Managing threats in the global era: The impact and response to SARS [Summary]
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In early 2003, the SARS virus brought disruption of public and business activities in many areas of the world, particularly Asia. As a result of its impact, SARS quickly established itself as a new kind of global uncertainty and posed challenges for traditional methods of risk management. This article examines the impact that SARS has had through means of a case study and builds on this to provide recommendations for how uncertainty may be managed in an increasingly globalized world. Reconsideration of strategic and risk-management approaches have become necessary. Supply-chain management and corporate strategy require a fundamental rethink to balance the pursuit of efficiency with increased responsiveness and flexibility. Unpredictability and turbulence in the international business environment suggest that traditional planning approaches that assume linear growth may give way to more scenario-based planning. This will encourage firms to contemplate a variety of possible futures and better prepare them for unanticipated events. Similarly, contingent-based continuity plans help businesses continue running even during a crisis.