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Introduction to Business

1.8 Trends in the Business Environment and Competition

Introduction to Business1.8 Trends in the Business Environment and Competition
  1. Preface
  2. 1 Understanding Economic Systems and Business
    1. Introduction
    2. 1.1 The Nature of Business
    3. 1.2 Understanding the Business Environment
    4. 1.3 How Business and Economics Work
    5. 1.4 Macroeconomics: The Big Picture
    6. 1.5 Achieving Macroeconomic Goals
    7. 1.6 Microeconomics: Zeroing in on Businesses and Consumers
    8. 1.7 Competing in a Free Market
    9. 1.8 Trends in the Business Environment and Competition
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  3. 2 Making Ethical Decisions and Managing a Socially Responsible Business
    1. Introduction
    2. 2.1 Understanding Business Ethics
    3. 2.2 How Organizations Influence Ethical Conduct
    4. 2.3 Managing a Socially Responsible Business
    5. 2.4 Responsibilities to Stakeholders
    6. 2.5 Trends in Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    9. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    10. Ethics Activity
    11. Working the Net
    12. Critical Thinking Case
    13. Hot Links Address Book
  4. 3 Competing in the Global Marketplace
    1. Introduction
    2. 3.1 Global Trade in the United States
    3. 3.2 Why Nations Trade
    4. 3.3 Barriers to Trade
    5. 3.4 Fostering Global Trade
    6. 3.5 International Economic Communities
    7. 3.6 Participating in the Global Marketplace
    8. 3.7 Threats and Opportunities in the Global Marketplace
    9. 3.8 The Impact of Multinational Corporations
    10. 3.9 Trends in Global Competition
    11. Key Terms
    12. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    13. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    14. Ethics Activity
    15. Working the Net
    16. Critical Thinking Case
    17. Hot Links Address Book
  5. 4 Forms of Business Ownership
    1. Introduction
    2. 4.1 Going It Alone: Sole Proprietorships
    3. 4.2 Partnerships: Sharing the Load
    4. 4.3 Corporations: Limiting Your Liability
    5. 4.4 Specialized Forms of Business Organization
    6. 4.5 Franchising: A Popular Trend
    7. 4.6 Mergers and Acquisitions
    8. 4.7 Trends in Business Ownership
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    11. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    12. Ethics Activity
    13. Working the Net
    14. Critical Thinking Case
    15. Hot Links Address Book
  6. 5 Entrepreneurship: Starting and Managing Your Own Business
    1. Introduction
    2. 5.1 Entrepreneurship Today
    3. 5.2 Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs
    4. 5.3 Small Business: Driving America's Growth
    5. 5.4 Ready, Set, Start Your Own Business
    6. 5.5 Managing a Small Business
    7. 5.6 Small Business, Large Impact
    8. 5.7 The Small Business Administration
    9. 5.8 Trends in Entrepreneurship and Small-Business Ownership
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  7. 6 Management and Leadership in Today's Organizations
    1. Introduction
    2. 6.1 The Role of Management
    3. 6.2 Planning
    4. 6.3 Organizing
    5. 6.4 Leading, Guiding, and Motivating Others
    6. 6.5 Controlling
    7. 6.6 Managerial Roles
    8. 6.7 Managerial Skills
    9. 6.8 Trends in Management and Leadership
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  8. 7 Designing Organizational Structures
    1. Introduction
    2. 7.1 Building Organizational Structures
    3. 7.2 Contemporary Structures
    4. 7.3 Using Teams to Enhance Motivation and Performance
    5. 7.4 Authority—Establishing Organizational Relationships
    6. 7.5 Degree of Centralization
    7. 7.6 Organizational Design Considerations
    8. 7.7 The Informal Organization
    9. 7.8 Trends in Organizational Structure
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  9. 8 Managing Human Resources and Labor Relations
    1. Introduction
    2. 8.1 Achieving High Performance through Human Resources Management
    3. 8.2 Employee Recruitment
    4. 8.3 Employee Selection
    5. 8.4 Employee Training and Development
    6. 8.5 Performance Planning and Evaluation
    7. 8.6 Employee Compensation and Benefits
    8. 8.7 The Labor Relations Process
    9. 8.8 Managing Grievances and Conflicts
    10. 8.9 Legal Environment of Human Resources and Labor Relations
    11. 8.10 Trends in Human Resource Management and Labor Relations
    12. Key Terms
    13. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    14. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    15. Ethics Activity
    16. Working the Net
    17. Critical Thinking Case
    18. Hot Links Address Book
  10. 9 Motivating Employees
    1. Introduction
    2. 9.1 Early Theories of Motivation
    3. 9.2 The Hawthorne Studies
    4. 9.3 Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
    5. 9.4 McGregor's Theories X and Y
    6. 9.5 Herzberg's Motivator-Hygiene Theory
    7. 9.6 Contemporary Views on Motivation
    8. 9.7 From Motivation Theory to Application
    9. 9.8 Trends in Employee Motivation
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  11. 10 Achieving World-Class Operations Management
    1. Introduction
    2. 10.1 Production and Operations Management—An Overview
    3. 10.2 The Production Process: How Do We Make It?
    4. 10.3 Location, Location, Location: Where Do We Make It?
    5. 10.4 Pulling It Together: Resource Planning
    6. 10.5 Production and Operations Control
    7. 10.6 Looking for a Better Way: Improving Production and Operations
    8. 10.7 Transforming the Factory Floor with Technology
    9. 10.8 Trends in Production and Operations Management
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  12. 11 Creating Products and Pricing Strategies to Meet Customers' Needs
    1. Introduction
    2. 11.1 The Marketing Concept
    3. 11.2 Creating a Marketing Strategy
    4. 11.3 Developing a Marketing Mix
    5. 11.4 Buyer Behavior
    6. 11.5 Market Segmentation
    7. 11.6 What Is a Product?
    8. 11.7 Creating Products That Deliver Value
    9. 11.8 The Product Life Cycle
    10. 11.9 Pricing Strategies and Future Trends
    11. 11.10 Trends in Developing Products and Pricing
    12. Key Terms
    13. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    14. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    15. Ethics Activity
    16. Working the Net
    17. Critical Thinking Case
    18. Hot Links Address Book
  13. 12 Distributing and Promoting Products and Services
    1. Introduction
    2. 12.1 The Nature and Functions of Distribution (Place)
    3. 12.2 Wholesaling
    4. 12.3 The Competitive World of Retailing
    5. 12.4 Using Supply Chain Management to Increase Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction
    6. 12.5 Promotion Strategy
    7. 12.6 The Huge Impact of Advertising
    8. 12.7 The Importance of Personal Selling
    9. 12.8 Sales Promotion
    10. 12.9 Public Relations Helps Build Goodwill
    11. 12.10 Trends in Social Media
    12. 12.11 Trends in E-Commerce
    13. Key Terms
    14. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    15. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    16. Ethics Activity
    17. Working the Net
    18. Critical Thinking Case
    19. Hot Links Address Book
  14. 13 Using Technology to Manage Information
    1. Introduction
    2. 13.1 Transforming Businesses through Information
    3. 13.2 Linking Up: Computer Networks
    4. 13.3 Management Information Systems
    5. 13.4 Technology Management and Planning
    6. 13.5 Protecting Computers and Information
    7. 13.6 Trends in Information Technology
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    10. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    11. Ethics Activity
    12. Working the Net
    13. Critical Thinking Case
    14. Hot Links Address Book
  15. 14 Using Financial Information and Accounting
    1. Introduction
    2. 14.1 Accounting: More than Numbers
    3. 14.2 The Accounting Profession
    4. 14.3 Basic Accounting Procedures
    5. 14.4 The Balance Sheet
    6. 14.5 The Income Statement
    7. 14.6 The Statement of Cash Flows
    8. 14.7 Analyzing Financial Statements
    9. 14.8 Trends in Accounting
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  16. 15 Understanding Money and Financial Institutions
    1. Introduction
    2. 15.1 Show Me the Money
    3. 15.2 The Federal Reserve System
    4. 15.3 U.S. Financial Institutions
    5. 15.4 Insuring Bank Deposits
    6. 15.5 International Banking
    7. 15.6 Trends in Financial Institutions
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    10. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    11. Ethics Activity
    12. Working the Net
    13. Critical Thinking Case
    14. Hot Links Address Book
  17. 16 Understanding Financial Management and Securities Markets
    1. Introduction
    2. 16.1 The Role of Finance and the Financial Manager
    3. 16.2 How Organizations Use Funds
    4. 16.3 Obtaining Short-Term Financing
    5. 16.4 Raising Long-Term Financing
    6. 16.5 Equity Financing
    7. 16.6 Securities Markets
    8. 16.7 Buying and Selling at Securities Exchanges
    9. 16.8 Trends in Financial Management and Securities Markets
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  18. 17 Your Career in Business
    1. Introduction
    2. 17.1 Learn the Basics of Business
    3. 17.2 Developing Interpersonal Skills Is Key to Your Success
    4. 17.3 Make Your Future Happen: Learn to Plan
    5. 17.4 Going to College Is an Opportunity of a Lifetime—Never Drop Out
    6. 17.5 Get Your Career Off on the Right Track
    7. 17.6 Self-Test Scoring Guidelines
  19. A | Understanding the Legal and Tax Environment
  20. Index
  21. References
  1. Which trends are reshaping the business, microeconomic, and macroeconomic environments and competitive arena?

Trends in the business and economic environment occur in many areas. As noted earlier, today’s workforce is more diverse than ever, with increasing numbers of minorities and older workers. Competition has intensified. Technology has accelerated the pace of work and the ease with which we communicate. Let’s look at how companies are meeting the challenges of a changing workforce, the growing demand for energy, and how companies are meeting competitive challenges.

Changing Workforce Demographics

As the baby boomer generation ages, so does the U.S. workforce. In 2010, more than 25 percent of all employees were retirement age. Fast forward to the U.S. labor force in 2017, however, and millennials have taken over the top spot in the labor market, with more than 40 percent of the total workforce. Although older workers are now retiring closer to the traditional retirement age of 65, many plan to keep working beyond 65, often into their 70s. No longer is retirement an all-or-nothing proposition, and older workers in the baby boomer generation are taking a more positive attitude toward their later years. A surprising number of Americans expect to work full- or part-time after “retirement,” and most would probably work longer if phased retirement programs were available at their companies. Financial reasons motivate most of these older workers, who worry that their longer life expectancies will mean outliving the money they saved for retirement, especially after retirement savings took a hit during the global recession of 2007–2009. For others, however, the satisfaction of working and feeling productive is more important than money alone.29

These converging dynamics continue to create several major challenges for companies today. And by 2020, additional generational shifts are projected to occur in the U.S. labor force, which will have an even bigger effect on how companies do business and retain their employees. Today’s workforce spans five generations: recent college graduates (Generation Z); people in their 30s and 40s (millennials and Generation X); baby boomers; and traditionalists (people in their 70s). It is not unusual to find a worker who is 50, 60, or even 70 working for a manager who is not yet 30. People in their 50s and 60s offer their vast experience of “what’s worked in the past,” whereas those in their 20s and 30s tend to be experimental, open to options, and unafraid to take risks. The most effective managers will be the ones who recognize generational differences and use them to the company’s advantage.30

Many companies have developed programs such as flexible hours and telecommuting to retain older workers and benefit from their practical knowledge and problem-solving skills. In addition, companies should continually track where employees are in their career life cycles, know when they are approaching retirement age or thinking about retirement, and determine how to replace them and their knowledge and job experiences.31

Another factor in the changing workforce is the importance of recognizing diversity among workers of all ages and fostering an inclusive organizational culture. According to a recent report by the U.S. Census Bureau, millennials are the largest generation in U.S. history, and more than 44 percent classify themselves as something other than “white.” In addition, women continue to make progress on being promoted to management, although their path to CEO seems to be filled with obstacles. Recent statistics suggest that fewer than 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs. The most successful organizations will be the ones that recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion as part of their ongoing corporate strategies.32

Managing Change

EY Makes Diversity and Inclusion a Top Priority

As older workers continue to leave the U.S. labor force and younger individuals begin work or move to other jobs to further their careers, businesses must recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion as key corporate strategies. This is particularly critical as multicultural millennials become the dominant group in the U.S. workforce. One leader in embracing diversity as an important part of corporate life is EY (formerly Ernst & Young), a global leader in assurance, tax, and advisory services.

EY believes its core values and business strategies are firmly based on diversity and inclusiveness, as evidenced by the company landing in the top spot of DiversityInc’s 2017 list of the top companies for diversity. This recognition for EY is no accident; the company has made diversity and inclusion key goals for its more than 214,000 employees around the world. With a diverse workforce becoming the norm, it is no longer acceptable for companies to simply hold a random seminar or two for their managers and employees to discuss diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Karyn Twaronite, EY’s global diversity and inclusion officer, believes that a simple, ongoing approach is the most effective way to address diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The company uses a decision-making strategy called PTR, or preference, tradition, and requirement, to help managers think about diversity and inclusion. The strategy challenges managers to examine preferences toward job candidates who are similar to themselves, asks them whether their decision about hiring a specific candidate is influenced by traditional characteristics of a certain role, and urges them to make their selection based on the requirements of the job rather than on their personal preferences. In other words, the decision-making tool gives people a way to question the status quo without accusing colleagues of being biased.

Another way EY fosters inclusiveness is sponsoring professional network groups within the organization. These groups provide members with opportunities to network across various EY divisions, create informal mentoring relationships, and strengthen leadership skills. Some of the established networks within EY include groups for LGBT employees; blacks, Latinos, and pan-Asians; women; veterans; and employees with disabilities.

As a global company that works with clients in many countries, EY knows the importance of acknowledging different perspectives and cultures as part of its daily business. The company is committed to making sure employees as well as clients respect different viewpoints and individual differences, including background, education, gender, ethnicity, religious background, sexual orientation, ability, and technical skills. According to EY’s diversity web page, research shows that a company’s diverse teams are more likely to improve market share and have success in new markets and that they demonstrate stronger collaboration and better retention.

Questions for Discussion
  1. How does EY’s approach to diversity and inclusion translate to additional revenues for the company?
  2. Would a company’s commitment to diversity make a difference to you when interviewing for a job? Why or why not?

Sources: Company website, “A Diverse and Inclusive Workforce,” http://www.ey.com, accessed May 29, 2017; “DiversityInc Top 50: #1—EY: Why They’re on the List,” http://www.diversityinc.com, accessed May 29, 2017; “Founded on Inclusiveness; Strengthened by Diversity: A Place for Everyone,” http://exceptionaley.com, accessed May 29, 2017; Grace Donnelly, “Here’s EY’s Simple But Effective Strategy for Increasing Diversity,” Fortune, http://fortune.com, February 10, 2017.

Global Energy Demands

As standards of living improve worldwide, the demand for energy continues to rise. Emerging economies such as China and India need energy to grow. Their demands are placing pressure on the world’s supplies and affecting prices, as the laws of supply and demand would predict. For example, in recent years, China and India were responsible for more than half of the growth in oil products consumption worldwide. State-supported energy companies in China, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and other countries will place additional competitive pressure on privately owned oil companies such as BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Shell.33

Countries worldwide worry about relying too heavily on one source of supply for energy. The United States imports a large percentage of its oil from Canada and Saudi Arabia. Europeans get 39 percent of their natural gas from Russia’s state-controlled gas utility OAO Gazprom.34 This gives foreign governments the power to use energy as a political tool. For example, continuing tensions between Russia and Ukraine in November 2015 caused Russia to stop sending natural gas to Ukraine, which also causes gas disruptions in Europe because Russia uses Ukraine’s pipelines to transport some of its gas deliveries to European countries. In 2017, Russia announced plans to build its own pipeline alongside Ukraine’s gas line in the Baltic Sea, which would allow Russia to bypass Ukraine’s pipelines altogether and deliver gas directly to European countries.35

Countries and companies worldwide are seeking additional sources of supply to prevent being held captive to one supplier. For example, the relatively new technology of extracting oil from shale rock formations in the United States (known as fracking) has help create an important resource for the country’s oil industry. This innovative approach to finding new sources of energy now accounts for more than half of the country’s oil output, which can help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and create new jobs.36

Meeting Competitive Challenges

Companies are turning to many different strategies to remain competitive in the global marketplace. One of the most important is relationship management, which involves building, maintaining, and enhancing interactions with customers and other parties to develop long-term satisfaction through mutually beneficial partnerships. Relationship management includes both supply chain management, which builds strong bonds with suppliers, and relationship marketing, which focuses on customers. In general, the longer a customer stays with a company, the more that customer is worth. Long-term customers buy more, take less of a company’s time, are less sensitive to price, and bring in new customers. Best of all, they require no acquisition or start-up costs. Good long-standing customers are worth so much that in some industries, reducing customer defections by as little as five points—from, say, 15 percent to 10 percent per year—can double profits.

Another important way companies stay competitive is through strategic alliances (also called strategic partnerships). The trend toward forming these cooperative agreements between business firms is accelerating rapidly, particularly among high-tech firms. These companies have realized that strategic partnerships are more than just important—they are critical. Strategic alliances can take many forms. Some companies enter into strategic alliances with their suppliers, who take over much of their actual production and manufacturing. For example, Nike, the largest producer of athletic footwear in the world, does not manufacture a single shoe.

Other companies with complementary strengths team up. For example, Harry’s Shave Club, an online men’s grooming subscription service, recently teamed up with retail giant Target to improve sales and boost its brand presence among Target shoppers. Harry’s products are now available in Target’s brick-and-mortar stores and on Target’s website as part of an exclusive deal that makes Target the only mass retailer to carry Harry’s grooming products. The men’s shaving industry accounts for more than $2.6 billion in annual sales.37

Concept Check

  1. What steps can companies take to benefit from the aging of their workers and to effectively manage a multigenerational workforce?
  2. Why is the increasing demand for energy worldwide a cause for concern?
  3. Describe several strategies that companies can use to remain competitive in the global economy.
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