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Information sources for environmental scanning: do industry and firm size matter?

Heiko Haase (Department of Business Administration, University of Applied Sciences Jena, Jena, Germany)
Mário Franco (NECE Research Unit, University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 15 November 2011



The objective of this paper is to enhance the knowledge about environmental scanning at the corporate level. It seeks an answer to the research question: Is there an influence of industry sector and firm size on the use of external information sources?


To verify three research hypotheses, the authors performed a cross‐sectional study among 165 Portuguese firms. The explorative data analyses consisted of multivariate analysis of variance and Tukey's honestly significant difference test.


Overall, the range of frequently used external information sources is relatively limited, consisting of both personal and impersonal sources. Results suggest a certain “industry effect” and indicate above all a “size effect”. Besides this, the service sector possesses most sourcing peculiarities, and smaller firms underuse some relevant sources.

Research limitations/implications

The research design applied limits the sample to Portuguese firms and their environment. This geographically circumscribed approach may limit the extent to which the conclusions and implications can be generalised and universally applied.


Despite the importance of environmental scanning, little research has hitherto been conducted to analyse variances across industry sectors and firm size. This paper is one of the first attempts to study their joint effects on the use of scanning information sources.



Haase, H. and Franco, M. (2011), "Information sources for environmental scanning: do industry and firm size matter?", Management Decision, Vol. 49 No. 10, pp. 1642-1657.



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