Constructing a scenario planning method as a tool for political risk mitigation: The case of Exxon Mobil’s Operations in the South China Sea

Silber, Jared Ross (2017-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Uncertainty and unpredictability within the global political environment has presented considerable political risks for businesses and organisations. An alternative means to explore how these actors can mitigate these political risks is to utilise scenario planning to maximise the actor’s understanding of the uncertainties within the environment, thus enabling the identification of political risks as well as providing insights for potential mitigation strategies. The primary research question for the study is therefore concerned with building a scenario planning method to facilitate political risk mitigation. The question is answered by constructing a method which uses scenario planning to develop an understanding of the key driving forces influencing the environment and construct a scenario matrix from these driving forces for a corporation or organisation. From this understanding of the scenarios and how they may impact the corporation, the first sub-research question, which seeks to address how the scenarios can be utilised to identify political risks and risk mitigation strategies relevant for the corporation, can be answered. The final two research questions test the method’s capacity to facilitate risk mitigation for the oil and gas corporation Exxon Mobil’s operations in the South China Sea from 1 February 2017 to 1 February 2018 by constructing scenarios for the SCS over the timeframe and using the scenarios to identify and mitigate political risks for Exxon Mobil. Utilising the method, the study constructs a scenario matrix for the South China Sea which is used to identify four risk factors relevant for Exxon Mobil. From these risk factors, the information compiled on Exxon Mobil and the scenarios themselves, the study is able to successfully identify four risk mitigation strategies that could be implemented by Exxon Mobil in the SCS. Within the confines of this case study, it was concluded that scenario planning could be used as a tool for political risk mitigation, and that this relationship should be explored further.

AFRIKAANS OPSOMMING: Onsekerheid en onvoorspelbaarheid binne die globale politieke omgewing behou aansienlike politieke risiko's vir besighede en organisasies. Een alternatiewe manier om te verstaan hoe besighede en organisasies hierdie politieke risiko's kan versag, is om scenario-beplanning te gebruik om die akteurs se insig in die onsekerhede binne die omgewing te maksimeer, sodat dit moontlik is om politieke risiko's te identifiseer en insigte te bied vir moontlike versagtende strategieë. Die primêre navorsingsvraag van hierdie studie is dus om 'n scenariobeplanningsmetode te ontwikkel om politieke risikobestuur te fasiliteer. Die vraag word beantwoord deur om 'n metode te konstrueer wat scenario-beplanning gebruik om ‘n begrip te ontwikkel van die hoof dryfkragte wat die omgewing beïnvloed en om 'n scenario-matriks uit hierdie dryfkragte vir 'n korporasie of organisasie op te stel. Uit hierdie begrip van die scenario's en hoe die scenario’s die korporasie sal beïnvloed, word die tweede navorsingsvraag aangespreek deur die gebruik van die scenario's wat volgends die metode gebou is om relevante politieke risikofaktore vir die korporasie waarvoor die metode geïmplementeer is te identifiseer, verduidelik en te versag. Die laaste twee navorsingsvrae toets die metode se vermoë om risikobestuur vir die olie- en gasmaatskappy Exxon Mobil se bedrywighede in die Suid-Chinese See (SCS) vanaf 1 Februarie 2017 tot 1 Februarie 2018 te fasiliteer deur om scenario's vir die SCS oor die tydraamwerk te konstrueer en die scenario's te gebruik om politieke risiko's vir Exxon Mobil te identifiseer en versag. Met behulp van die metode, ontwikkel die studie 'n scenario-matriks vir die Suid- Chinese See wat gebruik word om vier risikofaktore relevant vir Exxon Mobil te identifiseer. Uit hierdie risikofaktore, die inligting wat op Exxon Mobil saamgestel is en die scenario's self, kan die studie vier risikobestuurstrategieë identifiseer wat deur Exxon Mobil in die SCS geïmplementeer kan word. Binne die beperkinge van hierdie gevallestudie is die gevolgtrekking gemaak dat scenario beplanning gebruik kan word as 'n instrument vir politieke risikobestuur, en dat hierdie verhouding verder ondersoek moet word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/102914
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