Company Research: Environmental Scan
Definition Of Environmental Scan
Environmental Scan, an examination of the external and internal environments:
- External environment: political/legal/regulatory, economic, socio-cultural, technology, environment (PEST or PESTEL Analysis).
- Industry environment: new entrants, suppliers, buyers, product substitutes, intensity of rivalry, position of the firm in the industry (Porter's Five Forces Analysis).
- Firm-level: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (SWOT Analysis).
There isn't an article or report called "environmental scan." This is something that you must write yourself by synthesizing information from multiple sources.
Consider industry-specific forces: e.g., for the automobile industry, factors like gas price, new technologies, environmental concerns, changes in consumer preferences, infrastructures, industry/government incentives, global/foreign competitions, etc..
Consider broader forces: economy and disposable income, social media, mobile technology, consumer health, globalization, population change (e.g., immigration, aging), etc..
Recommended sources: most databases featuring company profiles or industry profiles will have some information on environmental factors and their impact on the company or industry. Industry association websites should have some free information about trends and developments. In addition, follow current events in the news and search for current articles related to the company or industry. Synthesize the information and use your own words.
PESTEL/PEST Analysis: there are no readily available "PEST/PESTEL reports" in library databases. Best bets:
- 10-K: esp. the sections Risk Factor and MD&A.
- IBISWorld: esp. sections like Industry Performance (esp. the Key External Drivers), Industry Outlook, Products & Markets, and Operating Conditions.
Five Forces Analysis:
- Business Source Premier: the MarketLine industry profiles (available on select industries) contain a Five Forces Analysis section
- IBISWorld: doesn't have an explicit Five Forces section, but many sections provide information that you can use to create your own analysis.
- Business Insights: by investment analyst
- Business Source Premier: by investment analyst
- Investext: by investment analyst (most current)
- Passport: from a marketing perspective. There isn't a specific SWOT section, but the content can be used for SWOT analysis.
SWOT Analysis in Library Databases
Library databases below may have a readily available SWOT report on select companies. Not all companies have a such a report, and even when there are SWOT reports, they are other people's opinions that you can consult and cite. You should, however, always create your own analysis.
Investext (via Mergent Online)Search by company ticker/name and keyword (search whole report) SWOT. Check out the tutorial (click on question mark above) for details.
Business Source PremierClick on Company Profiles on the top menu bar to get the MarketLine Report, which may contain a SWOT section.
Business Insights: GlobalSearch for company profile; a SWOT report may be available for some companies.
PassportSearch for company profile. There isn't a specific SWOT section, but the content (from a marketing perspective) can be used for SWOT analysis.
IBISWorldThere is a "SWOT in the Industry" section (under "Industry at a Glance") in an industry report. NOTE: this is SWOT analysis of an industry, not a specific company.
Search for the name of the company in the article headline. Limit your search to the last twelve months (or shorter if you get too many results).
- U.S. Major DailiesProvides full text access to: The Chicago Tribune (1985-present), The Los Angeles Times (1985-present), The New York Times (1980-present), The Wall Street Journal (1984-present), and The Washington Post (1987-present). Closed captions are available. Interactive transcripts are available for many, but not all, titles.
- Google Advanced SearchDo a power search to narrow down the results.
- Financial TimesFull text from 1999 - 30 days ago (30-day embargo by publisher). Library also maintains last six months in print and older copies on microfilm. See print version.
Corporate Accountability Watch
- Business & Human Rights resource CentreTracks "news and allegations relating to the human rights impact of over 20,000 companies."
- Corporate Subsidy Tracker & Violation TrackerTracks economic development subsidies and other forms of government financial assistance to business, as well as regulatory violations by businesses.
- CorpWatch"Non-profit investigative research and journalism to expose corporate malfeasance and to advocate for multinational corporate accountability and transparency"
- Federal Contractor Misconduct DatabaseA "compilation of misconduct and alleged misconduct committed by the top federal government contractors from 1995 to the present."
- OpenSecrets.org - Organization ProfilesOnline directory of corporate lobbying and donations to political parties and candidates. Use the "Search for an organization" search box (left side of the screen) to search by company name.
- CQ LibraryContains full text of CQ Researcher reports, CQ Magazine (formerly CQ Weekly, featuring bills and legislative actions) as well as reference works on politics, commerce, and the U.S. Congress.
- CQ ResearcherOffers reports on key issues from 1923 to the present. Includes a searchable archive by keyword, date, or subject.
- Opposing Viewpoints in ContextMaintains controversial contemporary topic summaries and overviews of current issues that include aspects of the issues along with pro and con arguments and opinions.
- Pew Research CenterA nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Sustainability report or corporate social responsibility report, if issued, can be found on the company website. Other resources include:
BELL: The Business Ethics Links LibraryProvides "access to codes of ethics for U.S. companies and trade and professional associations, ethics sites at college and university business programs, industry information resources, and company promotion of social responsibility."
Sustainability Disclosure DatabasePublished by the Global Reporting Initiative.
CorporateRegister.comRequires free registration. An "independent, privately held & self-funded organisation based in the UK."
Find a B Corp"B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency."
- ProQuest CongressionalContains citations and full text to U.S. legislative information from 1970 to the present, with additional coverage of Congressional hearings from 1824 to 1979.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) produces analytical reports on topics of interest to Congress, but does not maintain a public website with these reports.
- University of North Texas (UNT) Digital Library CRS Reports - A searchable colllection with a delay in posting the most current reports.
For more information, see the Dudley Knox Library of the Naval Postgraduate School's guide on Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports