Date of Award

Fall 12-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Management & Systems Engineering


Engineering Management

Committee Director

Charles B. Keating

Committee Member

T. Steven Cotter

Committee Member

Resit Unal

Committee Member

Behnido Y. Calida


The purpose of this research was to develop a Systems Theory-based framework for Environmental Scanning (ES) in Complex System Governance (CSG) using an inductive research design. Complexity and uncertainty are normal for external environments in which today’s systems (organizations) exist. These environmental characteristics provide impetus for researchers to focus on organizational planning for disruptive external forces that could threaten system stability and future system existence. The ES function supports the requisite governance metasystemic functions to be enabled, executed, and evolved sufficiently well to promote continuous system viability. In this research the functioning of ES was examined from a diverse literature-based perspective. The literature acknowledges the importance of the ES function, but its consistent development and its impact on system viability in a turbulent environment is not well developed from a Systems Theory-based perspective. This gap in knowledge was addressed in this research.

This research examined metasystemic functions performed by ES across a broad literature base encompassing Systems Theory, CSG, Managerial Cybernetics, and ES from several fields of study. This research focused on the lack of explicit use of Systems Theory in ES functionality in metasystemic governance. This research presents a theoretical construct for the expansion of the functionality of ES in CSG that supports enhanced system viability.

A rigorous research approach employing a constructivist Grounded Theory Method (GTM) was used to analyze the qualified research literature with a focus on Systems Theory to both consolidate and expand the known functionality of ES in CSG. This research provided a theoretical seventeen-function Systems Theory-based framework for ES in CSG. The overarching theory from this framework is that ES functions support complex system viability through regulation of internal and external variety that is induced by external changes. The literature-based identification of the ES functions demonstrates that ES operates in newly identified mechanisms, beyond the original identification provided by Keating & Katina (2016). A case study was undertaken to demonstrate face validation of the applicability of the emerging Systems Theory-based functions of ES in CSG in an applied setting where possible utility was developed.

Topics for future research in ES functionality were identified.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Copyright, 2022, by Dale E. Baugh, All Rights Reserved.