Planning in the Royal Dutch/Shell Group

  • Leslie E. Grayson


The Royal Dutch/Shell Group, or Shell, was the second largest industrial corporation in the world and the largest industrial corporation outside the USA in 1983. Sales were $81 bn and net income was $4.2 bn.1 The Shell Group had previously owned 69 per cent of Shell Oil Company (US). In 1984 the Group made a bid for the remaining 31 per cent. In this chapter, Shell refers to the Royal Dutch/Shell Group and not to Shell Oil (US).


Strategic Planning Large Company Scenario Development Strategy Formulation Operating Company 
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  1. 1.
    Fortune, 20 August 1984, pp. 201–2.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    A History of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies (London: Group Public Affairs, Shell International Petroleum Co., 1983).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    An idealized picture appeared in ‘Exxon Move Over’, by L. Minard and C. E. Curtis, Forbes, 24 November 1980, pp. 129–40. The factual basis is provided by several internal Shell memoranda, the most useful being that by P. L. Folmer, 10 March 1983.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Minard and Curtis, ‘Exxon Move Over’, p. 133.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
  6. 6.
    Christopher Lorenz, ‘The Management Page’, Financial Times, 4 and 5 March 1980, respectively, p. 19 and p. 13; ‘Shell’s Multiple Scenario Planning’, World Business Weekly, 7 April 1980, pp. 14–15;Google Scholar
  7. Andre Benard, ‘World Oil and Cold Reality’, Harvard Business Review, November–December 1980, pp. 91–101;Google Scholar
  8. P. W. Beck, ‘Corporate Planning for an Uncertain Future’ (London: Shell UK Limited, 1981) and ‘Forecasts: Opiates for Decision Makers’, Third International Symposium on Forecasting, Philadelphia, June 1983;Google Scholar
  9. P. Schwartz, ‘Planning in Shell’, Nyborg, June 1983.Google Scholar
  10. 7.
    The author was involved, in one form or another, with Shell planning in The Hague, July 1976; in Paris, October 1979; in London, April 1982 and through frequent visits to Shell Centre in the period September 1983–May 1984. In 1982–3 he was also involved with one of Shell’s American joint ventures, being — in this instance — a user of Shell’s central scenarios.Google Scholar
  11. 8.
    Said to working party, Paris, October 1979.Google Scholar
  12. 9.
    Shell internal document and series of interviews in April 1982 and September 1983–May 1984, London.Google Scholar
  13. 10.
    Shell internal document, 2 April 1982 and series of interviews in April 1982 and September 1983–May 1984, London.Google Scholar
  14. 11.
    In 1982 and 1983, for instance, Shell’s return on sales was on a par with Exxon’s and substantially ahead of the three companies following it in terms of size, namely, Mobil, BP, and Texaco. Calculated from Fortune, 22 August 1983, pp. 170–2 and Fortune, 20 August 1984, p. 201.Google Scholar
  15. 12.
    Series of interviews with Group Planning and other managers at Shell Centre, London, October–December 1983 and April-May 1984.Google Scholar
  16. 13.
    Ibid, and written communications from the Public Affairs Group, 18 October 1983; 11 November 1983; 16 December 1983; 21 February 1984. Personal communications from key planning professionals. Frequent visits to Group Planning and other divisions, September 1983–May 1984.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Leslie E. Grayson 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leslie E. Grayson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of VirginiaUSA

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