ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES ON BUSINESS
"Environment factors or constraint are largely if not totally, external and beyond the control of individual industrial enterprises and their managements. These are essentially the 'givers' within which firms and their managements must operate in a specific country and they vary, often greatly, from country to country."
All living creatures including human beings live within an environment. Apart from the natural environment, environment of humans include family, friends, peers, neighbours and society. It also includes man-made structures such as buildings, furniture, roads and other physical infrastructure.
Just like human beings, business also does not function in an isolated vacuum. Businesses function within a whole gambit of relevant environment and have to negotiate their way through it. The extent to which the business thrives depends on the manner in which it interacts with its environment.
To be successful business has to not only recognise different elements of the environment but also respect, adapt to or manage and influence them.
The business must continuously monitor and adapt to the environment if it is to survive and prosper.
A successful business has to identify, appraise, and respond to the various opportunities and threats in its environment.
Famous Cadbury Fight back
Business functions as a part of broader environment. The inputs in the form of human, physical, financial and other related resources are drawn from the environment. Business converts these resources through various processes into outputs of products and/or services. The latter are partly exchanged with the external client groups, say customers. The exchange process brings in some surplus (or profits, reputation, good
public image and so on) to the business, which could be stored and used for further development and growth.
Different organizations use different inputs, adopt different processes and produce different outputs. For example, an educational institution produces literate people. A hospital provides health and medical services. Organizations depend on the external environment for the inputs required by them and for disposing of their outputs in a mutually beneficial manner. The input-output exchange activity is a continuous process and calls for an active interaction with the external environment.
Framework to understand the environmental influences
In spite of the problems in understanding business environment, organizations cannot ignore it. We will make an attempt to identify a framework for understanding the environment of organizations. This will help in identifying key issues, find ways of coping with complexity and also assist in challenging managerial thinking.
There should be an attempt to understand why the forces are of strategic significance. It is also required to analyse the organization's competitive position: that is, how it stands in relation to those organizations competing for the same resources, or customers, as itself.
Reality Bite: You have recently joined Coca Cola as a manager and your first assignment is to prepare a mind map and list out all the factors affecting the brand Coca Cola. It may include all the factors such as (positive/negative/good/bad etc.)