Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Become an OU student

Download this course

Share this free course

Understanding your sector
Understanding your sector

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Week 3: What else do you need to know about your sector?


Last week you explored the external environment to your organisation. The major national and global influences that might affect it and its prospects were separated into four broad factors – political, economic, social and technological. On the basis of this, you conducted a short PEST analysis of these factors in relation to your own organisation and then investigated the resources that you considered your organisation possesses to meet their challenges. You should now have a clear sense of the range of external influences that might have an impact on your organisation.

This week you will examine your organisation’s more immediate business context in order to reveal a more detailed picture of the sector and its important elements. Understanding this will help you to appreciate more fully the pressures that affect your organisation and why it operates in the way it does, including its strengths and weaknesses. This will help you to see your own position more clearly and to think more sensibly about your future options.

Lynne Johnson introduces Week 3 in the video below.

Download this video clip.Video player: boc_uys_1_video_week3_intro.mp4
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript|Hide transcript
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

As the week progresses, use your notebook or the Toolkit [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   to jot down your thoughts and responses to the activities.

By the end of this week, you will be able to:

  • identify how the immediate business context – consisting of customers, competitors and suppliers – affects how organisations operate
  • outline what is meant by ‘customer satisfaction’ and how this might be assessed
  • outline the strategic importance to an organisation of understanding its competitors
  • describe what is meant by a USP (unique selling point) and apply this concept to your own organisation
  • identify why organisations need to engage with their supply chain and whom this might involve.