Information filters as one of the means of managing strategic fit in a complex environment

Leena Ilmola‐Sheppard (Based at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria, and at Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland)
Osmo Kuusi (Based at the Government Economic Research Center VATT, Helsinki, Finland)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Publication date: 19 April 2013



This paper aims to investigate the role of information as a source of resilience in organizations. It presents both a theory based construct of information filters of the environment scanning and a pragmatic tool for managing the process.


The filter construct was tested in three qualitative case studies where the filter setting was changed in order to identify its impact on the results of the environment scan. This paper used Igor Ansoff's theory of information filters as a basis and added the required additional elements by applying complex adaptive systems theory.


The authors were able to define two dimensions: information filters' width and depth, that define the outcome of the environment scanning process. The preliminary testing of the research hypotheses was possible with the new research tool.

Research limitations/implications

There was only one case that analyzed the impact of connectivity: the role of feedback loops with the external stakeholders and their impact on the outcome of the scanning process. This interesting finding should be studied further.

Practical implications

By applying the filter construct, management is able to either destabilize the organization (for innovation or in order to facilitate a major transformation) or to stabilize the organization (e.g. post‐merger integration).


This paper is one of the rare pragmatic applications of complex adaptive systems theory.



Ilmola‐Sheppard, L. and Kuusi, O. (2013), "Information filters as one of the means of managing strategic fit in a complex environment", Foresight, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 132-151.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.