Consolidation and Fragmentation in Environmental Scanning: A Review and Research Agenda

Craig V. Robinson, Farhan Ahmad, John E. L. Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
75 Downloads (Pure)


Environmental scanning is a broadly defined concept, having first received attention from scholars in the late 1960s. Over the years a number of similar and overlapping constructs have emerged in management literature. The aim of this study, via a systematic review and thematic analysis of relevant empirical research, is to consolidate foundation environmental scanning knowledge, demonstrate how scanning research has developed and fragmented over time, and propose an agenda for future research. The first contribution of our review is a new typology of environmental scanning research made up of five discrete research views, which provides a more comprehensive and contemporary overview of the field than previous studies. The second is a proposed agenda for future research that explicitly acknowledges the role of technology, an area that is presently underdeveloped in foundation scanning literature. The third contribution is to signpost future directions for research on scanning and organisational performance using a number of theoretical perspectives. The overall outcome of our review is to move scanning research on from increasingly incremental contributions concerned with context to a place where the changing role of technology and the mechanisms through which environmental scanning contributes to competitive advantage can be more thoroughly understood.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101997
JournalLong Range Planning
Issue number3
Early online date28 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Ambidexterity
  • Environmental scanning
  • Information systems
  • Organisational capabilities
  • Organisational learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Finance
  • Strategy and Management


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