“How can you govern a country which has 245 varieties of cheese? ” Charles de Gaulle. This is a term that Francis Aguilar a professor at the University of Harvard came up with in the mid 1960’s to explain the actions of collecting information and watching and monitoring competitor companies and analyzing the external markets. According to Mafrica and Mason (2004), an environmental scan is part of strategic analysis process that has components of both external and internal elements.
It is also good to note that all these components and elements interrelate. Basically organizations and companies use environmental scans to project on the future directions, objectives, and both long term and short term trends that will influence the organizations performance. Environmental scans are usually used in product development, market research and competition analysis as a company is planning, expanding or thinking of diversifying its operations portfolio.
The below diagram shows the interrelation of the environmental scan to the SWOT analysis of an organization. b. What elements comprise an environmental scan? The elements of an environmental scan include both internal analysis and external analysis which culminate in a SWOT analysis of the organization. Both internal and external analysis are interrelated. In most of the situations organizations take environmental scans to only involve the external analysis (Albright, 2004).
But for it to be comprehensive and conclusive enough it has to involve both internal and external analysis. Internal analysis includes an analysis of the internal structures of the company, its policies and operations, employees and abilities while External analysis includes concepts such as the macro economic environment of the area in which the company operates. This includes the government, legislation policies, technology, socio-cultural trends, and shareholders.
c. What are eight (8) current socio – cultural trends in the United States that are transforming North America and the rest of the world today? The eight socio-cultural trends in the United states that are transforming North America and the rest of the world today include the following:- Religious affiliations and militant religious movements Consumerism, Environmentalism, Diet and nutrition Housing
Social movements, roles of government, family, and collectivism. Materialism Demographics like population size, ethnic origins, education levels, income levels. d. What four (4) questions should the scan answer? The scan should be able to answer trends or projection towards changes in consumerism, which will help an organization in diversifying its products and get to know spending habits of the target market and population (Wheelen & Hunger, 2008).
Environmentalism which will help the organization to formulate its public relations policy more so as regards corporate social responsibility, social movements and roles of government, family and collectivism which influences public opinion and public habits, and Demographics that help establish incomes and disposable incomes of the populations, projected population growth, education levels and backgrounds of the target area of expansion or of operation that will help an organization to redefine its operations and strategies.
Bibliography Albright. K. (2004, May/June). Environmental scanning: Radar for success. Information Management Journal, 3(38), 38-44. Mafrica. L. & Mason. M. (2003, January). From scan to plan. Association Management, article 14 of 270. Wheelen. T. L. & Hunger. J. D. (2008). Strategic management and business policy (11th Ed. ). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.