Master of Science
This thesis effort is an investigation into the subject of contingency planning.
Increases in the number of organizations operating in "turbulent environments" have highlighted deficiencies in planning methodologies which attempt to base continued organizational survival upon a single course of action. In these instances, organizations experience an increase in the number of variables and possible events for which they must be prepared. Traditional contingency planning efforts attempt to prepare the organization for the occurrence of events that are foreseen deviations from "the master plan". When operating in turbulent environments, organizations must plan to move quickly through a series of differing response postures, each of which support the organization's "mission" in light of that particular environment. Traditional contingency planning methodologies quickly become overloaded when faced with such a task.
The proposed protocol is based on the concept that events in the real world can be reduced to a finite set of stored referents. These "primitives" can be combined in an infinite manner - each combination representing a unique event. When the system is preparing for operation, events and responses to events are reduced to primitives and combined into unique "templates". These are linked to related templates and stored in an "inventory". In response to "significant" events, this inventory is searched for possible responses. The responses are considered by to the organization for implementation.
The system is composed of components that attempt to take advantage of "desirable" characteristics of computerized information storage techniques and abilities that are (currently) specific to humans and combine them into a man-machine synergy. The system is able to "learn" from past experiences of the host and other organizations, and once properly "stocked" with event / response templates, should be able to effectively and efficiently aid strategic decision makers in the formulation of a prescriptive response to events occurring to organizations operating in turbulent environments.
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