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Of all efforts, which are aimed at improving processes in an organisation, it is the alignment of the organisation with its environment that is the single most important to an organisation’s success. Therefore, in an effort to align an organisation with its environment, it is very important that an organisation carries out environmental scanning and scenario planning. According to (Saxby, Parker, Nitse, &. Dishman, 2002) environmental scanning is quite an involving process, which requires strategic planning, and the involvement of heavy resources to execute.
Environmental scanning for any given business involves acquiring and using information surrounding key organizational events, market trends and other important trends as well as external relationships between an organisation and its partners, shareholders, as well as the customers (Aguillar, 1967). Environmental scanning is important in that the knowledge an organisation acquires from carrying out the process enables the organisation to carry out strategic planning especially in regard to how the organisation should respond to future challenges, respond to competitor activity as well as respond to the market environment. This is very important to any organisation considering that for an organisation long term planning is as important as the short term planning.
Therefore failing to carry out a thorough environmental scanning is likely to result into loss of business for the company or in some cases losing out on market shares. Environmental scanning is important in that it positions the organisation to foresee future threats. an environmental scanning helps the organisation to identify future opportunities occasioned by political, economical as well as social factors. Unless the organisation is able to identify what the future holds for the company, it is very unlikely that such an organisation would continue satisfying its customers. Lack of proper environmental scanning results into loss of market share something, which can adversely affect organizational expansion and extension plans. Therefore environmental scanning should be carried in such a way so as to enable an organisation to face the future with certainty as well as plan the possible scenarios and course of action incase things do not work according to plan.
Environmental scanning involves several steps, which include undirected viewing, conditioned viewing, enacting as well as searching (Kohn, 2005). Environment requires the correct analysis of the industry, which the organisation belongs to. Therefore viewing involves actual observation of the organisation activities, noting any difficult or challenging situations, which seem detrimental to the organizational success. Viewing enables an organisation to take note of environmental factors or issues, which require be looking at and resolved. Viewing is the right step, which results, into identification of environmental issues, which are a threat to the organisation, or on the other hand, viewing generates information or insight into opportunities in the market which if further analysed can present the organisation with greater avenues for growth.