Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 14 Number 2 1997 pp. 177-200

Environmental Scanning for Information Technology: An Empirical Investigation

Maier, Jerry L, Rainer Jr, R Kelly, and Snyder, Charles A

ABSTRACT: An increasing number of organizations are recognizing the strategic significance of their information technology (IT) resources. A process by which emerging information technologies may be effectively identified and evaluated is rapidly becoming a necessity. This process may be accomplished through scanning the external IT environment. Based on the strategic emphasis given to IT resources, organizations may be classified as exploiter/innovator (El), competitor/early adopter (CEA), or participant/effective efficient follower (PEEF). This study uses data from 131 top information systems managers to examine differences in the three types of organizations across a number of issues concerning the process of scanning the external IT environment. These issues include: (1) the objectives of scanning the external IT environment; (2) the methods of scanning the external IT environment; (3) the existence of separate units dedicated to IT scanning; (4) the level of IT scanning intensity; (5) the sources of information used for IT scanning; and (6) the level of top management involvement with IT scanning.

Key words and phrases: environmental scanning, information technology environment