1.6.1 Abstract nouns turn actions into things
When the student did the STEP analysis, she focused on the events and actions that affected US airlines. But when she wrote these into a STEP category in the table she usually wrote them as noun groups rather than verb groups. As you know, nouns are words for things. By using a noun for an event or an action instead of a verb, you make it more like a thing. In analysis writing this is useful; the following activities show how this can be done.
Purpose: to see how actions are turned into things.
Task: the sentences below are from the ‘US Airlines’ case. The verbs in each sentence are highlighted. After each sentence there is the noun group which the student wrote as a factor in the STEP table. For each factor, decide whether the student (i) found the noun group in the sentence, (ii) adapted it from words in the sentence, or (iii) created it herself.
Since the government deregulated the industry in 1978, it has faced two serious recessions in the early 1980s and 1990s.
government deregulation – adapted
the increasingly likely prospect of a war with Iraq could cause oil prices to spike, further undermining the shaky health of many US airlines and leading to the possibility that other carriers could go bust.
potential rise in oil prices – adapted
Other airlines have begun to charge an additional fee of up to $25 if passengers insist on using paper tickets instead of electronic ones.
use of e-tickets – adapted
At the same time, the internet has made it much easier for both business and leisure travellers to compare prices and tinker with itineraries in order to save money.
use of internet to obtain best fares – created
... the combination of the fear created by September 2001 terrorist attacks ... makes this downturn different, say analysts.
threat of terrorism – created
When actions are turned into things they are easier to categorise in the STEP analysis table.
Purpose: to practise turning actions into things.
Task: Extract 10 contains extracts from four different case studies. Reduce each extract to a noun group which could be an environmental factor in a STEP analysis. Identify whether it is a social (S), technological (T), economic (E) or political (P) factor.
Nike trainers case study
- Different spending power of consumers in different countries (E)
- Fashion trends (S)
- Popular culture (S)
- Beneficial trade and tariff agreements (P)
- Range of market sectors (S/E)
- Unauthorised supermarket imports (E)
- Age (S)
- e-commerce (T)
Home Insulation case study
- Reduction of grant aid (E)
Vodafone case study
- American lead in internet exploitation (E/T)
- Threat from US potential to move to third generation technology (T)
- Convergence of communication devices (T)
- High costs of government licences (P)
- High cost of network spending and handset subsidies (E)
Mannesmann case study
- Risk of takeover (E)
- Tony Blair pressure on German company (P)
- Suspicion of stock markets (S)