FACTORS OF SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT
The social/cultural environment has the following factors:
3. Religion and beliefs
4. Non-religious beliefs
5. Women as a working force
7. Cultural habits, customs and fashions
People’s income is of great significance to business organizations. Its study helps them decide about quality, design, price, advertising and distribution. If the customers are grouped income wise as follows, the job of manufacturer and marketing personnel will become easy. The objective is to determine the right target market from the income point of view.
i. High income group
ii. Middle income group
iii. Low income group
All the three groups have different buying habits and motivations.
Other social stratifications (divisions) also help formulate business policies. The division may be as education, authority and power, age, sex, personality, working conditions.
Population is fast increasing in the third world, while in the developed countries and Middle Last it is static. Most Asian countries are overpopulated. The countries facing the scarcity of population have to hire labor from heavily populated countries.
Population can he divided into two parts:
• Urban population
• Rural population.
The world is also facing the problem of the rural people shifting to urban areas causing serious problems such as transportation, water, power, sanitary, sewage, and drainage. Overpopulation is the root cause of poverty. Proper family planning can be carried out to check the population.
3. Religion and Beliefs
All over the world, especially in poor and third world countries, religion plays an important role and is the pillar of a culture. In Muslim countries eating pork and non-kosher meat and drinking liquor are strictly prohibited. Their business in Muslim country will fail. This factor determines the type and habit of eating, style of clothing, fun and fair, fashion, modes of investments.
4. Non Religious Belief
There are beliefs which are non-religious and have a great impact on the style of living. Marriage festivities (Ubton. Mchndi, etc.), superstitious practices, charity, some of the funeral beliefs and lots of other have a strong bearings on marketing and business.
5. Woman As Working Force
After World War II women began working shoulder to shoulder with men in offices and factories. InSouth Asia, female agricultural labor can be traced back as far as hundreds of years. Even Muslims countries now have a great number of working women. This phenomenon has brought about significant changes in the society.Independenceof women, eating out, growth of eating snacks, baby-sitting are some of the examples.
Humans always depend on each other. They can not live a life all alone. They are social animals and live in families, societies, tribes. Nations arc the result of pluralism. In business, they need associations like chamber of commerce, labor unions, medical associations, bar associations etc. The corporation is itself an example of pluralism.
Pluralism has gone deep down among the trading nations reaping its fruits. t has given rise to trade associations, trade pacts, free trade between the nations and regional trading blocs. Some examples are
ASEAN (Association of South East Nations), EFTA (European Free Trade
Association), European Unions, WTO (World Trade Organization).
OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), World Bank,
IMF, NATO, SAARC.
Even the police, army, national and provisional legislative assemblies, Red cross, Red crescent are only a few examples.
7. Cultural Habits
Cultural habits, customs, and fashions play pivotal role in the formation of cultural or social environment. All business and marketing activities including production, buying, selling, and advertising are based on traditions, fashions and habits prevailing in the society. However, the cultural differences are narrowing down as the world is converting into a global village.
Clothing is integral part of culture. In a certain culture there are several elements that determine type, style, and quality of clothing. They include income, sex, climate, religion, and so on. Maslow, the German psychologist, asserted that clothing is one of the basic needs, others being food and housing. Every country, civilization, tribe, ethnic group has its own style of dresses or clothing which represents its living style, need, and customs. Many clothes have been adopted the world over that include trousers, shirts, coats, jackets, overcoats, mackintoshes, ulsters, and vaskets. Shalwar and kameez are worn by Pakistanis. Kurta, pajamas, And sherwani are now Indian cultural apparels. Salong is Ceylonese and East Indian clothing. Saris are worn by ladies all over Subcontinent countries. Manufacturers of garments have to plan their production keeping in view weather, income, gender, habits, festival, religion, living style. and ethnic groups of the population.
A culture reflects type and style of food people eat. Food to be eaten depends on such cultural element as religion, ethnic groups, festivals, and living styles. Income and weather also affect the type of food people like to eat. Sonic foreign foods are getting popular in Western and Eastern countries. They are Chinese dishes, KFC, and Mc Donald’s fast food. Coca Cola and Pepsi are equally liked by the young, children old men, and women all over the world. They are served in almost all parties. Lee cream, toffees, cookies, candies, biscuits; cakes, bread are commonly eaten every where irrespective of cultures. Because of working women who have no time for cooking fast food has become popular in all cultures. Eating out is another habit that is developing inPakistan, especiallyKarachifollowing the practice in developed countries. In parties festivals, and in some rich families wider menus arc served. On the other hand over—eating rich food has created health problems like blood pressure, sugar, and heart attacks which have forced health conscious people to go on dieting. Hence, they have cut down on flits, sweets, sugar, carbohydrate, and other rich foods with high calories. All these aspects are kept in view and part of policies of manufacturers, sellers, and researchers.