Environmental Scanning: Untangling Threats, Opportunities and the Influence of Perceived Environmental Uncertainty

Craig V. Robinson, John Edmund Simmons

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    Our study explores what drives environmental scanning in organisations. Existing literature emphasises perceived environmental uncertainty as the primary driver of scanning behaviour. While other drivers have been examined implicitly in previous research, focus has tended to be on the orientation towards either opportunities or threats. The inductive analysis of seven case studies presented here suggests two things. First, that the relationship between perceived environmental uncertainty and scanning could be more complex than previously thought, and second, that a number of drivers apart from uncertainty may exist in their own right. Based on analysis of qualitative interview and secondary data, we propose that type of perceived uncertainty - state, effect, or response – may be an important determinant of scanning behaviour. We also advance knowledge of organisational motivations for scanning by identifying four drivers – opportunity search, relationship management, environment modelling, influence monitoring – that were replicated across multiple case studies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2018
    EventBritish Academy of Management Conference 2018 - University of the West of England, Bristol, United Kingdom
    Duration: 4 Sept 20186 Sept 2018


    ConferenceBritish Academy of Management Conference 2018
    Abbreviated titleBAM 2018
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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