European counterparts, but that Swedish firms’ environment is more complex. For capabilities, Swedish firms have stronger internal capabilities with regards to culture, method sophistication and information usage. Finally, for maturity, Swedish firms have stronger perceiving abilities but weaker prospecting abilities than European firms. In summary, it is not possible to say that the overall need or maturity with regards to corporate foresight is greater or more advanced for Swedish firms. However, a conclusion is that Swedish firms have stronger capabilities for corporate foresight than its European counterparts. 

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