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Competitive intelligence: construct exploration, validation and equivalence

Andrea Saayman (School of Economics, North‐West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa)
Jaco Pienaar (WorkWell: Research Unit for People, Policy and Performance, North‐West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa)
Patrick de Pelsmacker (Management School, Universiteit Antwerpen, Antwerpen, Belgium)
Wilma Viviers (School of Economics, North‐West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa)
Ludo Cuyvers (Universiteit Antwerpen, Antwerpen, Belgium)
Marie‐Luce Muller (IBIS, Pretoria, South Africa)
Marc Jegers (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium)

Aslib Proceedings

ISSN: 0001-253X

Article publication date: 6 July 2008




Little empirical research has been conducted on competitive intelligence (CI). This paper aims to contribute to the quantitative strand of the CI literature by exploring and validating the theoretical constructs of the CI process.


Data from 601 questionnaires filled out by South African and Flemish exporters were subjected to exploratory factor analysis and construct equivalence analysis between the sub‐samples.


The results showed that the CI process consists of three constructs, while the context in which CI takes place consists of four constructs. This agrees to some extent with the literature. When verifying the constructs for both cultures it was found that all but one CI context construct can be viewed as equivalent in both groups. Bias analysis identified one item in the questionnaire that was biased. Via regression analysis it was also indicated that the context in which CI takes place influences the CI process to a large extent. The research identified size as an important influencing factor in a business' CI process.

Practical implications

Businesses involved in CI should take note that an improvement in their formal infrastructure, employee involvement and internal information processes could enhance their CI capability.


This paper contributes towards the formalising of the constructs of competitive intelligence.



Saayman, A., Pienaar, J., de Pelsmacker, P., Viviers, W., Cuyvers, L., Muller, M. and Jegers, M. (2008), "Competitive intelligence: construct exploration, validation and equivalence", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 60 No. 4, pp. 383-411.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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