General and Task Environment

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MGC1020 Assignment #1

Which is more difficult to gauge accurately: the general environment or the task environment? Why is it important for a manager to make a clear assessment of these environments?

The general environment and task environment are the two components that make up an organisations external environment. The external environment of an organisation includes influential elements that both directly and indirectly shape and impact its future, and as of late, has developed into an area of increasing importance to managers worldwide. However, how do managers accurately assess these environments? More importantly, why is the assessment of an organisations external environment so crucial? It is through research and information from various studies conducted that these questions will be answered, and the components of the external environment analysed.

The external environment, as agreed upon by Aharoni, Maimon & Segev (1978) and Daft & Samson (2009), can be defined as all elements that exist outside an organisation that may or may not affect aspects of the organisation. This includes all technological, political, economic and social conditions that influence the future of the organisation. As stated in Daft & Samson (2009), an organisations external environment can be separated into two concepts, the general and task environments. The general environment is the 'outer layer of the environment – the dimensions that influence the organisation over time but often are not involved in day-to-day transactions' (Daft & Samson, p.92). According to Daft & Samson, the general environment includes sociocultural, technological, economic, legal-political and international elements. The general environment can therefore be seen as having a water ripple effect on an organisation, with each element having an eventual, indirect but equally influential effect. The task environment, as described in Daft & Samson (2009) is more relevant to an organisation in...
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