Top business executives will be able to "experiment" with the future with the help of computer-aided systems being developed by researchers at Plymouth University.
The university's business school has been awarded Pounds 118,000 by the Economic and Social Research Council to investigate the innovative use of computers to enhance the effectiveness of managers in responding to today's rapidly changing business environment.
Over the next three years the research team will be looking at ways in which computer-based "visioning" can give executives an insight into the likely impact of change, enabling them to experiment with a variety of possible futures and the performance of different business strategies in these "virtual" markets.
The project is expected to examine how firms might respond to situations of fundamental change, such as the introduction of revolutionary new technologies, globalisation, major business diversification or radical structural change.
Don King, dean of the business school, said: "Managers will be able to visualise, experience and experiment within the new environment much as experienced pilots use simulators to familiarise themselves when changing to new aircraft types and technologies."