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The cultural contradictions of managing change: using horizon scanning in an evidence-based policy context

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Purpose ? The purpose of this article is to identify points of conceptual conflict between evidence-based policy research and horizon (environmental) scanning. Design/methodology/approach ? The paper begins with a brief history of foresight in UK government, then describes the current government context for horizon scanning. Next, it defines horizon scanning as a method; highlights the contradictions between horizon scanning and more traditional empirical research; and offers suggestions to improve the rigor of horizon scanning. Findings ? Increased focus on defining the rules for source identification and scan data validation can enhance credibility. Research limitations/implications ? Current horizon scanning work in the UK government suggests these methodological improvements, but proof will wait upon completion and deployment of several ongoing horizon scans. Practical implications ? Provides improved acceptability and dissemination of horizon scanning as a tool, as well as heightened engagement of policy-makers, planners, and leaders with horizon scanning output. Originality/value ? There has been little previous work exploring the cultural constraints on adoption of horizon scanning within the evidence-based polity context.

Keywords: Change management; Research

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14636680610681996

Publication date: July 1, 2006

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