The general environment consists of six (some now argue, seven) forces, summarised in the acronym, PESTL. political economic environmental social technological legal.
The general environment consists of large, macro forces that impact all organisations, regardless of the industry or sector that they occupy.
As a manager you must factor these forces into your analysis of strategy.
The second part of appraising the external environment is called industry analysis. This involves analysing the specific industry context of your organisation. Here, we use a piece of theory developed by Michael Porter, a leading figure in the management discipline. Porter’s five forces
framework helps us to identify the attractiveness of an industry using an int grated framework of five competitive forces (albeit in a fairly artificial, clinical way):
The threat of entry - how easy is it to enter the industry. the threat of substitutes - substitutes are products or services that offer a similar benefit to an industry's products or services.
the bargaining power of buyers - if buyers are powerful, then they can demand cheaper prices, or product or service improvements, which may reduce profit.
the bargaining power of suppliers - suppliers provide inputs to production of a product or service. Supplier power is increased if they are few in number, or where switching costs are high, and the extent of rivalry between competitors - the more competitive rivalry exists, the harder it is for incumbants.
In the first article, Reeves, Love and Tillmanns from the Boston Consulting Group and RWTH Aachen University, Germany, argue that managers need to match their strategy-making processes to the specific demands of their competitive environments.
They suggest that, [in a VUCA environment], industry analysis can be narrowed down to two critical factors:
- predictability: how far into the future and how accurately can you confidently forecast demand, corporate performance, competitive dynamics and market expectations?, and
- malleability: to what extent can you or your competitors influence those factors?
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