Scanning the International Environment

by Jeremiah O’Connell, John Zimmerman



There may be many reasons why a firm scans its international environment. This article narrowly focuses on scanning the environment for trends, events and expectations influencing those decisions which shape the nature and direction of the business, that is, strategic decisions. Admittedly, executives must and do search the external environment for information relevant to administrative and operational decisions. The narrow focus here is justified because strategic decisions are more dependent on external data than are other decisions. Data on corporate capability and management values play a part as well in shaping strategic decisions, yet it's in the external environment we find customers and suppliers. Research does show a very positive correlation between profit performance and the gathering and dissemination of environmental data. Involvement in executive education, management consultancy and formal research has given the authors the conviction that-while we are far from science-prescriptions can be drawn from our survey findings and work with companies. The vast literature on the subject, though strong on systems and tools, has a gaping hole on the process or human side of scanning.

California Management Review

Berkeley-Haas's Premier Management Journal

Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

Learn more
Follow Us