1
Information Literacy for Scanning the
External Business Environment
Xue Zhang, Shaheen Majid and
Schubert Foo
Information Literacy at Workplace
One of the objectives of IL instruction is to
prepare independent and lifelong learners
...
What is Environment Scanning?
It is a process of identifying, collecting, processing,
analyzing and interpreting informati...
ES – An Information Intense Process
4
Information Needs
Identification
Information
Collection
Information Organization & S...
Mapping of ES Process and IL Skills
5
Scanning needs identification - To define & articulate info. needs
Acquisition of en...
Mapping of ES Process and IL Skills
6
Information synthesis and
analysis
- To filter, interpret, analyse,
and summarize in...
The Study Setting
Travel Agencies in Singapore
Very competitive and dynamic industry, directly
influenced by several envir...
Research Objective
To study the role of Information Literacy
in environmental scanning process
through a combination of qu...
Phase one - Questionnaire Survey
 Sample - All 319 NATAS* member travel agencies
 42 companies participated in the study...
Human sources 3.70
(colleagues, external contacts)
Traditional Sources 3.00
(Newspapers, TV, magazines)
Online Info. Sourc...
11
Survey Findings
Conduct of various ES activities
ES Activity
CEO/
Director
Assigned
person(s)
Everyone
Identify the nee...
Lack of time 56.5%
Shortage of manpower 64.1%
Lack of information skills 40.7%
Limited access to info sources 33.3%
12
Sur...
13
Hypotheses Testing
H1: The frequency of each scanning step is positively correlated with the quality of
information ava...
Inability to identify appropriate information sources
14
IL-Related Problems in ES - Interviews
Overreliance on human information sources
15
IL-Related Problems in ES - Interviews
No/limited storage of strategic information
16
IL-Related Problems in ES - Interviews
Improper storage of information
17
IL-Related Problems in ES - Interviews
IL training programs need to realize that
applications and benefits of IL skills are not
confined to academic settings.
Ma...
19
Information Literacy for Scanning the
External Business Environment
Xue Zhang, Shaheen Majid and
Schubert Foo
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Shaheen- Information literacy for scanning the external environment- a qualitative study

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Shaheen- Information literacy for scanning the external environment- a qualitative study

  1. 1. 1 Information Literacy for Scanning the External Business Environment Xue Zhang, Shaheen Majid and Schubert Foo
  2. 2. Information Literacy at Workplace One of the objectives of IL instruction is to prepare independent and lifelong learners However, a majority of the IL studies have been conducted in academic settings. Recently several studies have highlighted the importance of IL skills for business organizations (Karim & Hussein, 2008; Zhang, Majid & Foo , 2012). Some previous studies also reported a lack of desired IL skills among employees (Bruce, 1999; O'Sullivan, 2002; Cheuk, 2002). Only a few studies have investigated the impact of IL skills on different business operations such as Environment Scanning (ES), strategic planning, Evidence-Based Practice (EBP), etc. 2
  3. 3. What is Environment Scanning? It is a process of identifying, collecting, processing, analyzing and interpreting information about an organization’s external business environments, to be used for tactical and strategic decision-making. Creates awareness about emerging business trends, new business opportunities and potential threats. Continuous and systematic environment scanning enables an organization to avoid surprises and gain competitive edge over its competitors. 3 ES is an ‘information intense’ process and needs good information skills
  4. 4. ES – An Information Intense Process 4 Information Needs Identification Information Collection Information Organization & Storage Info Processing & Synthesizing Information Distribution Info Evaluation & Use Zhang, Majid & Foo (2010) - Adapted from Choo’s (2002) Information Management Model
  5. 5. Mapping of ES Process and IL Skills 5 Scanning needs identification - To define & articulate info. needs Acquisition of environmental information - To identify potential info. sources - To consider cost/benefit of info. - To select the most appropriate access method - To develop /refine search strategy - To retrieve & extract information Information organization and storage - To properly organize and store the retrieved information for current and future use Environment Scanning Desired IL Skills
  6. 6. Mapping of ES Process and IL Skills 6 Information synthesis and analysis - To filter, interpret, analyse, and summarize information from multiple sources Information distribution and sharing - To distribute information to the right person at the right time and in an appropriate format Information evaluation and use - To evaluate the quality of info. - To use information for decision making Environment Scanning Desired IL Skills
  7. 7. The Study Setting Travel Agencies in Singapore Very competitive and dynamic industry, directly influenced by several environmental factors such as economic crises, epidemics, and natural disasters. Travel agencies need to quickly adjust according to the rapidly changing business environment. The tourism industry is an important and major contributor to Singapore economy. Only a few studies have investigated the environmental scanning practices of travel agencies. 7
  8. 8. Research Objective To study the role of Information Literacy in environmental scanning process through a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. 8
  9. 9. Phase one - Questionnaire Survey  Sample - All 319 NATAS* member travel agencies  42 companies participated in the study (13.2% response rate) Phase two – Face-to-Face Interviews  13 individuals from 5 companies were interviewed  Companies were selected based on their size and business focus (in-bound, out-bound, transportation)  Interviewees were from different functional units and hierarchical levels 9 Research Method * NATAS = National Association of Travel Agents Singapore
  10. 10. Human sources 3.70 (colleagues, external contacts) Traditional Sources 3.00 (Newspapers, TV, magazines) Online Info. Sources 2.77 (websites, travel blogs, databases) 10 Survey Findings Use Frequency of Information Sources Low use of online information sources was probably due to limited IL/searching skills
  11. 11. 11 Survey Findings Conduct of various ES activities ES Activity CEO/ Director Assigned person(s) Everyone Identify the need to collect information 32.5% 53.5% 14.0% Collect information 11.4% 63.6% 22.0% Filter, interpret and merge information 30.2% 62.8% 7.0% Organise and store information 12.8% 79.5% 7.7% Distribute information to needed people 20.0% 71.1% 8.9% Use the information for decision-making 58.3% 37.5% 4.2% A majority of the employees were involved in ES activities
  12. 12. Lack of time 56.5% Shortage of manpower 64.1% Lack of information skills 40.7% Limited access to info sources 33.3% 12 Survey Findings Barriers to Environment Scanning
  13. 13. 13 Hypotheses Testing H1: The frequency of each scanning step is positively correlated with the quality of information available for decision-making. H2: The overall level of information literacy of employees responsible of scanning activities is positively correlated with the quality of information made available for decision-making. Frequency of Environmental Scanning Level of Information Literacy Skills Quality of Information for Use H1 H2
  14. 14. Inability to identify appropriate information sources 14 IL-Related Problems in ES - Interviews
  15. 15. Overreliance on human information sources 15 IL-Related Problems in ES - Interviews
  16. 16. No/limited storage of strategic information 16 IL-Related Problems in ES - Interviews
  17. 17. Improper storage of information 17 IL-Related Problems in ES - Interviews
  18. 18. IL training programs need to realize that applications and benefits of IL skills are not confined to academic settings. Many organizational activities need up-to-date, accurate, and high quality information for tactical and strategic decision-making. Employees of all organizations need to possess an adequate level of information skills. There is a need to create awareness as well as develop special IL training programs for working individuals. 18 Conclusion
  19. 19. 19 Information Literacy for Scanning the External Business Environment Xue Zhang, Shaheen Majid and Schubert Foo

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