The 2008/2009 economic crisis provided a sustainable impulse for improving environmental scanning systems (ESS). Although a rich body of know-ledge exists, concepts are not often used in practice. This article contributes a literature review addressing six findings for ESS design to become more applicable than the state of the art. They are structured by the elements of information systems (IS) design theories. Addressing the lack of a sound requirements analysis, our first finding proposes 360-degree ESS for executives’ "managing a company" task and presents how to select just the most important scanning areas to keep focus. Three other findings cover the IS model perspective focusing on a better "grasp" of weak signals: define concrete indicators and use IT to identify relevant cause-effective-chains, leverage IT to automate day-to-day routines and monitor the variety of indicators’ movements, and—as a fourth finding—leverage expert experience with an impact matrix and translate indicators’ impact into a balanced opportunity-and-threat portfolio. From the methods perspective on ESS, we propose to more closely incorporate scanning results into executives’ decision-making process by generating scenarios from a set of environment assumptions as well as to use retrospective controls to continuously update the ESS and collaborate to share the scanning findings day-to-day.


Corporate management balanced chance and risk management information and communication technology (ICT) literature review 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jörg H. Mayer
    • 1
  • Neon Steinecke
    • 2
  • Reiner Quick
    • 2
  1. 1.University of St. GallenSt. GallenSwitzerland
  2. 2.Darmstadt University of TechnologyDarmstadtGermany

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