Scott, Susan V. and Barrett, Michael I. (2002) The development of electronic trading in the futures industry: strategic risk positioning in a globalising age. Working paper series, 113. Department of Information Systems, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.
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Contemporary political, economic and social conditions heighten the demand placed upon organizations to create strategy designed to manage uncertainty. It is suggested that a broader analytical repertoire may support development of insight into the nature and speed of change during turbulent phases of IT-enabled modernization. We present empirical data from a two-year research project studying strategic responses to the competitive emergence of electronic trading at the major international financial futures exchanges (1998-200). The term ‘strategic risk positioning’ is used as a central organizing concept to draw together an analysis of the subjective time-risk relationships influencing strategy formation during this period. We being by examining how different interpretations of urgency and uncertainty can help us understand the co-existence of multiple strategies during times of change. We suggest that both researchers and practitioners need to give increased attention to the way that information media fuels the adjustment of meaning given to significant events in contemporary society. A heightened sense of an uncertain future shapes the strategic imagination and triggers processes of risk positioning. In conclusion, the potential side effects of strategic risk positioning activities like hedging, betting and reinvention for the next phase of development in the financial futures industry are discussed.
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