Essays on The Concept of Environmental Scanning Literature review

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The paper “ The Concept of Environmental Scanning” is an intriguing example of a literature review on management. Environmental scanning is the attainment and utilization of information concerning proceedings, developments, as well as relationships in an organization’ s external environment, the knowledge of which would help the executive in planning the organization’ s future course of action (Aguilar, 1967). In reference to the organization’ s beliefs concerning environmental analyzability and the scope to which it intrudes into the environment to identify with it, scanning can be done through four different modes: undirected viewing, conditioned viewing, enacting as well as searching.

Organizations scan the environment so as to comprehend the external forces of change in order to develop efficient responses which secure or improve their position in the future. They scan so as to avoid surprises, identify threats and opportunities, gain competitive advantage, and enhance long-term as well as short term planning. Since an organization’ s ability to know and interpret the external changes that are taking place influences the extent to which the organization adapts to its outside environment, environmental scanning comprises of a fundamental mode of organizational learning.

Environmental scanning involves both looking at information (viewing) and looking for information (searching) and thus may take various forms such as casual conversation, observation or conducting a formal market research program (Choo, and Auster, 1993). This paper will discuss the concept of environmental scanning and the factors that undermine the value of environmental scanning. It will also discuss how environmental scanning assists managers in enhancing organizational planning and performance. The concept of environmental scanningOrganization as an open system gathers and processes strategic information concerning its outside surroundings on which to establish organizational performance (Daft & Weick, 1984).

This calls for the organization to be actively involved in environmental scanning. This notion requires both internal and external diagnosis of the organization so as to assess the strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the internal and external firm’ s environment.



Aguilar F. J. 1967. Scanning the business environment. Macmillan, New York.

Aguilar, F. J. 1967. Scanning the business environment. New York, NY: Macmillan Co.

Brown, A. D. 1990. Information, communication and organizational culture: a grounded theory approach. Sheffield: University of Sheffield. (Ph.D. thesis)

Choo, C. W. and Auster, E. 1993. "Environmental scanning: acquisition and use of information by managers", in: Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, edited by M. E. Williams. Medford, NJ: Learned Information, Inc. For the American Society for Information Science.

Chun C. W. 2001. Environmental scanning as information seeking and organizational learning. Faculty of Information Studies University of Toronto Toronto, CanadaVol. 7 No. 1. Available from (Accessed September 17, 2011)

Correia, Z. and Wilson, T. D. 1996. "Scanning the business environment for information". Information Research 2 (4) Available at [Accessed September 17, 2011]

Correia, Z. and Wilson, T. D. 2001. Factors influencing environmental scanning in the organizational context. Vol. 7 No. 1. Available from (Accessed September 17, 2011)

Culnan, M. 1983. "Environmental scanning: the effects of task complexity and source accessibility on information gathering behaviour". Decision Sciences, 14 (2), 194-206.

Daft R. and Weick K.E. 1984. Toward a model of organization as interpretation systems. Academy of Management Review, 9, 284-296.

El Sawy O. A., 2005. Personal information systems for strategic scanning in turbulent environments: can the CEO go on-line? MIS Quarterly, Mars, 53-60.

Goliath 2004. Environmental scanning: radar for success: environmental scanning--the internal communication of external information about issues that may influence an organization's decision-making process--can identify emerging issues, situations, and potential pitfalls that may affect an organization's future. Information Management Journal. Available from (Accessed September 17, 2011)

Miller, D., & Friesen, P. H. 1977. Strategy-making in context: ten empirical archetypes. Journal of Management Studies, 14 (3) 253-280.

Murphy, M. F. 1987. Environmental scanning: a case study in higher education. Athens, GA: University Of Georgia. (Ed. D. thesis)

Newgren, Kenneth E., Rasher, Arthur A. & LaRoe, Margaret E. 1994. An empirical investigation of the relationship between environmental assessment and corporate performance. Paper read at Proceedings of the 44th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, August 12-15 1984, at Washington, DC.

Wang P. and Turban L. 1991. Filtering strategic environmental information processing using EIS. System Science, 24th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, IEEE Computer Society Press, 3, Edited by Nunamaker, 126-134.

Weick, Karl E. 2000. Making sense of the organization. Boston, MA: Blackwell Publishers

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