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Canadian competitive intelligence practices – a study of practicing strategic and competitive intelligence professionals Canadian members

Jonathan Calof (Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada and Extraordinary Professor at North West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 13 November 2017




With intelligence (a field related to foresight) practice growing, the purpose of this study was to examine the practices of Canadian competitive intelligence (CI) practitioners.


Survey of Canadian CI practitioners who are SCIP members (Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professional), using a revision to a previously used instrument designed to examine competitive intelligence practices.


Canadian SCIP member competitive intelligence practices seem to be more formalized than those found in the global SCIP study in 2006 with 84.8 per cent having a manager with CI responsibilities, 61 per cent with a formal centralized CI unit and only 9 per cent responding that CI was done informally. Intelligence units were generally smaller with 38 per cent having one full-time CI resource and 41 per cent having between 2 and 4 full-time resources. Additional findings on information sources used, analytical techniques used, evaluation methods and communication methods are reported.

Research limitations/implications

Despite getting responses from close to 50 per cent of SCIP members, the small sample size (79) makes it difficult to generalize the results beyond the Canadian SCIP environment and limits the testing that can be done.


The last study on Canadian competitive intelligence practices was in 2008, thus part of the originality of the study was getting more recent information on corporate intelligence practice. In addition, this is the first Canadian study to focus specifically on known intelligence practitioners (SCIP members). Past studies focused on companies in general regardless of whether respondents knew what competitive intelligence was or practiced CI.



This article was prepared within the framework of the Basic Research Program at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE) and supported within the framework of the subsidy granted to the HSE by the Government of the Russian Federation for the implementation of the Global Competitiveness Program.

Thanks to SCIP (strategic and competitive intelligence professionals) for their support of this research.

Special thanks to Nisha Sewdass (UNISA, Pretoria, South Africa) and Ruben Arcos (Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid Spain) for their partnership in the global competitive intelligence study.


Calof, J. (2017), "Canadian competitive intelligence practices – a study of practicing strategic and competitive intelligence professionals Canadian members", Foresight, Vol. 19 No. 6, pp. 577-589.



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