The relationship between the social environment and the strategy of an organisation

Topics: Corporate social responsibility, Environment, Natural environment Pages: 5 (1929 words) Published: December 1, 2013
The relationship between the social environment and the strategy of an organization Introduction
Social environment factors greatly affect company’s strategies and shape the way the company treats customers. There are four factors influencing on consumer behavior – social, cultural, personal and psychological factors (MBA Notes World 2013). In this writing, the author has selected Marks & Spencer (M&S), one of the UK’s leading retailers as a result of its reputation for product variety and quality from apparels and home products to food and financial services. M&S has grown from a single market shop to become a big international multi-channel retailer in diverse locations across the world. The company provides well-selected materials for its various products to guarantee that it can serve all customers’ needs. In a dynamic world, retail organisations are required to create ability to meet several customer expectations. As customers are more knowledgeable, sophisticated and more demanding, the retail businesses must monitor and know how to approach and provide their products and services to serve the customer needs. M&S seems to be a brand which has become a part of the British ways of life because of its wide ranges of products with over 120 years of successful brand. The relationship between social environment impacts and the M&S’ strategies will be focused in terms of corporate environmental responsibility.

Environmental Impact
During the past few decades, there is unintended ecological deterioration, which includes global warning, ozone depletion and industrial accidents (1995, cited in Paulraj 2008). Accordingly, in the last two decades the public have placed an importance on environmental issue substantially. Klassen and Whybark (1999, cited in Paulraj 2008) point out that consumers obviously have become more aware of environmental sides, and they are demanding the business communities to take appropriate action in order to preserve and sustain the natural environment. This consumer pressure had led to strict environmental regulations that have impacts on the way that many firms behave and response to environmental responsibility. Papafloratos (2009) explains that in the last two decades, there was considerable growth on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) issues. Many companies in various sectors paid attention to this subject and took this agenda into the meeting. It can be implied that modern firms understood the social force and brought this topic into a holistic sense in order to be a good corporation in stakeholders’ views. The relationship between social factors and CSR strategies can be explained by the ‘institutional isomorphism’ theory (DiMaggio and Powell 1983, cited in Paulraj 2008). Apart from the formal regulations, norms and values forces, the green initiatives are driven by ‘moral legitimacy’ (Suchman 1995, cited in Paulraj 2008). Due to these forces, organisations are required to set and apply corporate environmental or CSR strategies in order to adapt themselves and survive the businesses.

Plan A – Doing the Right Thing.
M&S which has a reputation as a socially concerned organisation believes that CSR is vital and leads the company to sustainable growth. Since CSR has become the social interest for the firm to engage, M&S has taken proactive actions to develop and implement green strategies which affect consumer behavior as well. M&S has been involved in various CSR activities focusing on people, products, and communities. This strategy enables M&S to differentiate from other retailers. The company has launched an effective ethical campaign called ‘Plan A’ in 2007. “Plan A is all about doing the right thing” with the slogan “because there is no Plan B” (Your M&S 2013). It aims at becoming the world’s most sustainable major retailer by 2015 working with not only customers but also suppliers to help improve climate change, waste, natural resources, healthier and good-wellbeing lifestyles...

References: Bondy, K., Moon, J. and Matten, D., 2012. An institution of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in multi-national corporations (MNCs): form and implications. Journal of Business Ethics, 111(2) pp 281-299.
Cone Communications, 2013. Cone releases the 2013 cone communications/echo global CSR study [online]. Available from: [Accessed 1 November 2013].
MarketLine, 2012. Marks & Spencer: Sustainability as an effective business strategy [online]. Available from: [Accessed 5 November 2013].
MBA Notes World, 2013. Factors influencing consumer behaviour [online]. Available from: [Accessed 5 November 2013].
Papafloratos, T., 2009. Do Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives Influence the Consumers?. University of Political and Social Sciences, Athens, Greece.
Paulraj, A., 2008. Environmental Motivations: a Classification Scheme and its Impact on Environmental Strategies and Practices. Business Strategy and the Environment, pp 453-468.
Research Methodology, 2013. Marks & Spencer (M&S) [online]. Available from: [Accessed 10 November 2013].
The Guardian, 2013. M&S hopes to cut plastic bag use with 5p levy [online]. Available from: [Accessed 7 November 2013].
Your M&S, 2013. About Plan A [online]. Available from: [Accessed 20 October 2013].
Your M&S, 2013. Cutting carbon: how M&S became carbon neutral in its UK and Irish operations [online]. Available from: [Accessed 20 October 2013].
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