Labaš, Davor
January 2012
Conference Proceedings: International Conference of the Faculty ;2012, p150
Conference Proceeding
The current crisis has stressed how firms in order to survive and prosper in turbulent times need to efficiently and systematically prepare for, anticipate, and evaluate the changes in their business environment. This paper aims to assess on several levels the present stand of strategic early warning practices within Croatian firms. Such systems provide the necessary approach to better business environment understanding, and conversely to more efficient business planning. Since it is nearly impossible for the firms to efficiently foresee, and register numerous signals and trend changes without the use of information technologies, this work will along the lines of exploring the environmental scanning practice, also touch on several information technologies concepts which improve the environmental scanning: business intelligence, organizational learning and knowledge management. This paper in its primary empirical research explores the current use and level of development of early warning practices in Croatian firms. The objectives are to provide answers to following environmental scanning questions: the level of environmental scanning implementation, identification of the most used sources for gathering external environment information, explore the information exchange in corporate culture, and the existence of standard reporting, asses the level of management support for environmental scanning practices, and the analysis and dissemination of gathered environmental information, evaluate knowledge management practices, identify business intelligence tools used, as well as rate the perception of usefulness of early warning practices. The statistical analysis proceeded to give the answer to main objective of this paper: is there a statistically significant difference present between the firm's success (as measured by criteria of revenue and profit) and the differences in level of systematic and continuous environmental scanning? It is hypothesized that the more successful firms which have a higher profit also have more developed environmental scanning practices. Empirical data was collected through e-mail survey questionnaire sent to firms Chief Financial Officers, Controlling and Information Technology officers, from a random sample (N=150). In total, 47 fully answered questionnaires were collected (rate of response 31%). The results of analysis stress the importance of management support in establishment of early warning systems, and the significance of information technologies role in environmental scanning and early warning systems. The findings also confirm the presence of direct, statistically significant positive relationship between the business success and efficient environmental scanning practice. Subsequently, these results can serve as a stimulus for managers to further implement and improve their strategic early warning scanning practices.


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