Business planning for unintended cosequences - Good intentions aren't enough

This research asks how business considers the unintended consequences of seeking to align their business strategy with societal challenges. The research responds to the following paradox situation:

  1. The world needs to accelerated action to address society’s grand challenges.

  2. Accelerated action brings with it higher risk of unintended consequences due to the complexity and unpredictability of our world, society and people e.g. unintended land use change.  

    The existence of unintended consequences is an acceptance that we can’t design a model or risk register which will tell us exactly how a change in the business system will impact on the broader system. Specifically this research argues that putting unintended consequences in the business mindset is an important accelerator towards action to solve society’s grand challenges; however it is an area which is not being researched.

    This research aims to contribute to the debate on sustainable business management in the following ways:

  • Research the significance for business of unintended consequence from implementing their sustainability strategy.

  • Find out to what extent business leaders perceive and respond to unintended consequences (specifically in the timber and bioenergy sector).

  • Determining how business leaders could be more effective in managing for unintended consequences.