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Book part
Publication date: 4 January 2012

Azhdar Karami

The idea that environmental scanning can be a key factor in sustained competitive advantage calls for the integration of business strategy and the environment. Not…

Abstract

The idea that environmental scanning can be a key factor in sustained competitive advantage calls for the integration of business strategy and the environment. Not surprisingly, environmental scanning is widely viewed as the first step in the process that links strategy and the environment. The main debate over the roles of strategy and environment is nowadays concerned with the primary importance of environmental scanning to strategy formulation and implementation. More specially, effective scanning of the environment is seen as necessary to the successful alignment of competitive strategies with environmental requirements and the achievement of outstanding performance in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This chapter explores the above relationship in the British electronic manufacturing industry. It is based on the empirical evidence and the findings of a survey of 132 Chief Executive Officers’ (CEO) views on environmental scanning and strategy in SMEs. It is concluded that there is a significant relationship between increasing the environmental scanning of the firm, and the success of small- and medium-sized manufacturing firms in electronic industry. Accordingly, because of the dynamic nature of the electronics industry, obtaining information on environmental factors facilitates alignment between business strategy and its environment.

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New Technology-Based Firms in the New Millennium
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-118-3

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Book part
Publication date: 9 January 2012

Xue Zhang, Shaheen Majid and Schubert Foo

The external environment is becoming more uncertain and volatile. To be successful and retain competitiveness, organisations have to regularly detect external signals…

Abstract

The external environment is becoming more uncertain and volatile. To be successful and retain competitiveness, organisations have to regularly detect external signals, systematically process and use such information. Environmental scanning is an effective way for organisations to adapt to their external environment by overcoming threats and grasping opportunities. However, some organisations may not be able to conduct environmental scanning due to lack of resources or adequately trained personnel. To satisfy their needs of environmental knowledge, they may have to outsource for such kind of information services, provide training for their existing staff, or hire specialised business information professional. As there is a degree of overlap between information management and environment scanning activities, some of the competencies covered by current LIS programs in Asia would be useful for undertaking environmental scanning activities. Nevertheless, information professionals still need an additional set of competencies to effectively provide this service. For example, LIS professionals would need a basic understanding of business and marketing principles to effectively understand and meet the information needs of their clients; improve their knowledge of various kinds of specialised business information sources and planning. This chapter first introduces the concept of external environment, the definition and process of environment scanning, and how environmental intelligence could be used for strategic planning and organisational learning. Then it discusses the role of environmental scanning as an emerging discipline for LIS education, covering topics as environmental scanning based information services and competencies required for conducting environmental scanning. Finally, it provides an overview of efforts have been made by LIS education programs in Asia in imparting new skills to their graduates for undertaking environmental scanning activities.

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Library and Information Science Trends and Research: Asia-Oceania
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-470-2

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2004

Jill R. Hough and Margaret A. White

While it is generally accepted that scanning supports organizational adaptation to the environment, scanning behavior may vary with the amount of environmental change…

Abstract

While it is generally accepted that scanning supports organizational adaptation to the environment, scanning behavior may vary with the amount of environmental change. Information processing perspectives suggest that scanning activity will increase in response to increasing environmental uncertainty. Yet, social cognition perspectives suggest that scanning decreases at high and low levels of uncertainty since useful information is either unattainable or is already known. Using a combined perspective in a strategic decision‐making context, this study hypothesized that scanning would be greatest at high and low levels of uncertainty to support identification of previously unexploited niches. Results indicate that the level of environmental dynamism combined with the manager's functional position explains scanning behavior.

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Management Decision, vol. 42 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 17 July 2007

Katja Rajaniemi

Adjusting a company to its competitive environment is often done without proper knowledge of the competitive environment. This paper seeks to describe methods and tools…

Abstract

Purpose

Adjusting a company to its competitive environment is often done without proper knowledge of the competitive environment. This paper seeks to describe methods and tools that could be used to improve internet‐based scanning of the competitive environment. In addition, the paper aims to describe an example where such methods and tools are used.

Design/methodology/approach

Existing literature on environmental scanning, competitive intelligence, and benchmarking is reviewed to brief the theoretical background, and to find new ideas to improve scanning of the competitive environment. Using theory‐building approach, the research is based on constructive methodology. The construction is done in ABB Corporate Research, in the Business Technology Portals Project.

Findings

Experts scan the environment using the advanced tools, interviews and knowledge sharing, and managers mainly scan by discussing with other people. Modern search engines can be used to build advanced tools that enhance competitive environment scanning and benchmarking on screening level. Search engines acquire and analyze information from the internet, e.g. from news, company, internet pages, patents, and databases. The methods reduce the time needed for acquiring information, enabling people to concentrate on analyzing the information.

Research limitations/implications

For researchers, the paper provides a literature review of the topic with an innovative construction.

Practical implications

For practitioners, the paper provides an example of framework, methods and tools that can be used to scan the competitive environment.

Originality/value

The theoretical background has been innovatively applied to construct and to deploy very pragmatic tools that enhance scanning the competitive environment.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 1998

Shuhua Liu

As the business environment increases in its scope, dynamics and complexity, the task of grasping its changes becomes increasingly demanding. The increased availability of…

Abstract

As the business environment increases in its scope, dynamics and complexity, the task of grasping its changes becomes increasingly demanding. The increased availability of electronic data threatens to exceed the human capacity to cope with and assimilate them. This research aims to provide a support tool that would be able to contribute to a more systematic, intensive, extensive and faster scanning process than the human process alone. This paper serves to build the foundations of such a support system by giving a detailed examination of both the domain and the technology. It is presented in two parts. The first part analyzes the concept of strategic scanning and presents a comprehensive review of its context. It helps us to understand the complicated, interrelated phenomena and reveals useful observations that are relevant to the construction of the system. A scanning‐based strategic management framework is formulated, which guides the system design. The second part will introduce the fundamentals of software agent approach, examine its relevance in offering the needed support, and describe an agent system that is currently under development.

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Industrial Management & Data Systems, vol. 98 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-5577

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Article
Publication date: 8 July 2019

Ali Abu-Rahma and Bushra Jaleel

This paper aims to investigate the nature and prevalence of environmental scanning as practiced by organizations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and explore the impact…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the nature and prevalence of environmental scanning as practiced by organizations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and explore the impact of perceived uncertainty on the way various information sources are used in managerial decision-making. Specifically, by targeting firms in the region, the paper examines whether the degree and frequency of scanning activities influence the relationship between perceived uncertainty and the use of environmental information in making strategic decisions.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses a cross-sectional research design, with self-administered questionnaires as the main mode of data collection, and uses quantitative data analysis tools to answer the research questions.

Findings

The study finds that perceived environmental uncertainty significantly influences scanning efforts in an organization, which in turn influence the use of environmental information in decision-making. Additionally, findings suggest that while perceived source quality significantly influences frequency of scanning, the influence of perceived source accessibility on scanning is statistically insignificant.

Research limitations/implications

The results of this study have several implications for academics in the field of strategic management and industry professionals involved in long range planning. Results indicate that scanning activities should be more extensive and frequent when perceived uncertainty is high and indicates the potential value of timely market research to assess demand, gather consumer feedback and respond to changing needs of the customers.

Originality/value

The study addresses an identified gap in the literature and adds to the existing body of work by exploring organizational practices in a unique cultural context and assessing a conceptual model that links perceived uncertainty and environmental scanning to strategic management practices.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 27 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1996

Héctor R. Lozada and Roger J. Calantone

Reassesses the relationships between managerial perceptions of movement and discontinuities in the environment, and managers’ abilities and proneness toward engaging in…

Abstract

Reassesses the relationships between managerial perceptions of movement and discontinuities in the environment, and managers’ abilities and proneness toward engaging in information‐gathering activities. Survey data from several organizations in different industries were collected to investigate the scanning behavior of managers. Finds empirical support for some of the relationships that were proposed. Explores possible explanations for the lack of support for several important relationships that have been advanced in the literature, and submits managerial implications and suggestions for future research based on the findings.

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Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 12 October 2015

Kristian Johan Sund

The aim of this paper is to move toward a holistic model of organizational interpretation under uncertainty. This paper makes a series of novel conceptual propositions…

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to move toward a holistic model of organizational interpretation under uncertainty. This paper makes a series of novel conceptual propositions regarding the associations between state, effect and response uncertainty and the organizational interpretation process.

Design/methodology/approach

This conceptual paper extends existing conceptual work by distinguishing between general and issue-specific scanning and linking the interpretation process to three different types of perceived uncertainty: state, effect and response uncertainty.

Findings

It is proposed that environmental scanning leads to lower state and effect uncertainty, i.e. less uncertainty regarding the estimation of probabilities of events occurring in the external environment of the organization and of their consequences. It is further proposed that scanning leads to higher levels of perceived control over events and that the actual interpretation of events, in opportunity/threat terms, drives irregular issue-specific scanning and organizational reactions to such events.

Research limitations/implications

The paper suggests a way to test links between organizational interpretation and uncertainty that might help explain and untangle some of the conflicting empirical results found in the extant literature. The paper illustrates how the literature could benefit from re-conceptualizing the perceived environmental uncertainty construct to take into account different types of uncertainty.

Practical implications

For practitioners, this paper emphasizes the importance of environmental scanning and how scanning practices can lead to general alertness, to more positive event interpretations and how interpretations form responses to opportunities in the environment.

Originality/value

This paper extends on existing work by linking the interpretation process to three different types of uncertainty (state, effect and response uncertainty) with several novel and testable propositions. The paper also differentiates clearly general (regular) scanning from issue-specific (irregular) scanning. Finally, the paper provides a unifying view, piecing together in one picture elements that have so far been dispersed in the literature.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2003

Abdalla Hagen, Semere Haile and Ahmad Maghrabi

This study investigated the impact of the type of strategy on the type of environmental scanning activity of Egyptian CEOs at Egyptian banks. Results indicated that CEOs…

Abstract

This study investigated the impact of the type of strategy on the type of environmental scanning activity of Egyptian CEOs at Egyptian banks. Results indicated that CEOs with a cost‐leadership strategy were involved in environmental scanning activities that provide information concerning threats. Their counterparts with a differentiation strategy were involved in environmental scanning activities that provide information concerning opportunities.

Details

International Journal of Commerce and Management, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1056-9219

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2000

Liana Kourteli

The process of scanning the business environment is reconceptualized on the basis of a critical analysis of Aguilar’s pioneering work on scanning, as well as that of…

Abstract

The process of scanning the business environment is reconceptualized on the basis of a critical analysis of Aguilar’s pioneering work on scanning, as well as that of Lawrence and Lorsch’s contingency theory. Concepts of general systems theory, entropy and communication theory are utilized in order to prove the hypothesis: the level of complexity of the environment, “imposes” on the organization a specific or analogous scanning process, and in turn an analogous communication system which is in effect the structure of the organization itself.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 7 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

Keywords

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