Non-executive directors (NEDs) are external members of an organization’s board of directors. These directors’ most significant contribution arguably is found in the quality of their strategic insights, as they ostensibly bring a fresh perspective and set of experiences to acts of strategy and sense making. This study examined NEDs’ contribution to the environmental scanning phase of an organization’s strategic planning process. Data were gathered from a convenience sample of seven current NEDs. Findings indicated that the framing process used during the environmental scanning phase directly influenced how NEDs make sense of the environment. Additionally, NEDs were found to prefer an “objective” environment that is externally located. Finally, NEDs consciously appraise each other’s contribution to the overall discussion. Study findings were incorporated into a conceptual model. Future studies should use a larger sample of NEDs, including peers from the same boards and those from across multiple industries.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (MA) -- Organization Development; Outside directors of corporations -- Case studies; Strategic planning; Work environment -- Planning -- Case Studies

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graziadio Business School



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Worley, Christopher G.;