Establishing an Environmental Scanning Process at Edinboro  14


developments in the macroenvironment can affect developments in the task and industrial environments. This point underscores the necessity of scanning the macroenvironment as well as the task and industrial environments if we want to pick up the early signals of change that may affect our institutions.


Environmental Scanning

The use of environmental scanning as a tool for strategic planning in higher education has been described by Morrison (1985, 1987, 1992), illustrated by survey reports of Friedel, Coker, & Blong (1991) and Pritchett (1990), and analyzed by Hearn and Heydinger (1985) and Hearn, Clugston, and Heydinger (1993).

The purpose of environmental scanning is to serve as an early warning system by alerting institutional leaders to potentially significant external developments in their early stages. The earlier the warning, the more lead time we have to plan for the implications of these changes. Consequently, the scope of environmental scanning is broad-a full circle sweep to pick up any signal of change in the external environment.

Environmental Monitoring

Monitoring follows scanning. Every possible change or potential shift in the macroenvironment cannot be given equal attention. We select items by defining topics or ideas that are incorporated in "the interesting future-the period in which major policy options adopted now could probably have significant effect" (Renfro & Morrison, 1983, p. 5). We put aside trends and potential events that are important, but are not now critical, and collect data periodically on them. These data are "monitored" so that changes in their status can be detected.

The purpose of monitoring is to ascertain the past and possible future directions of trends or to enable us to estimate the strength of indicators of potential events.



Title Page