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Environmental Scanning as Information Seeking

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No organization can exist in isolation. It is affected by all factors that exist in its macro-environment. Organizations scan the environment in order to understand the external forces of change so that they may develop effective responses, which secure or improve their position in the future (Choo, 2001). The emphasis on the future positioning of business based on results of environmental scanning is also laid by Aguilar (1967) quoted by Wilson and Correia (1997). Environmental scanning refers to the exposure to, and acquisition of information about events and relationships in a company outside environment, the knowledge of which would assist top-management in its task of charting the company’s future course of action. Environment scanning is not only important in developing a futuristic vision but is also instrumental in spelling success or failure of an organization. A study by Miller and Friesen( 1977) quoted by Choo(2001) establishes that intelligence-rationality factor, which comprises environmental scanning, controls, communication, adaptiveness, analysis, integration, multiplexity, and industry experience, was by far the most important factor in separating the successful companies from the unsuccessful. Choo (2001) further classifies environmental scanning as active and passive. There is a certain amount of certainty and uncertainty in the environment. Business management should be in a continuous scanning mode to read the uncertain and certain elements in the macro-environment.