Business Case Studies by Topic - External environment

Below is a list of case studies taken from the External environment section of Business Case Studies. Choose your sub topic from the list of arrowed links below the External environment heading.

External environment case studies

    • Business and the environment

      • Travis Perkins Logo

        How an Environmental Management System (EMS) helps create a sustainable business

        Edition 8: This case study shows how Travis Perkins has built an EMS based on the International Standard ISO 14001 in order to reduce costs and make a major contribution to ‘sustainability’. Therefore, it intends to minimise its impact on the environment.

      • ARM Logo

        Fuelling the digital revolution

        Edition 7: This case study focuses upon how ARM has developed a global influence despite being a relatively small player in a fast-moving industry. It has achieved this through its technology, its unique business model and its investment in R&D.

      • AGFA Logo

        Responding positively to a changing environment

        Edition 7: This case study looks at how AGFA, a leading player, is taking full advantage of the digital revolution.

      • Camelot Logo

        Competing in a highly regulated environment

        Edition 7: Clearly, the National Lottery is ‘big business’. There remains the thorny question of just how far, and in what aspects of its operation, it needs to be regulated by government. This case study considers that question.

      • INCPEN Logo

        Packaging and sustainable development

        Edition 7: This case study outlines the nature of that challenge and shows how the packaging industry has itself created a body that works to encourage responsible attitudes towards packaging in modern society.

      • Capita/DfES Logo

        The message is in the medium

        Edition 6: This case study looks at Capita, a company working at the forefront of the modernisation of education, helping teachers to make the most of new opportunities.

      • Nestlé Logo

        Doing Better By The Environment

        Edition 6: This case study examines the background to sustainable development, the environment and its protection. It also looks at how Nestlé S.A. the world's leading food company, developed a policy and current business practices that reduce the company's effect on the environment.

      • Patent Office Logo

        Encouraging innovation through intellectual property rights

        Edition 6: This case study demonstrates how protecting intellectual property through the services of the Patent Office can benefit businesses and inventors.

      • Gardiner & Theobald Logo

        Constructing the future

        Edition 5: This study focuses on one issue of sustainable development - the property life cycle.

      • Murco Logo

        Focus on convenience trading

        Edition 5: This case study examines how organisations with strong traditional retail presence, such as Murco and SPAR, benefit when united.

      • Transco Logo

        The changing environment within the gas industry

        Edition 5: This case study focuses on changes to the gas industry in recent years.

      • Barclays Stockbrokers Logo

        The stockbroking revolution

        Edition 4: This case study focuses on key aspects of the ‘stockbroking revolution’ and shows how Barclays Stockbrokers has embraced modern technology in order to give customers maximum control of their own stocks and shares trading.

      • Department for Education and Employment Logo

        Making the labour market work better

        Edition 4: This case study examines the importance of creating an effective labour market in order to reduce unemployment.

      • Enron Logo

        The value of generating change

        Edition 4: This case study focuses on Enron - a dynamic company which is committed to innovation and change in order to provide solutions to the energy needs of consumers in the UK and elsewhere.

      • Golden Wonder Logo

        Responding to a changing market

        Edition 4: This case study focuses on how Golden Wonder has responded to the constantly changing snack and crisp market.

      • Railtrack Logo

        Change since privatisation

        Edition 3: This case study examines the effects of privatisation on the core organisation in the UK railway industry - Railtrack.

      • first direct Logo

        Taking direct banking a step further

        Edition 3: This case study examines how First Direct became the catalyst for change in the banking industry. From the beginning, First Direct has been breaking the mould of traditional banking and maintains a philosophy of providing and anticipating the financial services people require.

      • Overseas Trade Services Logo

        Competing in the global marketplace

        Edition 3: This case study demonstrates how the aim of this integration of services is to meet customer needs more effectively and to improve the competitiveness of local businesses.

      • Water Services Association Logo

        How a regulatory system works in practice

        Edition 3: This case study focuses on regulation in the water services industry in England and Wales and shows how the Office of Water Services (OFWAT), the Department of the Environment, the Environment Agency and the Drinking Water Inspectorate, play a crucial role in regulating the industry in this country.

      • Co-operative Insurance Society Logo

        Maintaining the Co-operative difference

        Edition 2: This case study looks at the ways that organisations in the finance industry are having to adapt their business operations and strategies in the face of changes in the external environment.

      • GEC Alsthom Logo

        New trains and tunnels for the Jubilee Line extension

        Edition 2: This case study shows how efficient project management provides Metro Cammell with the flexibility to respond to project requirements from the offer of tender until the project is completed and is the key to future success.

      • RMC Logo

        Business activities and care for the environment

        Edition 2: This case study looks at RMC's involvement in quarrying and how changes in demand and environmental considerations are a key influence to its operations.

      • first direct Logo

        A revolution in banking

        Edition 2: This case study focuses on First Direct's recognition of a gap in the financial services industry, which was exploited through the development of a unique customer proposition.

      • Coats Viyella Logo

        Balancing a fine line in an environment of change

        Edition 2: This case study focuses on how Coats Viyella Thread Division has achieved success in a dynamic global market environment which has experienced considerable changes in recent time.

    • Business cycle

    • Consumer protection in business

      • DSG international Logo

        Meeting and exceeding consumer protection laws to drive competitive advantage

        Edition 11: This case study helps students understand consumer protection and how companies need to exceed legal requirements in competitive market places.

      • Office of Fair Trading Logo

        Championing competition

        Edition 8: This case study looks at how the OFT helps to make markets work better for consumers through its roles of investigation, enforcement and communication. We can support the work of the OFT by becoming more discriminating and by seeking and demanding excellent products and high standards of service.

    • Corporate responsibility in business

      • Primark Logo

        Beyond corporate social responsibility

        Edition 20: This case study looks at Primark’s involvement in the HERproject (Health Enables Returns) which is raising awareness and delivering healthcare education to female workers in supplier countries.

      • Portakabin Logo
      • Amway Logo

        Corporate Social Responsibility

        Edition 12: This case study describes how the work Amway does with UNICEF supports its Corporate Social Responsibility strategy.

      • Anglo American Logo

        Social and environmental responsibility

        Edition 12: This case study highlights how Anglo American contributes to sustainable development through being socially and environmentally responsible.

      • Amway Logo

        Creating a corporate social responsibility strategy

        Edition 11: This case study helps students understand strategies for meeting stakeholders' needs.

      • Anglo American Logo

        Working for sustainable development in primary industry

        Edition 11: This case study helps students understand sustainability, stakeholders and ethics as well as the links between these topics.

      • Nestlé Logo

        Nutrition, Health & Wellness - New Product Development at Nestlé

        Edition 11: This case study helps students understand how companies research, develop and launch new products.

      • Amway Logo

        Meeting global responsibilities by caring for communities

        Edition 10: As a result of carefully reading the Case Study, Students should be able to: know the meaning of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), give examples of CSR activities, understand the importance to business of being involved with communities on a local and global scale.

      • Coca-Cola Great Britain Logo

        The importance of social responsibility

        Edition 7: This case study focuses on the approach The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) takes to social responsibility. The Company is proud of the fact that in addition to being a world-famous global brand it also takes an active, responsible interest in individuals and communities at a local level wherever it operates.

      • Gardiner & Theobald Logo

        Sustainable development in the construction industry

        Edition 7: The Quantity Surveyor is a key advisor at all stages of the property life-cycle for which there are many factors that influence it. This study will focus on just one, the issue of sustainable development - 'development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations to meet their own future needs'.

      • Procter & Gamble Logo

        Promoting sustainable development

        Edition 7: Sustainability is a broad concept. This case study focuses on both what companies do, as well as how they do them - looking at the impact on the environment and communities in which the organisation operates.

      • Henderson Logo

        Socially responsible investment

        Edition 6: This case study examines the nature and purpose of SRI and the contribution it can make to society. At the same time it demystifies SRI and corrects some common misconceptions.

      • Coca-Cola Great Britain Logo

        Corporate citizenship and the community

        Edition 4: This case study focuses on corporate citizenship - i.e. the obligations which organisations have to their communities. Concern for the environment will be considered as an example of corporate citizenship.

      • Whitbread Logo

        Whitbread in the community

        Edition 2: This case study focuses on one business organisation - Whitbread and shows how, through its commitment to the community, it has been able to develop a high reputation for quality and excellence in all that it does.

    • Economy in business

      • Vodafone Logo

        Using technology to improve economies

        Edition 14: This case study highlights Vodafone's activities in different types of economies and the impactof technology on both developed and developing markets

      • Department of Trade and Industry Logo

        The knowledge-driven economy

        Edition 5: This case study illustrates how the development of a knowledge-driven economy is helping the UK to close the performance gap on its competitors.

      • HM Treasury Logo

        Steering the economy

        Edition 5: This case study focuses on the key role of HM Treasury in implementing Government economic policies.

    • Ethics in business

      • Tata Steel Logo

        Business ethics and sustainability in the steel industry

        Edition 16: This case study looks at how Tata Steel is committed to environmentally-sound practices and tackling the challenges of sustainability.

      • Primark Logo

        Providing consumers with ethically sourced garments

        Edition 15: This case study shows how Primark sources the clothes it sells in its shops in an ethical and fair way, often at added cost to itself.

      • Anglo American Logo

        Business ethics and corporate social responsibility

        Edition 13: This case study shows the challenges Anglo American faces in its industry and how it seeks to make ethical choices in its business practice.

      • Nestlé Logo

        Business principles in action - nutritional labelling

        Edition 12: This case study shows how market research has helped Nestlé understand what consumers wanted to know about Nestlé products so they can make informed choices. This has enabled Nestle to exercise corporate responsibility and demonstrate its business principles.

      • Vodafone Logo

        Developing and implementing a strategic approach to ethics

        Edition 10: As a result of carefully reading the Case Study, students should be able to: explain the importance of ethics, understand how a strategic approach to ethics is more likely to be effective, understand how ethics can shape responses to change.

      • ACCA Logo

        The contribution of accountants to sound, ethical business practice

        Edition 9: As a result of carefully reading the Case Study, students should be able to: understand the nature and purpose of accounting, appreciate the role of professional accountants in managing information and using knowledge for decision-taking purposes , understand the contribution made by accounting standards and a code of ethics towards providing a true and fair view of business performance.

      • Cadbury Schweppes Logo

        Ethical business practices

        Edition 9: As a result of carefully reading the Case Study, students should be able to: understand what is meant by ethical behaviour within business, explain the possible broad-ranging benefits of ethical behaviour, describe the ways in which Cadbury Schweppes behaves ethically towards its stakeholders.

      • C&A Logo

        Implementing Codes of Conduct

        Edition 4: This case study examines how C&A has created Codes of Conduct, not only for dealing with suppliers but also for the conduct of its own executives. These Codes of Conduct have been clearly researched to achieve a clear focus on specific ethical standards.

      • Family Assurance Friendly Society Logo

        The launch of a new Trust

        Edition 3: This case study examines the recent launch of the Children’s Ethical Trust which provides the opportunity for savings for young people to be put into ethical investments.

    • External influences in business

      • Logica Logo

        Using skills to respond to the external environment

        Edition 17: This case study illustrates how Logica monitors its external environment using PEST analysis to adapt its own business and generate innovative and unique solutions for its clients.

      • Jessops Logo

        Responding to changes in the market environment

        Edition 16: This case study reviews the external factors that have had an impact on Jessops' operations and strategy.

      • Intellectual Property Office Logo

        Intellectual property and the external environment

        Edition 15: The role of the IPO is to help manage intellectual property rightsto encourage innovation and creativity. Like all businesss, it needs to take account of and respond to influences in the external environment.

      • UNISON Logo

        Use of PEST analysis at UNISON

        Edition 14: This case study focuses on the issues faced by migrant workers in the UK.

      • Highways Agency Logo

        Highways Agency - PEST analysis

        Edition 14: This case study looks at the political, economic, social and technological factors that impact on the Highways Agency.

      • First Group Logo

        Managing external influences

        Edition 13: This case study looks at how PESTEL analysis helps a business to identify which factors in its business environment may be threats or opportunities and to plan for them.

      • Legal Services Commission Logo

        Using PEST analysis to identify external influences

        Edition 13: This case study focuses on the work of the LSC and illustrates what factors affect its performance and how it responds to these factors.

      • Syngenta Logo

        Feeding and fuelling the world through technology

        Edition 13: This case study looks at how Syngenta, one of the world's leading plant science businesses, is meeting the dual challenge of increasing crop yield and producing alternative fuels.

      • Network Rail Logo

        Using PESTEL to design effective strategies

        Edition 12: This case study describes how PESTEL analysis helps Network Rail to respond to changes in its business environment.

      • McCain Foods Logo

        How McCain responds to changes in the external environment

        Edition 12: This case study highlights how use of a SLEPT analysis helps a company respond to changes in its external environment and remain competitive.

      • Experian Logo

        Strategic planning - responding to external influences

        Edition 11: This case study helps students understand how effective planning is developed by understanding changes in the external environment.

      • Castrol Logo

        Responding to a changing marketing environment

        Edition 10: As a result of Carefully reading the Case Study, students should be able to: know that Castrol’s heritage is based on a combination of technical excellence in the development and production of oils and a focus on meeting the needs of customers, understand key elements of the dynamic marketing environment in which Castrol operates, and that Castrol has responded to this environment by providing technically superior products, know that Castrol’s oils and lubricants are designed to meet the need of a variety of market segments.

      • Lloyd's of London Logo

        How Lloyd's responds to changes in the business environment

        Edition 10: As a reult of carefully reading the Case Study, students should be able to: understand that the business environment is uncertain and volatile, know that businesses cannot avoid taking risks, value the importance of businesses and households obtaining insurance cover against risk.

      • Corus Logo

        Competitive advantage through sustainable product development in construction

        Edition 9: As a result of carefully reading the Case Study, students should be able to: understand the nature of competitive markets, appreciate how the external environment should provide the basis for planning strategy, appreciate how sustainability creates opportunities for businesses.

      • Land Securities Group Logo

        Regeneration: meeting needs in a changing environment

        Edition 9: As a result of carefully reading the Case Study, students should be able to: identify different activities undertaken by commercial property companies such as Land Securities, understand the meaning and benefits of urban regeneration, appreciate the importance of external influences on a firm’s activities.

      • United Airlines Logo

        Responding to a changing external business environment

        Edition 9: As a result of carefully reading the Case Study, students should be able to: appreciate the complexity of a typical organisation’s business environment, understand the importance of using marketing activities to match the competitive position of an organisation with the environment it serves, understand the various elements of a SLEPT analysis.

      • First Group Logo

        Introducing an established brand - bringing Yellow Bus to Britain

        Edition 8: This case study focuses on the Yellow Bus concept and how First is introducing them to the UK. Launching the service in the UK has been made easier by the existing brand recognition and by the strong positive image nurtured through years of exposure in American films and TV series.

      • Rolls-Royce Logo

        Competing within a changing world

        Edition 6: This case study provides an analysis of the competitive environment affecting Rolls-Royce using Porter's Five Forces model.

      • Bryant Homes Logo

        Tackling the shortage of building land

        Edition 3: This case study focuses on the issues of one organisation’s adaptation to its environment.

    • Globalisation in business

    • Government influence in business

      • HMRC Logo

        How HMRC collects tax revenue to support Government policy

        Edition 12: This case study describes the role of HMRC in managing taxation an dhow this supports Government financial policies.

      • HMRC Logo

        Integration in the public sector: HM Revenue and Customs

        Edition 11: This case study helps students understand how integration in the public sector benefits stakeholders, mirroring private sector mergers and acquisitions.

      • HM Customs & Excise Logo

        Matching taxation principles with environmental policies

        Edition 8: This case study focuses on the use of environmental taxes, and the important role played by HM Customs & Excise in administering these taxes in support of the UK government’s hopes and plans for environmental improvement.

      • HM Customs & Excise Logo

        Creating a supportive business environment for SMEs

        Edition 7: This case study illustrates how HM Customs & Excise, one of the oldest UK government departments, works supportively with small businesses by helping them to understand various laws and account for Value Added Tax (VAT) correctly and efficiently.

      • Department for Education and Employment Logo

        Welfare to work

        Edition 6: This case study outlines the DfEE’s action programme for employment.

      • Foreign & Commonwealth Office Logo

        Working for free trade

        Edition 6: This case study focuses on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's (FCO) involvement in world trade policy.

      • Northern Electric + Gas Logo

        De-regulation

        Edition 6: This case study explores the advantages and disadvantages of de-regulation in the energy sector.

      • Office of Fair Trading Logo

        The importance of competition policy

        Edition 2: This case study demonstrates how competition policy seeks to encourage and improve the competitive process, and to ensure consumers feel the benefits of that process. These aims are achieved in practice through competition law.

      • Water Services Association Logo

        Regulating a utility

        Edition 2: This case study looks at how regulation involves the development of rules or conditions which govern the behaviour of an organisation, by setting standards which are clearly defined, understood and designed to be achieved.

      • Yorkshire Water Logo

        Water as a precious asset

        Edition 2: This case study looks at the privatisation of the water industry.

      • Tarmac Logo

        Meeting the challenge

        Edition 2: This case study focuses upon how UK-based Tarmac has taken advantage of the opportunities created through the government’s Private Finance Initiative.

    • International business

      • British Trade International Logo

        Supporting international trade

        Edition 5: This case study looks at British Trade International and its aim to help UK firms compete successfully overseas.

      • HSBC Logo

        Partners in international trade

        Edition 5: This case study focuses on the HSBC Group, which develops partnerships with organisations either trading or wishing to trade overseas.

What does ‘External environment’ cover?

Case studies in this area look at the external influences that businesses must respond to in order to maintain competitive edge.

Topics covered include:

  • Explaining the different phases of the business cycle (downturn, bust, recovery, boom) and how a company needs to respond to each in order to remain viable
  • Showing how a business needs to anticipate external factors - Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, Legal (PEST/SLEPT/PESTEL analysis) and the manage the effects on the business
  • Considering the factors regarding competition (consumer knowledge, control of prices, number of rival products, ease of access to the market
  • Looking at how a business demonstrates its business ethics, Corporate Responsibility and values regarding the wider community and society
  • Exploring the factors affecting globalisation, e.g. technological change, deregulation of business, changing consumer demand, emerging markets, and the effects these have on a business

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