Systemic Practice and Action Research

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 1–25 | Cite as

Foreseeing the Dynamics of Strategy: An Anticipatory Systems Perspective

  • Rossen Kazakov
  • Martin Kunc
Original Paper


The paper explores firms as complex anticipatory systems which construct dynamic strategic configurations based on anticipation of their future possible states within the competitive environment. We argue that firm’s performance depends on (a) its strategy making process based on anticipation, and (b) its managerial capabilities which effectuate the anticipatory process in the following four stages: search across anticipated “what-if” resource configurations, the articulation and conversion of their meaning, and the finding and evolution of strategic patterns and courses of action for environmental fit. We performed an in-depth exploratory study with a group of senior managers in a pharmaceutical firm to uncover diverse anticipatory capabilities. The study was based on the development and re-assessment of a product market strategy for a new drug launch without and with the use of a simulation-based learning environment. The results show the existence of heterogeneous anticipatory process, which we name search-articulate-find-evolve of alternative resource configuration sets, determining the managerial dynamic capabilities related particularly to managerial cognition and decision making. We propose anticipation enhanced by modelling and simulation can improve managers’ mental processes and help them to overcome cognitive limitations when dealing with real-world complexities.


Anticipatory systems Dynamic capabilities Strategic management 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Strateggo Ltd.SofiaBulgaria
  2. 2.Warwick Business SchoolUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK

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