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On the suitability of the self‐organizing map for analysis of the macro and firm level competitive environment: An empirical evaluation

Aapo Länsiluoto (Business School, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, Seinäjoki, Finland)
Tomas Eklund (Turku Centre for Computer Science and IAMSR, Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland)

Benchmarking: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-5771

Article publication date: 11 July 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to present and compare the results of an evaluation of two self‐organizing map (SOM) models' suitability for financial environment analysis. The models are constructed for analyzing the macro‐ and firm‐level environments in the international pulp and paper industry.

Design/methodology/approach

The data for the evaluation were collected through a field survey in 13 publicly‐noted Finnish companies, with a total of 36 respondents. All the respondents were involved in business intelligence or corporate development related tasks.

Findings

The results indicate that, the respondents appreciated the capabilities of both SOM models. All of the factors relating to accuracy, content, format, timeliness, and usability for strategic decision making received ratings higher than neutral. Respondents also concluded that the SOM models have additional benefits compared to currently used methods. Finally, the respondents were willing to utilize the SOM as a complement to other tools for analyzing the competitive environment. Some subfactors of the firm level SOM model received statistically higher averages than the macro‐level SOM model.

Originality/value

Despite the SOM having been utilized in thousands of different applications, user satisfaction with the SOM and its information products has not previously been widely evaluated, especially not by potential end‐users.

Keywords

Citation

Länsiluoto, A. and Eklund, T. (2008), "On the suitability of the self‐organizing map for analysis of the macro and firm level competitive environment: An empirical evaluation", Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 402-419. https://doi.org/10.1108/14635770810887221

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited