This paper is based on a literature review and small-scale empirical study, investigating the role of external informa tion in the strategic management of UK retail banks. The highly competitive nature of the banking world makes it necessary for institutions to gain an understanding of their environment, and thus the way in which they organise and use information is of crucial importance. The research explored the organisational role of departments concerned with environmental analysis, the character of business environment analysis and the nature of the information used. It suggested that the way in which information is collected and analysed to make strategic decisions appears directly linked to organisational structure and particularly to the extent of decentralisation. Such structures differ noticeably and it is unclear how far business units are involved with both environmental analysis and the supply of information to the centre.