The primary thrust of this course has been to emphasise the need for all organisations to acknowledge the influence of their environments and, in turn, the impact of organisations on their context. We have argued that the commercial environment is characterised primarily by the growing trend toward globalisation. To a much greater extent than ever before we live in a global village where goods and services will be produced wherever they can be provided at the least cost. Consumers in the West in particular are getting used to the idea of products being available for almost unbelievably low prices.
Business responses to the ‘green’ environment seem to be at something of a ‘tipping point’, with successive estimates of the severity of the problem seeming to indicate ‘sooner’ and ‘worse’. There are plenty of examples of enlightened behaviour but the degree of adjustment being achieved seems more akin to reducing the rate of acceleration than actually hitting the brakes.
The ethical environment does seem to be developing, but the transition model that seems to apply to emerging economies would suggest that the export of western ‘norms’ will lag behind the growing industrialisation for the foreseeable future.
None of the above is meant to sound in any way fatalistic. All three environments are changing, and human activity is the agent of change in every case. Organisations make choices, people make choices. Humanity has grown to the point where it can make major changes to its environment, it now needs to decide what those changes should be.