Alex Fergnani

Associate Editor

World Futures Review

Alex is PhD candidate in Management and Organisation at NUS Business School under a President Fellowship, associate editor with World Futures Review, Honorary Research Fellow at Strathclyde Business School, and futures and foresight consultant with the strategic foresight consultancies Shaping Tomorrow and Forwardto. Alex conducts research on corporate foresight and futures and foresight theories and methods. His research has been published in the journals Academy of Management Perspectives, Harvard Business Review, European Business Review, Futures, Futures & Foresight Science, Foresight, and World Futures Review, among other outlets. Alex regularly gives futures and foresight workshops globally.


The resistance to scientific theory in futures and foresight, and what to do about it

June 2, 2021

Alex will present the result of his research with Thomas Chermack, published in the paper "The resistance to scientific theory in futures and foresight, and what to do about it", Published on Futures & Foresight Science.We offer an argumentative explanation of the reasons why the field of futures and foresight has not been successful at becoming part of the social scientific establishment. We contend that the very set of norms, beliefs, and epistemological foundations of futures and foresight are essentially self-sabotaging as they resist the creation of scientific theory on futures and foresight practices and processes in organizations.Drawing from the tradition of management and organization sciences, we describe what scientific theory in the context of organizations is and is not, and how theory development contributes to the incremental progress of scientific fields. We then unpack the crux of the problem, deconstructing the resistance to scientific theory within our field into nine, closely related reasons. We offer solutions to the problem in the form of three sets of recommendations: for authors, journal editors, and practitioners. We conclude by responding to likely misunderstandings in advance.