Macro Environment

1 January 2017

There are many factors in the macro-environment that will affect the decisions of the managers of any organization. Tax changes, new laws, trade barriers, demographic change and government policy changes are all examples of macro change. To help analyze these factors managers can categories them using the model. This classification distinguishes between: Political factors: These refer to government policy such as the degree of intervention in the economy. What goods and services does a government want to provide?

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To what extent does it believe in subsidizing firms? What are its priorities in terms of business support? Political decisions can impact on many vital areas for business such as the education of the workforce, the health of the nation and the quality of the infrastructure of the economy such as the road and rail system. Economic factors: These include interest rates, taxation changes, economic growth, inflation and exchange rates. As you will see throughout the “Foundations of Economics” book economic change can have a major impact on a firm’s behavior. For example: Economic factors:

These include interest rates, taxation changes, economic growth, inflation and exchange rates. As you will see throughout the “Foundations of Economics” book economic change can have a major impact on a firm’s behavior. For example: * Higher interest rates may deter investment because it costs more to borrow. * A strong currency may make exporting more difficult because it may raise the price in terms of foreign currency. * Inflation may provoke higher wage demands from employees and raise costs. * Higher national income growth may boost demand for a firm’s products. Social factors:

Changes in social trends can impact on the demand for a firm’s products and the availability and willingness of individuals to work. In the UK, for example, the population has been ageing. This has increased the costs for firms who are committed to pension payments for their employees because their staff is living longer. It also means some firms such as Asda have started to recruit older employees to tap into this growing labour pool. The ageing population also has impact on demand: for example, demand for sheltered accommodation and medicines have increased whereas demand for toys is falling.

Technological factors: New technologies create new products and new processes. MP3 players, computer games, online gambling and high definition TVs are all new markets created by technological advances. Online shopping, bar coding and computer aided design are all improvements to the way we do business as a result of better technology. Technology can reduce costs, improve quality and lead to innovation. These developments can benefit consumers as well as the organizations providing the products. Environmental factors: Environmental factors include the weather and climate change.

Changes in temperature can impact on many industries including farming, tourism and insurance. With major climate changes occurring due to global warming and with greater environmental awareness this external factor is becoming a significant issue for firms to consider. The growing desire to protect the environment is having an impact on many industries such as the travel and transportation industries (for example, more taxes being placed on air travel and the success of hybrid cars) and the general move towards more environmentally friendly products and processes is affecting demand patterns and creating business opportunities.

Legal factors: These are related to the legal environment in which firms operate. In recent years in the UK there have been many significant legal changes that have affected firms’ behavior. The introduction of age discrimination and disability discrimination legislation, an increase in the minimum wage and greater requirements for firms to recycle are examples of relatively recent laws that affect an organization’s actions. Legal changes can affect a firm’s costs (e. g. if new systems and procedures have to be developed) and demand (e. g. if the law affects the likelihood of customers buying the good or using the service).

Different categories of law include: * consumer laws: these are designed to protect customers against unfair practices such as misleading descriptions of the product * competition laws: these are aimed at protecting small firms against bullying by larger firms and ensuring customers are not exploited by firms with monopoly power * Employment laws: these cover areas such as redundancy, dismissal, working hours and minimum wages. They aim to protect employees against the abuse of power by managers * Health and safety legislation: these laws are aimed at ensuring the workplace is as safe as is reasonably practical.

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