Increasing Flexibility by Environment Scanning of the Early Signs of Change in the Complex Environment

Leena Ilmola-Sheppard

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


The new and distinctive features of the environment at the end of the century will be increasing in volatility with a growing number of climate-related extreme events and increasing uncertainty. The global economic system will be characterized by complex interdependencies. Traditional strategy building and foresight have developed means for anticipation, but in this challenging environment there is a need for additional means of increasing the flexibility of organizations. This thesis explores the horizon scanning and information acquisition process as a means for increasing organizations' readiness for change. The aim of the study is to propose a theory based construct of information filters for environment scanning and to describe the impact of the filter on outcomes of the horizon scanning process. The study was conducted by combining grounded theory methodology with case study designs. The four case studies were analyzed in order to collect an in-depth understanding of the filtering impact within various filter settings. The thesis contributes to current theoretical and practical understanding in horizon scanning and anticipative strategy building in two ways. First the study developed the existing information filter theories further so that the extended theory presented includes the requirements of the complexity of the environment in the filtering process. Second the study summarized the theoretical understanding into a pragmatic filter construct that is easy to modify according to the needs of the strategy process.
Translated title of the contributionHeikkojen signaalien seuranta joustavuuden lisäämiskeinona kompleksissa toimintaympäristössä
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Eloranta, Eero, Supervising Professor
  • Kuusi, Osmo, Thesis Advisor, External person
Print ISBNs978-952-60-5666-1
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-5667-8
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • weak signals
  • strategy
  • complexity

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