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Journal of Applied Sciences
  Year: 2001 | Volume: 1 | Issue: 3 | Page No.: 263-269
DOI: 10.3923/jas.2001.263.269
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Environmental Scanning Behavior of Small and Medium Firms in Developing Economies: Evidence from Botswana
Zalealem T. Temtime

Although environmental scanning is a key concept in management research, its application and importance particularly in developing African countries is not well investigated. Researchers in strategic management in African developing countries have paid only little attention to the study of the environmental scanning behavior of corporate leaders. Scanning the company’s external environment for the purpose of xploiting opportunities and minimizing threats is a precondition for the surival and success of firms in the developed economies. Does this precondition also apply to African developing countries like Botswana? Are firms in Botswana formulating their strategies for the attainment of organizational goals without scanning their environment? If not, what are their scanning behaviors? Data were collected from a randomly selected samples of 44 firms in Botswana to answer these and other basic questions. The perceived uncertainty of six environmental sectors is determined by measuring the perceived importance (I), degree of complexity( C), and rate of change ( R) in each environmental sector on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from very low( 1) to very high ( 5). Then perceived strategic uncertainly (PSU) is found by adapting the formula used by Saweyerr (1993) and Elenkov(1997), i.e., PSU= I(C+R). Frequency of scanning sources employed by coporate leaders to analyze each environmental sector is also measured using a 5-point Likert scale, ranging from least frequency used(1) to most frequency used(5) sources. Finally correlation coefficients were calculated between frequency of scanning sources and perceived strategic uncertainty of environmental sector to evaluate how frequently corporate leaders gather, interpret and use information about each sector as perceived strategic uncertainty increases and decreases. The findings indicated that companies in Botswana do scan their environment and use the information in major managerial decision-making processes, particularly in strategy formulation. Though more importance is attached to the customer/market, competition and economic sectors, corporate leaders in Botswana tend to rely more on impersonal and internal sources as opposed to personal and external sources to analyze an increasingly uncertain sector. This scanning practice calls for the attention of researchers in strategic management in developing African countries. Further implications for future research are highlighted.
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How to cite this article:

Zalealem T. Temtime , 2001. Environmental Scanning Behavior of Small and Medium Firms in Developing Economies: Evidence from Botswana. Journal of Applied Sciences, 1: 263-269.

DOI: 10.3923/jas.2001.263.269








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