Environmental Turbulence and Scanning Behavior: The Moderating Effects of Organizational Maturity


  • Jianwen Liao Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Harold Welsch DePaul University
  • Michael Stoica Washburn University


This paper examines the relationship between environmental turbulence and information scanning behavior in a sample of 242 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and the moderating effects of organizational age. Our results suggest that SME decision makers utilize a selective, cognitive simplification process in their information search activities. Scanning behavior of SMEs is highly differentiated and very selective in the face of turbulent task environments. In general, our sampled SMEs seem to be more attuned to technological and competitive turbulence. Additionally, young and mature SMEs also exhibit different scanning behaviors. While young SMEs prefer a search mode of proactive continuous internal gathering, mature SMEs opt for a mode of reactive internal and external information gathering. Implications of this study are discussed.


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