Introduction: what is the social and cultural environment? What has it got to do with business? Society, culture and business Demographic trends—an ageing population Immigration and multiculturalism Class structure Inequality A woman’s place? Looking ahead Summary Case study: decline of the working class? 123 150 152 152 153 153 153
Review and discussion questions
125 128 132 135 139 145 149 149
Assignments Further reading Online resources References
When you have completed this chapter you will be able to:
Explain the nature of the social and cultural environments, and their importance for business Analyse demographic trends and the implications of an ageing population for business Explain what is meant by the term multiculturalism and examine the impact of immigration on business and society Analyse class differences and patterns of inequality in Britain, and relate these issues to business responsibility Examine the causes and implications of the changing role of women in British society and business
Diversity of business Certain industries have a profound impact in shaping the wider culture—the culture industries.
Internal/external Culture is part of the internal environment of business—organization culture. Business reﬂects the wider culture, e.g. racism and sexism. Complexity of the environment This chapter demonstrates the complexity of the business environment by showing that it is not just economic but has important social and cultural dimensions. It also shows how the social and cultural are interrelated with other dimensions of the environment.
Variety of spatial levels This chapter shows how social and cultural life cannot be understood only at a national level. For example, nations are multicultural and even multinational. Also changes in social and cultural life have to be seen in terms of the growing interconnectedness of societies as a result of globalization.
Dynamic environment This chapter identiﬁes key social trends, showing how many aspects of social and cultural life are different today than in the past.
Interaction between business and the environment Business not only has to respond to changes in social and economic life but also has a powerful inﬂuence in shaping these changes. E.g. through product innovation, the growth of ‘cultural industries’, and advertising.
The social and cultural environment
Stakeholders Analysing the social environment also involves identifying a range of stakeholder groups with differing interests in relation to business, e.g. sections of the population deﬁned by social class, gender, ethnicity, age. Values Modern societies are pluralistic or ‘cosmopolitan’, characterized by diversity of lifestyles and values.
Introduction: what is the social and cultural environment?
In broad terms, the social-cultural environment includes everything that is not included in the economy or the political system. Economic life is organized primarily through a market in which individuals relate to one another as buyers and sellers and the purpose is production. In political life individuals relate to one another as citizens and the basic purpose is making collective decisions and rules. The economic and political systems together create the conditions—goods, services and rules—which we all need in order to live the kinds of lives that we choose. The socialcultural environment, then, consists of the whole range of behaviours and relationships in which individuals engage in their personal and private lives, including: l l l
the characteristics of the population (e.g. age, sex, race or ethnicity, class) values and attitudes lifestyles and relationships. Spatial levels