Environmental Scanning and Organizational Learning in Entrepreneurial Ventures

By McEwen, Thaddeus | Entrepreneurial Executive, Annual 2008 | Go to article overview

Environmental Scanning and Organizational Learning in Entrepreneurial Ventures


McEwen, Thaddeus, Entrepreneurial Executive


INTRODUCTION

Entrepreneurs' knowledge is critical to building sustainable competitive advantage in the 21st century (Lerner and Almor, 2002; Anand, Glick, and Manz, 2002). Because of increased globalization, rapid technological changes, and increased competition, entrepreneurs are facing new and unexpected challenges. These changes have significantly increased the quality and quantity of information that entrepreneurs must consider when making decisions. Entrepreneurs, therefore, must process and learn from the information, and use the new knowledge for improved decision making. "New knowledge is the key resource for creating a sustainable competitive advantage." (Inkpen, 1998, p. 69). Today, more than ever, competitive advantage resides in the capabilities i. e. expertise and skills that the entrepreneurs bring to the critical activities of the venture (Rastogi, 2000).

Despite the importance of the entrepreneurs' knowledge to new venture success, many are faced with a capability gap because of the discrepancy between their current knowledge and the information that is relevant to the current business environment. To deal with this capability gap and to have the most up-to-date information for decision making, entrepreneurs must increasingly acquire information from outside the organization. One way of acquiring and using outside information is through environmental scanning.

Most studies on environmental scanning were done with large organizations (Lang, Calantone, and Gudmundson, (1997), while those done with small firms focused mainly on scanning practices (Gudmundson, Tower, and Hartman, 2001). The lack of conceptual work on the relationship among environmental scanning, organizational learning, and entrepreneurial success is surprising. Scanning allows the entrepreneur to learn from the environment; and individual and organizational learning enhance the entrepreneur's' knowledge, and contributes to the firm's success. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the discussion by examining the role of entrepreneurs environmental scanning and organizational learning in entrepreneurial success.

The paper presents a conceptual model that examines (a) how entrepreneurs gather information from the external environment--environmental scanning behavior, (b) how the information gathered is interpreted to create new knowledge--Interpretation, (c) what organizational learning occurs--organizational learning, and (d) how organizational learning leads to improved problem solving, strategic planning, and ultimately to entrepreneurial success. The model provides a conceptual framework to empirically test the relationship among environmental-scanning, organizational learning, and venture success.

There have been a few attempts made to shed new light on environmental scanning and related issues by means of organizational learning. Grant (1996) saw knowledge integration as a core competence in dynamic environments, and Drejer (2005) used learning to expand what we know about innovation in hyper-competitive environments. However, there has been no direct attempt at combining organizational learning and environmental scanning.

The need for this model is also supported by several researchers who have argued that gaining insights into entrepreneurs' environmental scanning behavior will add to the understanding of entrepreneurial behavior and therefore have implications for advising prospective entrepreneurs (Lang, Calantone, and Gudmundson, (1997). This article attempts to fill a need in the literature by presenting a model that links environmental scanning , organizational learning, and entrepreneurial success.

CONCEPT OF ENVIRONMENTAL SCANNING

In his ground-breaking work on environmental scanning, Aguilar (1967) defined the concept as "the way in which management gathers relevant information about events occurring outside the company in order to guide the company's future course of action. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Environmental Scanning and Organizational Learning in Entrepreneurial Ventures
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.