THE EXTENT TO WHICH MANAGERS’ STRATEGIC INTELLIGENCE PRACTICES PREDICT DECISION-MAKING FOR LONG-TERM COMPETITIVENESS IN CASSAVA FLOUR RETAILING IN CROSS RIVER STATE

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THE EXTENT TO WHICH MANAGERS’ STRATEGIC INTELLIGENCE PRACTICES PREDICT DECISION-MAKING FOR LONG-TERM COMPETITIVENESS IN CASSAVA FLOUR RETAILING IN CROSS RIVER STATE

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

            The lifeblood of any organization is the information it generates about its operating environment. The test of organizational longevity is how it uses the information generated to produce needed intelligence to facilitate long-term decision-making.  One of the keys to achieving the foregoing could be to embrace managers’ strategic intelligence practices (SIPs).  

            Managers’ SIPs are competition-driven practices that involve information gathering and analysis, interpretation, and speculative consideration of future developments, patterns, risks and opportunities through the exercise of human judgment (McDowell, 2016).  Managers’ SIPs are continuing operations and interacting structure of people, equipment, and procedures to gather, sort, analyze and distribute pertinent, timely and accurate information pertaining to competitors, suppliers, customers, technology, government, the organization itself and business environment for use by decision makers to improve planning, implementation and control of business operations (Tan and Ahmed, 2017).  Strategic intelligence practices signify the creation and transformation of information from publicly available and non-proprietary sources into competitive intelligence that can be used on a continuing basis to assist senior managers in their proactive actions.

            Strategic intelligence (SI) actions focus strictly on supporting strategic decision-making by monitoring significant events: past, present and future events. In short, SI is the practice of producing needed intelligence of strategic value in an actionable form to facilitate long-term decision-making. Viewed from this perspective, SI is identified as a practice and a product. As a practice, it is the set of ethical methods for collecting, developing, analyzing and disseminating actionable information that can affect the plans, decisions and operations of the various units of an organization. As a product, SI refers to information about the present and future behaviour of competitors, customers, suppliers, technologies, government, market and the general business environment. Strategic intelligence practices consist of the aggregation of the various types of intelligences, among which are: competitor intelligence, customer intelligence, risks intelligence, economic intelligence, regulatory intelligence, human resource intelligence, financial resource intelligence and technology intelligence.

            Competitors Intelligence Practices (CIPs) refer  to managers competitor-specific actions of gathering information, interpreting data, informing stake holders and requesting feedback to understand the competitor’s abilities and weaknesses so that they can predict the future performance of  rivals (McGonagleandVella, 2016).An important input of good business plans is knowledge of the competitors, not only their current operations but also probable future trends. Every retail shop needs competitor intelligence (CI) to investigate the activities of competitors and assess the impact of any strategic shifts in consumer preferences, market growth, and segmental attractiveness which will provide intelligence that could help guide managers towards decision making for long-term competitiveness. Competitors intelligence is needed to stay competitive, but surviving and thriving in the ever-changing, highly competitive and predictably uncertain business environment is unthinkable without consideration of customer intelligence.

            Customer Intelligence Practices (CIPs) are actions that enable a company to identify demographic data pertaining to the customer’s age, gender, location, income, and buying behaviour. These intelligence practices picture the present and future needs of customers as well as the newly creative opportunities in marketing and distribution and shows the major changes that occur (Gabber, 2017). Most businesses are now on a mission to become more customer-centric. The emphasis is shifting from transactions, processes, products, and channels to the ultimate source of immediate and long term profitability of the customers,this change is driven by intensified competition (Gabber, 2017).  Generating intelligence pertaining to customer buying behavior is a practice that leverages the capabilities of managers in the context of customer relationship management. With most retail shops and product lifecycle operating under constant risks, threat of rapid innovation and change, risk intelligence practices holds the key to establishing transient competitive advantage.

            Risk Intelligence Practices (RIPs) are defensive activities embarked upon by an organization to gather information that will successfully identify uncertainties in the workplace(Bowen, 2015). Risk intelligence practices include actions taken by an organization in the provision of safety devices, ensuring strict compliance to safety standards, taking insurance policies, maintaining reasonable cash reserves, engaging in ethical transactions, promoting goodwill and so on.  Many small enterprises are facing increasingly diversified challenges and complicated risks in the activities of production, operation, management and decision-making. Risk-related challenges emanate from constant invention of new technologies, competitors and other elements within the business environment and they impose a lot of threats on the enterprises.  Many small enterprises barely survive. Knowing where vulnerabilities lie and making conscious decisions about which ones to accept and which to mitigate is a function of risk intelligence practices.  Organizations operate in an information economy in which their success depends to a large extent on knowledge about global economies. A necessary response for survival in a knowledge-driven economy is Economic Intelligence Practices (EIPs).

            Economic Intelligence Practicesare formalized operations of research, collection and procession of the information and of distributing useful knowledge for strategic management within the competitive environment (Cohen, 2014).  In an economy in which competition and performance are translated by the ability to control and manage the information and knowledge relating to opportunities and the threats, the economic intelligence provide the enablers by which managers can actively monitor the external environment in order to identify the opportunities and the threats that affects the organization’s life, as well as reaching decisions in compliance with legal and ethical limits to influence practices and build resilience to economic competition in the changing regulatory environment.

THE EXTENT TO WHICH MANAGERS’ STRATEGIC INTELLIGENCE PRACTICES PREDICT DECISION-MAKING FOR LONG-TERM COMPETITIVENESS IN CASSAVA FLOUR RETAILING IN CROSS RIVER STATE

THE EXTENT TO WHICH MANAGERS’ STRATEGIC INTELLIGENCE PRACTICES PREDICT DECISION-MAKING FOR LONG-TERM COMPETITIVENESS IN CASSAVA FLOUR RETAILING IN CROSS RIVER STATE