Business

Environmental Information in Organizations: Sources Validation and Dissemination

Gathering and disseminating environmental information by mean of an effective system which:
 Gathers environmental information
 Validates and corroborates the information
 Disseminates the information so that people who need it can find it

Sources of environmental information:

Two Sources: Internal and External.

Internal sources include:

Employees: Some will be following developments affecting the firm or their field of work, or have past experiences and networks of contacts that can provide insights.
Internal records system: This will reveal comments of sales teams at meetings, revenue and cost trends at different locations, customer requests or complaints etc.
Formal information resources: Many firms may employ information resources specialists to create current awareness reports e.g. large accountancy firms have technical departments that monitor changes to regulations and the outcomes of adjudications, test cases and appeals.

External sources include:


 Trade media: The magazines and journals specific to the industry or to particular business functions
 Published accounts of rivals, suppliers and clients
 Government statistical reports
On-line resources: Subscriptions to business information vendors, current awareness services (emails from vendors who monitor the media for articles containing keywords specified by management)
Market reports: Published research from investment analysts, market researchers, trade departments of governments etc.


Validating environmental information:

Information without validation may not be useful

Methods of validation:


Appointing an Information Officer with skills of ‘librarianship’. to act as a central point of contact for obtaining, sifting and relaying information
Appointing a database administrator for information stored and disseminated electronically, e.g. via an intranet, to check on the validity of postings.

Issues to consider in validating environmental information include:


 Integrity of the source: internet gossip and market rumours lack integrity on their own
Forecasting and predictive record in the past
 Degree of substantiation: is there more than one report or instance of this from independent sources?
Age of the information: how up to date is it?
 Motivation of provider: does the provider have something to gain from convincing the firm of this information?


Disseminating environmental information


Tacit knowledge refers to ‘information the organization does not know it has’ i.e. it is known to very few people and not easily available to the organization as a whole. Explicit knowledge is information that has been disseminated more widely.

Dissemination can be assisted by:
 A well designed intranet with clear files and a search facility
 Periodic briefing reports with a digest of the most significant information
 Periodic seminars to brief management
 Annual management development sessions at an internal or external business school to introduce and discuss new environmental issues

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