I am looking for an adjective to describe an organization that does not only sense what is happening within itself (its own data) but is also aware of the (external) environment. One could say that this organization has senses/perceptors. Specifically, I am referring to an organization/ a group of people and not to individual organisms.

Words that came to my mind were sensitive (but the meaning is a bit different as it describes how you react to things you perceive), conscious (too passive), and sentient (like that one the most).

I would not limit the search to adjectives only if there are good phrases etc. to describe what I am looking for.

  • 2
    "Sentient" was the first word that occurred to me as well, but I think it has too many other connotations (awareness of feelings, intelligence) that might distract your audience.
    – user888379
    Aug 3, 2021 at 14:02
  • “Sentient” indicates intelligence and awareness, but there is nothing in its ordinary meaning to particularly suggest that awareness is outwardly rather than inwardly focused. Aug 3, 2021 at 16:14
  • If the context is a company, could you call them industry-aware?
    – thomj1332
    Aug 3, 2021 at 17:33
  • This sounds like anthropomorphism — “non-human things displaying literal human traits and being capable of human behavior.” So any phrasings you might apply to humans would work. The organization displays a certain sentience. It has its own consciousness. It is self aware. It is driven by its needs and responsive to its environment. Do a search for anthropomorphism of an organization for more ideas. If any of this is helpful, I can expand it into an answer. Aug 3, 2021 at 18:42
  • A less common word expressing sensitive but without implying relative strength is sensate.
    – Ben Voigt
    Aug 3, 2021 at 20:53

4 Answers 4



capable of or characterized by perception (Merriam-Webster)

Some examples of relevant usage:

Incorporated the concept of observer equivalence that was implicit in the belief in a physical reality that is independent of any percipient entity.
Pfeffer and Nir, Modern Physics: An Introductory Text (2nd Edition), 2012

When I perceive I must become percipient of something-there can be no such thing as perceiving and perceiving nothing.
Moeller, Introduction to College Philosophy (2013)

The sensum, though distinct from the sensation, is dependent upon the perceiver. It is in fact a resultant of the meeting of a certain object and a certain percipient subject.
Ross, Aristotle (2005)

  • I have to consider this adjective as I haven't heard of it before. Thank you for the suggestion; will have to think about it. Aug 3, 2021 at 13:49
  • 1
    A much more common adjective with the same root is perceptive.
    – Ben Voigt
    Aug 3, 2021 at 20:50

outward-looking defined by Collins as "looking beyond oneself; open-minded and reaching out to other people, organizations, etc".

We're talking about an organization or group of people, so any term is going to be somewhat metaphorical. Businesses aren't noted for the presence or absence of sense-organs or literal consciousness, but some are more aware of what is going on in the marketplace, with their customers, and beyond. It's this aspect of an organization that's identified by the term "outward-looking".



ˈkɒɡnɪzənt,ˈkɒnɪzənt, kɒɡˈnʌɪzənt/

Frequency (in current use): 5th level of 8

Etymology: apparently of modern introduction: not in Dictionaries of 18th cent.; not in Todd's Johnson 1818, nor in Webster 1828; in Craig 1847. Thus, probably formed anew, directly cognizance n., cognize v.; but it corresponds in form to Old French conisant, conusant present participle Compare cognoscent adj.

1. a. Having cognizance or knowledge (see cognizance n. 2); aware (of).

1820 R. Southey Ode Portrait Bp. Heber If the Saints in bliss Be cognizant of aught that passeth here.

a1859 J. Austin Lect. Jurispr. (1879) I. xxv. 499 The party shall be presumed conusant of the law...his ignorance shall not exempt him.

1879 W. B. Carpenter Princ. Mental Physiol. (ed. 5) i. ii. §82 The following circumstance, of which the writer is personally cognizant.

b. Philosophy. That knows or cognizes.

1839 H. Hallam Introd. Lit. Europe III. iii. 162 Gassendi..gives as the best, a definition of truth little differing from Herbert's, the agreement of the cognizant intellect with the thing known.

1862 F. Hall tr. N. N. Gore Rational Refut. Hindu Philos. Syst. 54 If this cognition were that which apprehends objects, the soul would be cognizant.

Copied from the Oxford English Dictionary



— aware of and attentive or responsive to something—used with to. m-w

— Receptive or aware. Lexico

— 1. able to perceive; sensitive (to) Collins

The various information-processing capacities and information-gathering abilities that animals possess are attuned to the animals' environment by natural selection... Knowledge and Its Place in Nature (2002) p.62

The jungle is, therefore, not only a complex of many diverse and interdependent plants and animals, but also an intricate communication network to which the human mind can gradually become attuned. ... Your ears become attuned to this rhythm. ...The sense of touch also becomes attuned to the jungle. Whistling Hunters (1985) p.17

  • Attunement is more about degree than some basic ability. Training and conditioning can make you attuned, but you have to first possess the faculties that make you aware of your environment. Aug 3, 2021 at 12:51
  • 1
    @GArthurBrown It can be, as in finely attuned; however the OP isn't quite satisfied with sentient, and as you point out ("It doesn't even necessarily imply consciousness in the way we think of human consciousness."), it may not capture the sensing/being aware of part of the requirement.
    – DjinTonic
    Aug 3, 2021 at 13:04
  • That's a confusion of the meaning of consciousness and awareness. Ants are aware, but I'm not sure it makes sense to call them conscious. Likewise, you can be conscious but not able to sense your environment. Aug 3, 2021 at 13:15
  • Looked up attuned and, unfortunately, it does not fit the intended purpose as also highlighted in the comments above. Still, thank you. Aug 3, 2021 at 13:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.