Information Management for the Intelligent Organization

The Art of Scanning the Environment

A book by Chun Wei Choo in the ASIS&T Monograph Series, published by Information Today/Learned Information (Medford, New Jersey) for the American Society for Information Science and Technology. First published in 1995, a second edition appeared in 1998, and a third in 2002. An eBook edition followed in 2012. A Portuguese language edition was published by Editorial Caminho (Lisbon) in 2003.


"The third edition of any publication indicates its success and correspondence with users' needs. This is undeniably the case of the Chun Wei Choo's book on information management and environmental scanning. Environmental scanning is widely known as a part of business and management discourse. However, Choo added a vital aspect and discussed it in the context of information activity, namely consciously conducted information management, of organisations. Therefore, the publication serves a double function:

  • as a complementary text for managers on environmental scanning and business intelligence, and

  • as a comprehensive account of general information management issues."

Macevičiūtė, E. 2003. Book review in Information Research, 8(4):

"This book offers so much substantial information and support for environmental scanning that it certainly requires more than one thorough reading to pick up on all the finer detail. Apart from promoting environmental scanning in the learning or intelligent organization it can also present the creative reader with ideas for research on information seeking behavior, intranet design, current awareness services (one component of environmental scanning), and I believe, even the training of Library and Information Science (LIS) students—to name but a few. As with his other publications, Choo’s style of writing is very accessible: clear, to the point, and according to a logical structure. It is clear how different sections are linked, and how each chapter contributes to the holistic picture of environmental scanning. The exceptional clarity with which this book is presented is one of the reasons why I would recommend the book for under-graduate as well as post-graduate courses."

Ina Fourie. 2003. Book review in Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 54 (2), p. 184-185.

"One of the more interesting aspects of Information Management for the Intelligent Organization is that it revitalizes the overworked concept of 'information management' by placing it in the context of organizational development. In this context, organizations are open systems that exist in and interact with the environment. Intelligent organizations are distinguished by the ability to read the environment and to adapt accordingly. Intelligent organizations are learning organizations, and are proficient at creating, acquiring, organizing, and using knowledge to develop desirable behaviors, improve competitive position, or achieve objectives. Organizational learning is perceived to be a cycle of activities rather than a single event, and it includes sensing the environment, perceiving change, interpreting the significance of the change, and developing appropriate organizational strategies and responses. Beginning with the above premise - that intelligent organizations are those in tune with the environment and capable of learning and adapting to environmental conditions - Choo offers a framework for information management that incorporates strategies for systematic environmental scanning and for systematic knowledge creation, management, and use. His objective is to encourage organizations to understand and manage processes more effectively and to increase their capacity to learn, to adapt, and to thrive."

Deborah Barreau. 2002. Book review in Library and Information Science Research, 22 (3), p. 343-345.

"This book explores how organizations learn and manage data from the highest levels of information theory. In this 3rd edition, Professor Choo explores how CI fits into his vision of organizational learning. His focus is on what he labels as environmental scanning. For those of us in CI, it is a challenging study of the ways and the whys of how businesses find and use, as well as ignore, misuse or miss, vast amounts of raw data about their competitive and business environments. ... For those CI professionals who want to understand where CI can fit into the overall information processes of well-managed enterprises and how CI can be made more effective, it is a valuable resource."

John McGonagle. 2003. Book review in Competitive Intelligence Magazine.

Information Management for the Intelligent Organization

Third Edition

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. The Intelligent Organization

  • Organizations and Environments

  • Organizational Information Processing

  • The Intelligent Organization

  • Intelligence Through Organizational Learning

  • Organizational Unlearning

  • Building the Intelligent Learning Organization

Chapter 2. A Process Model of Information Management

  • Information Needs

  • Information Acquisition

  • Information Organization and Storage

  • Information Products and Services

  • Information Distribution

  • Information Use

  • Information Ecology

  • Information Culture

  • Summary

Chapter 3. Managers As Information Users

  • Management as Conversations

  • Managers as Information Users

  • Implications for Information Management

  • Research on Managers as Information Users

  • The Politics of Information Sharing

  • Information Overload

  • Managerial Information Processing and Organizational Learning

Chapter 4. Environmental Scanning as Strategic Organizational Learning

  • From Competitor Intelligence to Social Intelligence

  • Competitive Intelligence

  • Business Intelligence

  • Social Intelligence

  • Environmental Scanning and Organizational Learning

  • Research on Environmental Scanning

  • Situational Dimensions: Perceived Environmental Uncertainty

  • Organizational Strategies

  • Managerial Traits

  • Information Needs: Focus of Environmental Scanning

  • Information Seeking (1): Source Use and Preferences

  • Information Seeking (2): Scanning Methods

  • Information Use

  • Summary

Chapter 5. Environmental Scanning in Action

  • Perspectives from Neurobiology

  • Environmental Scanning in Action in US Corporations

  • Environmental Scanning in UK Corporations

  • Environmental Scanning in Swedish Corporations

  • Environmental Scanning in Japanese Corporations

  • Environmental Scanning in Canada

  • Close-up View of Five Canadian CEOs

  • Designing an Environmental Scanning System

Chapter 6. Managing Information Sources

  • Managing an Information Ecology for Scanning the Environment

  • Selection and Use of Information Sources

  • Perceived Source Characteristics

  • Information traits

  • Information Richness

  • Human Sources

  • Textual Sources

Chapter 7. Weaving A Web of Online Intelligence

  • Modes of Environmental Scanning

  • The Internet: A Social Information Space

  • The Web as Organizational Information Infrastructure

  • Embarrassment of Riches: Resources on the Web

  • Companies Using the Internet for Environmental Scanning

  • The Value of Online Databases

  • Embarrassment of Riches: Online Databases

  • Companies Using Online Databases for Environmental Scanning

Chapter 8. Learning to be Intelligent

  • The Intelligent Organization

  • Information Management

  • Understanding Environmental Scanning

  • Designing an Effective Scanning System

  • Looking Ahead

  • Information Partnerships for the Intelligent Organization

  • New Ways of Organizational Learning and Understanding the Future

  • The New Dynamics of Competition

Chapter 9. Information Management, Knowledge Management, and the Information Professional

  • Data, Information, Knowledge, Action

  • Do We Know What We Know?

  • The Nature of Knowledge in Organizations

  • Information Professionals and Tacit Knowledge

  • Information Professionals and Explicit Knowledge

  • Information Professionals and Cultural Knowledge

  • Use of Intranets in Corporate Libraries

  • Summary