Another example of an accessible source of information for multinational firms involved with Asian business is Nikkei Telecom's Japan News and Retrieval System. This online data service provides access to the Nikkei Economic Electronic Database System, which is Asia's largest depository of current and historical information on the socioeconomic and political operating environment in Japan and other Asian countries. In addition, information is provided for particular companies operating in this area. These data can be monitored on a regular basis for analysis and dissemination to the relevant strategic business units.
Some of the more relevant issues for monitoring would be changes in the ruling political party, currency fluctuations, monetary and fiscal policy, trade policy, balance of payments, competitive collaborations (joint ventures), and so on. Some of these issues may need only quarterly reviews, while others, such as currency values, need daily attention. These factors would then need to be analyzed for their potential impact on tactical and strategic decisions. As suggested earlier, these monitoring tasks are handled more often in the strategic planning department.
The future survival of multinational organizations is a function of their ability to formulate effective strategic plans and to take advantage of new opportunities. As environments become increasingly complex, a firm's ability to incorporate external sources of information with rigorous analysis in the strategic planning process becomes more important. However, there exist certain organizational and individual impediments to the use of formal methods for strategic planning. These impediments are responsible for the greater reliance on informal methods as uncertainty associated with the problem increases. The net effect of these impediments is to create a threshold of uncertainty, which was described as the relationship between uncertainty and a decision maker's utilization of formal and informal information-processing methods. Although formal and informal methods will both be used by decision makers, the threshold can be moved through sophisticated intelligence systems, such as DSS, knowledge-based systems, and electronic communication technologies.
One may also expect that as multinational organizations increase in size and complexity, computer-based intelligence systems will be required to integrate the multidivisional, multinational organization into a strategic form. Information processing through computer-based systems facilitates control of subunits and provides necessary links for integrating complex strategic decision-making processes. Loosely coupled organizations not integrated through formal information methods are maladaptive, creating a facade of system effectiveness ( Kmetz 1984). The facade results from simpleminded intelligence methods that ignore the complexity of problems facing multinational firms.
Aguilar J. ( 1967). Scanning the Business Environment. New York: Macmillan.
Aldrich H. E. ( 1979). Organizations and Environments. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.