Impact of environmental scanning on the organisational performance of local authorities in Malaysia
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Purpose – Previous studies on scanning behaviour focused mainly on the performance of the private sector, leaving the public sector, especially local authorities (LAs), largely understudied. Primarily, this paper aims to examine the element of strategic management tools associated with the impact of environmental scanning (ES) on organisational performance in the LAs. It explores the above relationship in the context of public sector organisations in Malaysia. Design/methodology/approach – A quantitative approach has been used for this study where the data were collected through a mail survey (n=75) of local authorities in Malaysia, which consists of four categories – City Council/City Hall, Municipal Council, District Council and organisations that exercise the functions of local authorities. Findings – Overall, the results show that the scope of general environmental scanning is seen as a prerequisite to the successful alignment of competitive strategies as a result of changing the needs and demands of the larger society, and the diverse nature of businesses. In the context of Malaysian LAs, there is a significant relationship between the environmental scanning (operation) and the overall achievement of the organisation's performance. Research limitations/implications – This paper is limited to the Malaysian context, and, hence, the findings cannot be applied generally. Practical implications – This study could be used effectively as a road map to assist the council members, senior staff and stakeholders in evaluating their success and steering the organisation's performance and sustainability. Originality/value – This paper provides important insights into the performance of local governments in Malaysia. To the authors' knowledge, this study is the first attempt to look at a more holistic perspective in exploring environmental scanning of LAs in the country. Increased understanding in this area is of critical importance in relation to implementing effectively the current and future modernisation and reform initiatives. It is of interest to both researchers and practitioners.