Environmental Scanning: Radar for Organizational Success

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The article discusses environmental scanning. It is the internal communication of external information about issues that may potentially influence an organization's decision-making process. In essence, environmental scanning is a method for identifying, collecting and translating information about external influences into useful plans and decisions. There are many important reasons to do environmental scanning. Relationship among markets, strategic planning and the environmental external to an organization is what defines an organization's success. The focus of environmental scanning is on strategic thinking and planning. External environments that may impact an organization can be grouped into categories including social, regulatory, technological, political, economic and industry. Emergence of new technologies can impact organizations' overall business and production processes. Internal information includes organization-specific information that can be compared to the findings of external scanning in order to maximize organizational responsiveness. Managers prefer to receive information that is presented in person rather than through reading. There are also problems with environmental scanning related to interpretation of the information that has been gathered. In addition, an overemphasis on scanning could have negative effects on an organization.