Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

BUSI 4940: Business Policy

This guide provides information and links to resources to help you complete assignments for the BUSI 4940: Business Policy capstone course.

What is an organization's external environment?

Simply put, an organization's external environment is made up of all the outside forces that can potentially impact the way it operates. You can think of this as all the conditions and influences that could help or hurt an organization's growth and development. Within the field of business, an organization's environment includes both general and specific environmental forces.

Source:  Jones, G. (2013). Organizational Theory, Design, and Change. Pearson Education, Inc.

"General" vs. "specific" external environments

The "general" external environment of an organization are those forces that influence the "specific" environment (see image above). These forces are important to identify because they impact the ability of all organizations within a particular environment (e.g. industry) to obtain needed resources. Examples of these forces include unemployment rates (economic force), new production techniques (technological force), climate change (environmental force), and values (social force).
The "specific" external environment of an organization are those forces that directly affect an organization's ability to secure needed resources and involve outside stakeholder groups like customers, competitors, and unions. Examples of these forces include changes in customer tastes/preferences (buyer force), the flow of raw materials (supplier force), laws and regulations associated with a particular business (government force).

How do I find this information?

You can find information on the external environment of an organization by looking at industry information. These materials (sometimes called industry reports, profiles or overviews) will discuss the external environment overall and wil include both general and specific environmental forces.
Identify the industry classification codes (e.g. NAICS, SIC, etc.) that correspond with the type of business your organization is in to make it easier when conducting your search. Many databases can be searched using these classification codes.

Where do I look for industry information?

Look for industry information in the following databases:

Note: The database IBISWorld is not accessible at this time -- once access is restored, this notice will be removed.

Additional Links