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Competitive intelligence: a multiphasic precedent to marketing strategy

Paul L. Dishman (Marriott School of Management, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA)
Jonathan L. Calof (Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 25 July 2008




The paper seeks to explore competitive intelligence as a complex business construct and as a precedent for marketing strategy formulation.


In total, 1,025 executives were surveyed about their companies' usage of competitive intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination as well as their perception concerning certain organizational characteristics.


This research develops and tests intelligence as a precedent to marketing strategy formulation, revealing multiple phases and contributing aspects within the process. It also discovers that the practice of competitive intelligence, while strong in the area of information collection, is weak from a process and analytical perspective.

Research limitations/implications

While the sample was indeed a census of Canadian technology firms, care must be taken in generalizing the study beyond this industry, and certainly beyond the Canadian borders. Also, the questionnaire used only dichotomous variables (yes/no answers), which limited the testing that could be done.

Practical implications

Using these results, competitive intelligence departments and professionals can improve efficacy within their approach and execution strategies.


The contribution of this paper is two‐fold. It reveals many of the “state‐of‐the‐art” levels of practice within current competitive intelligence efforts, and it proposes a model of the intelligence process.



Dishman, P.L. and Calof, J.L. (2008), "Competitive intelligence: a multiphasic precedent to marketing strategy", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 42 No. 7/8, pp. 766-785.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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