Auster, Ethel and Chun Wei Choo. 1993. Environmental Scanning: Preliminary Findings of Interviews with CEOs in Two Canadian Industries. In Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science held in Columbus, OH, October 22-28, 1993, edited by Susan Bonzi, 246-252. Medford, NJ: Learned Information, Inc. [PDF]


Today's business organizations operate in turbulent environments marked by rapid changes in the competition, technology, and economic and social conditions. Environmental scanning is the activity of gaining information about events and relationships in the organization's environment, the knowledge of which would assist management in planning future courses of action. This paper is the third and final part of a study of the environmental scanning behavior of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) in two Canadian industries - publishing and telecommunications. It reports the preliminary results of personal interviews with 13 selected CEOs in the two industries.

The main objective of the personal interviews was to obtain first-hand accounts from the respondents of actual instances of acquiring and using environmental information. During the focused interviews, each respondent was asked to relate two critical incidents of information use. For each incident, the respondent describes the substance of the information received, the sources for the information, and how the information was made use of. The interview data suggest that CEOs acquire environmental information from multiple, complementary sources; they rely to a great extent on personal sources; and that they use impersonal sources, especially printed sources, to keep them informed about trends in the environment.