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Scanning for competitive intelligence: a managerial perspective

Tianjiao Qiu (Marketing Department, College of Business Administration, California State University, Long Beach, California, USA)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 25 July 2008




The purpose of this paper is to advance and investigate empirically how entrepreneurial attitude and normative beliefs influence managerial scanning for competitive intelligence and how managerial scanning efforts subsequently impact managerial interpretation of organizations' strengths and weaknesses in the competitive arena.


A structural equation model was tested with survey data from 309 managers in the USA.


The results indicate that entrepreneurial attitude orientation and market orientation significantly impact managerial scanning for competitive intelligence, which in turn leads to managerial representations of competitive advantage.

Research limitations/implications

This paper demonstrates that scanning for competitive intelligence is more an entrepreneurial activity than a routine activity for managers, and that managerial scanning efforts can be maximized in highly market‐oriented organizations that value competitive intelligence collection and dissemination. Proactive scanning for competitive intelligence enables managers to develop a fuller picture of the superiority or deficiency of their organizations. Future research needs to address the inherent cyclicity of the managerial sense‐making process.


This paper is the first effort to examine empirically the scanning cycle – that is, the relationships between managerial business motivation, intelligence scanning and sense‐making. It offers strategic guides to both academicians and practitioners on how to achieve a better understanding of the complex and dynamic market through proactive scanning activities.



Qiu, T. (2008), "Scanning for competitive intelligence: a managerial perspective", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 42 No. 7/8, pp. 814-835.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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