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Abstract

Targeting comprises defining the part of the business environment that corresponds to organizations’ strategic objectives and priorities. Targeting is not an easy process because it includes the interaction of managers who come from different organizational units that might have a fragmentary and blurred understanding of the overall issue. Through an action research, we designed and evaluated a GSS to help managers target strategic scanning in fuzzy contexts. Evaluations through interventions in 10 French organizations allowed both participants to achieve relevant targets and researchers to propose four major improvements to targeting activities: 1) use suggested lists of actors and topics as starting points to trigger and facilitate discussions, 2) define actor and topic importance to produce useful targeting results, 3) evaluate the organization’s perceived capacity to be informed early enough, and 4) define a mechanism to signal scanning relevancy in the short, mid-, or long term. From a management perspective, our results help managers in their strategic scanning activity by 1) identifying information needs for strategically scanning fuzzy subjects, 2) reducing risk of strategic scanning failure, 3) enabling organizations to assess their scanning capabilities, 4) identifying scanning priorities according to a temporal horizon, and 5) fostering teamwork participation.

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