This study embraces the scientific debate about the role that scenario planning tools play in the strategic planning process; moreover, this study also embraces the debate about how the use of scenario-planning tools impacts financial performance in complex settings. More specifically, the paper aims to provide answers to the following research questions: a) Does the use of scenario planning tools in the strategic planning process affect firm performance? b) Does the environmental complexity generate a moderating effect on the relationship between the use of scenario planning tools and firm performance?
The authors carried out the empirical analysis by examining data acquired through the administration of a closed-question survey to 794 small-medium manufacturing Italian firms that operate in complex environments. Data analysis, carried out using statistical regression techniques, shows that: a) The use of scenario planning techniques in strategic planning processes generates a positive impact on firm performance; and b) the positive effect on firm performance that derives from the use of the scenario planning techniques is higher for firms that operate in an environment with a high level of intensity of change.
Keywords: Strategic planning, Business performance, Environmental complexity, Scenario planning.