The relationship between business and the social environment
The social and ethical environment
Businesses need not only react to forcces from within the organisation, but also a host of external factors including the social environment in which they operate. The social environment is influenced by the make-up of society, i.e. the demographics of the population and the behaviour and attitudes of society. When lloking at the behaviour and attitudes of scoeity, we are going to consider it from the angles of environmental concerns and a broader perspective of ethical behaviour.
Impact of changes in the social environment
In order to respond effectively to the social environment, it is necessary to understand and respond to changes in both the human and non-human aspects of it. How we behave, our relationships, our gender, our religion and ethnic group, or education and work, the conditions and communities we live in, and our attitude towards ourselves and others are all part of our social environment.
Demographics refer to the characterisitcs of the population and key factors influencing these characertisitcs. Demographic factors which define the communities in which we live and, therefore, in which business operate are determined by factors such as births, deaths, migrations and relationships. The government, through the census, collates and publishes statistics about the population. Some of the key features of the UK population as of mid-2006 were:
- The resident population was 60,587,000
- 83% lived in Englan, compared with 4.9% in Wales, 8.4% in Scotalnd and 2.9% in Northern Ireland.
- The average age was 39 years, an increase from 34.1 years in 1971.
- 1 in 5 people were under 16.
- 1 in 6 people were over 65.
- Every eyar since 1901 (except 1976), there have been more births than deaths (natural change).