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Macro Environment Analysis

An organization’s macro-environment refers to all major, uncontrollable, external forces of a company that directly or indirectly influence decision-making. These are often economic, demographic, technological, political, natural, cultural, social or legal forces.

An organization’s macro-environment refers to all major, uncontrollable, external forces of a company that directly or indirectly influence decision-making. These are often economic, demographic, technological, political, natural, cultural, social or legal forces.

Macro environment analysis is part of strategic management in many organizations and involves identifying and analyzing potential opportunities and dangers that arise in the macro-environment. Its main purpose is to provide management with accurate information to help them make operational decisions.

This analysis and related work is typically performed by business analysts. They make recommendations based on their research into environmental forces. In practice, these are mainly related to politics, economics, demography and technology.

Why is a macro environment analysis important?

The purpose of performing and evaluating a macro environment analysis is to answer the following two important questions:

  1. Which environmental factors will influence the growth of our sector as a whole in the future?
  2. What is the cumulative impact of all developments in our sector? Will our industry grow or shrink in the coming years?

The macro environment analysis attempts to predict future trends based on current knowledge. This makes it extremely difficult: situations change and forecasts will therefore often deviate.

Tools and methods for macro environment analysis

The most popular and used tool for performing macro environment analysis is the PEST Analysis, or PESTEL Analysis. PESTEL is an acronym for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental.

Political Macro Analysis

A current example of political macro-analysis is the shift towards greener government policies in the developed world.

With upcoming elections, we look at a variation in the policies of different parties and the impact of these positions on, for example, the industry. These factors say a lot about the way in which companies will be bound by new laws and regulations in the future when it comes to sustainability.

Economic Macro Environment Analysis

In an economic sense, the macro environment refers to the set of conditions that exist in the economy as a whole, rather than at the micro level, such as a sector or region.

An analysis on the economic macro environment often includes identifying trends in gross domestic product (GDP), employment, spending, monetary & fiscal policy, inflation, and more. The economic macro environment is closely linked to the business cycle.

Social Macro Analysis

The social macro-analysis mainly focuses on identifying trends in the beliefs, behaviours, values and norms and other characteristics of societies.

Examples of matters that are analyzed in the social macro-analysis are the number of part-time workers, the composition of family structures, trends in population growth and people’s attitude towards sustainability.

Technological Macro Analysis

The purpose of a technology macro analysis is to identify trends in the development and application of technology. An example of this is the shift from online purchases versus traditional purchases in brick-and-mortar marketplaces and stores.

Legal Macro Analysis

Legal macro-analysis is closely linked to politics. This is because politicians are the people who make laws. Legal macro analyses further include identifying trends in court decisions. Most organizations need to be constantly aware of changes in, for example, employment law.

Environmental (environment & climate) macro-analysis

Analyses are also performed on the environment. The results of these analyses say something about the extent to which the climate will affect the industry.

Another example of an effective method to help perform a macro-environment analysis is the DESTEP Analysis.

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Examples macro environment analysis

A well-known example when it comes to demographic macro-analysis is the example of aging in Western cultures. This demographic trend is the result of prosperity and the trend that people are living longer on average.

An aging population means that there are more and more retirees. Retirees are the biggest buyers of motorhomes in some countries. This trend should therefore lead to an increase in the total number of motorhomes sold. The reality is that this may not be the case in some years, for example due to the impact of corona measures.

Example macro-environment analysis Apple & Amazon

Naturally, multiple business analysts from companies such as Amazon and Apple closely monitor the macro environment, scanning for trends. A PESTEL Analysis provides insight into the operational challenges facing large companies. Some examples are listed below per element of the PESTEL framework.

Political factors

Political factors play an important role in conducting a macro analysis. Take the following into account:

  • Political stability
  • Risk of military invasions
  • Corruption
  • Protection of employees and employers
  • Pricing Regulations
  • Working conditions
  • Intellectual Property Protection

Economic factors

Economic macro factors such as inflation, interest rates, exchange rates and the state of the business cycle are very important for determining the strategy. In any case, Apple, Amazon and other giants take into account at least the following things:

  • Efficiency of financial markets
  • Government interventions
  • Staff skill level
  • Educational attainment
  • Business cycle
  • Spendable income
  • Unemployment rate
  • Interest rates
  • Inflation

Social factors

The culture within a society also influences the corporate culture in that society. When working together between different cultures, it is therefore important that these differences are known and respected.

Shared beliefs and attitudes of people play a big role at Apple when it comes to how marketers shape a marketing message. Other social factors that play a big role for Apple are:

  • Demographics
  • Class structure
  • Distribution of wealth
  • Culture
  • Attitudes towards health, environmental awareness, hobbies, etc.
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit

Environmental factors

Different regions and markets have different standards and agreements when it comes to environmental standards that can affect a company’s profitability. Before a company like Apple or Amazon enters a new market, it must carefully evaluate these standards. Some of the factors to consider are:

  • Weather forecasts
  • Climate change
  • Recycling
  • Waste management
  • Endangered flora and fauna
  • Air Pollution/Water Pollution Regulations
  • Renewable energy

Legal Macro Analysis

In some countries, the legal framework is not robust enough to protect an organization’s intellectual property rights.

A company should therefore carefully evaluate whether entering such markets could lead to a loss of competitive advantage. Some factors to take into account are:

  • Property law
  • Antitrust Laws
  • Health Laws
  • Safety Laws
  • Data protection
  • Intellectual property law
  • Copyright

PESTEL Analysis

September 15th, 2022

PESTEL Analysis: this article explains the PESTEL Analysis in a practical way. After reading you will understand the basics of this powerful strategy tool. You will also find a PESTEL Analysis template in this article to get started with the…

DESTEP Analysis

July 4th, 2022

DESTEP Analysis: this article explains practically the DESTEP Analysis. After reading you will understand the basics and principles of this powerful strategy and marketing tool. What is the DESTEP Analysis? Organizations depend on their external environment. This environment…

PEST Analysis

April 11th, 2022

PEST Analysis: this article explains the PEST Analysis by Francis J. Aguilar in a practical way. After reading you will understand the basics of this powerful macro environment analysis. What is the PEST Analysis? Definition The PEST Analysis is…

VRIO Analysis

January 31st, 2022

VRIO Analysis: this article explains the VRIO Analysis in a practical way. After reading it, you understand the core of this strategy theory. This article also contains a downloadable and editable VRIO Analysis template. What is a VRIO Analysis? At…
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