Businesses understand they must monitor their environment in order to adapt and survive. But markets generate overwhelming amounts of data. Management must sift through this data to find information that is reliable, relevant, and current. Then they must take the best course of action based on an effective analysis of this information. Although organizations have substantial resources available to solve their own problems and properly prepare for future ones, they are limited by environmental uncertainty, organizational dissonance, capacity for decisive leadership, and choice of competitive approach. Therefore businesses that fully understand their strengths, weaknesses, and strategy are best poised to overcome these various aspects of organizational inertia. Fully integrating environmental scanning methodology into a business's strategic and tactical thinking is one way to achieve a useful view of itself and its environment. This study is conducted under the theory that strategy and environmental scanning method are tightly related and have an improved chance of being predictive indicators for performance if they are incorporated into a sequential cycle of environmental enactment. Analysis subsequent to data collected from a U.S. based multi-industry survey of key managers and executives showed that although not all scanning variables were linked together with strategy, enough variables showed interdependence to demonstrate that there is merit in considering environmental scanning as a repeating cyclical process that touches all aspects of firm performance. The manner a firm chooses scanning sources, adjusts planning, and forecasts the future is directly correlated with firm performance and strategy type. This lends credence to the view that a serendipitous approach to environmental scanning may not be enough to ensure business success. Rather, businesses need continuously to ensure their processes support environmental scanning activities throughout an iterative planning cycle and close any gaps in collection, analysis, and action.
|Subjects||Management; Organization theory; Organizational behavior|
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