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Title: Environmental scanning practices of travel agencies in Singapore
Authors: Zhang, Xue
Keywords: DRNTU::Social sciences::Communication
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: External environments are becoming increasingly competitive, complex and hostile due to multitude of factors, and creating unprecedented opportunities and challenges for business organisations. External environments refer to the relevant social and physical factors outside the typical boundaries of an organisation which affect its S仕ate gic and operational decision-making. Environmental scanning, as radar to detect environmental changes, can provide early warning signals to organisations from emerging environmental threats and opportunities. Environmental scanning is defined as an information management process adopted by organisations to deal with the external environmental information, the output ofwhich would assist decision-makers in tactical and s仕ategic decision-making. The scanning process starts with needs identification and ends with the use of processed and analysed environmental information. In light ofthe changes and developments, it has become imperative for organisations to scan their environments continuously and systematically with all the phases undertaken conscientiously. However, in previous literature , besides information acquisition, insu赶icient attention has been paid to the other steps of environmental scanning. Moreover, in current information-intensive business environment, information literacy (IL) skills, as an enabler to conduct effective environmental scanning activities , have not been covered in previous studies. It is, therefore, desirable to study environmental scanning as a comprehensive and systematic process , along 'with the role of information literacy skills in making this process more effective and efficient. This study aimed to find out the relationships among perceived strategic uncertainty (PSU), environmental scanning process and managerial decision-making, to discover how the information literacy skills can enhance the effectiveness of environmental scanning, and to propose and veri命a 企amework showing the relationships. The scope ofthe research was limited to travel agencies in Singapore, as tourism industry forms a significant chunk ofthe local economy, and tourism-related organisations are more sensitive towards environmental uncertainties due to their small size and limited financial resources. This study adopted both quantitative and qual让ative methods. The quantitative approach through questionnaire survey was conducted from August to October 2010. All NATAS (National Association ofTravel Agencies Singapore) members, i.e. 319 位avel agencies in total , were invited to participate. Forty-two completed questionnaires were returned, with a response rate of 13.17%. Among the 42 responding travel agencies, only 17 showed willingness to participate in in-depth interviews. The researcher purposefully selected organisations to participate in interviews to achieve diversity based on size and business focus. From May to early June 2011, 13 participants 仕om 5 organisations, representing various 臼nction units and hierarchicallevels, took part in the interviews. It was found that, within eachtravel agency, environmental scanning was conducted by different functional units and hierarchicallevels simultaneously, with the lower level scanning directed by the higher levels. Employees or their units worked as "sensory organs" detecting signals from various sectors ofthe environment and conveyed the stimulus to the "brain" (management). The "brain" acquires and aggregates environmental stimuli from various "sensory organs", and guides the internal operations to formulate adaptive reaction to the external environments. It was also interesting to note that nearly all the senior managers mentioned receiving environmental analyses from their stakeholders like airlines , hotels , competitors and indus甘y professionals. These industry players act as "remote sensors" supplementing environmental stimuli received by an organisation through its own "sensory organs".
Rights: Nanyang Technological University
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:WKWSCI Theses

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