The various elements of non-economic environment are as follow:
(a) Social Environment:-
The social environment of business includes social factors like customs,traditions, values,beliefs, poverty, literacy, life expectancy rate etc. The social structure and the values that a society cherishes have a considerable influence on the functioning of business firms. For example, during festive seasons there is an increase in the demand for new clothes, sweets,fruits, flower, etc. Due to increase in literacy rate the consumers are becoming more conscious of the quality of the products. Due to change in family composition, more nuclear families with single child concepts have come up. This increases the demand for the different types of household goods. It may be noted that the consumption patterns, the dressing
and living styles of people belonging to different social structures and culture vary significantly.
(b) Political Environment:-
This includes the political system, the government policies and attitude towards the business community and the unionism. All these aspects have a bearing on the strategies adopted by the business firms. The stability of the government also influences business and related activities to a great extent. It sends a signal of strength, confidence to various interest groups and investors. Further, ideology of the political party also influences the business organization and its operations. You may be aware that Coca-Cola, a cold drink widely used even now, had to wind up operations in India in late seventies. Again the trade union activities also influence the operation of business enterprises. Most of the labour unions in
India are affiliated to various political parties. Strikes, lockouts and labour disputes etc. also adversely affect the business operations. However, with the competitive business environment, trade unions are now showing great maturity and started contributing positively to the success of the business organization and its operations through workers participation in management.
(c) Legal Environment:-
This refers to set of laws, regulations, which influence the business organizations and their operations. Every business organization has to obey, and work within the framework of the law. The important legislations that concern the business enterprises include:
(i) Companies Act, 1956
(ii) Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999
(iii) The Factories Act, 1948
(iv) Industrial Disputes Act, 1972
(v) Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972
(vi) Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951
(vii) Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954
(viii) Essential Commodities Act, 2002
(ix) The Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1956
(x) Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969
(xi) Trade Marks Act, 1999
(xii) Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986
(xiii) Consumer Protection Act, 1986
(xiv) Environment Protection Act
(xv) Competition Act, 2002
Besides, the above legislations, the following are also form part of the legal environment of business.
(i) Provisions of the Constitution: The provisions of the Articles of the Indian
Constitution, particularly directive principles, rights and duties of citizens, legislative powers of the central and state government also influence the operation of business enterprises.
(ii) Judicial Decisions: The judiciary has to ensure that the legislature and the government function in the interest of the public and act within the boundaries of the constitution.The various judgments given by the court in different matters relating to trade and industry also influence the business activities.
(d) Technological Environment:-
Technological environment include the methods, techniques and approaches adopted for
production of goods and services and its distribution. The varying technological environments of different countries affect the designing of products. For example, in USA and many other countries electrical appliances are designed for 110 volts. But when these are made for India, they have to be of 220 volts. In the modern competitive age, the pace of technological changes is very fast. Hence, in order to survive and grow in the market, a business has to adopt the technological changes from time to time. It may be noted that scientific research for improvement and innovation in products and services is a regular activity in most of the big industrial organisations. Now a days infact, no firm can afford to persist with the outdated technologies.
(e) Demographic Environment:-
This refers to the size, density, distribution and growth rate of population. All these factors have a direct bearing on the demand for various goods and services. For example a country where population rate is high and children constitute a large section of population, then there is more demand for baby products. Similarly the demand of the people of cities and towns are different than the people of rural areas. The high rise of population indicates the easy availability of labour. These encourage the business enterprises to use labour intensive techniques of production. Moreover, availability of skill labour in certain areas motivates the firms to set up their units in such area. For example, the business units from
America, Canada, Australia, Germany, UK, are coming to India due to easy availability of skilled manpower. Thus, a firm that keeps a watch on the changes on the demographic front and reads them accurately will find opportunities knocking at its doorsteps.
(f) Natural Environment:-
The natural environment includes geographical and ecological factors that influence the business operations. These factors include the availability of natural resources, weather and climatic condition, location aspect, topographical factors, etc. Business is greatly influenced by the nature of natural environment. For example, sugar factories are set up only at those places where sugarcane can be grown. It is always considered better to establish manufacturing unit near the sources of input. Further, government’s policies to maintain ecological balance, conservation of natural resources etc. put additional responsibility on the business sector.