Environments The Real World Companies That Are Essay


Environments The real world companies that are being studied are Starbucks, Apple and FedEx. These three companies face different external environmental challenges and have focused on shifting their internal environments in order to better compete in their external environments. The PEST analysis will be used as the analytical framework (QuickMBA, 2012).

Starbucks operates in the quick service restaurant industry, and is one of the top brands in that business (QSR Magazine, 2011). The political environment is generally favorable, with no major impediments to business. The company is focused on international expansion, and to this point has been able to perform well in most foreign markets. The ones where it has failed (Australia, Israel), the failure was not because of the political environment. The economic environment, however, has proven to be a challenge for Starbucks. The company saw its revenues and profits decline heading into the recession (MSN Moneycentral, 2012), as customers began trading down to lower-priced coffee offerings. Starbucks has rebounded in part due to internal responses to this challenge, and in part because the economy has recovered from the depths.

The social environment was against Starbucks during the economic downturn, as people were beginning to feel that the company's products were out of touch with economic reality, but these concerns were short-lived and customers returned fairly quickly. The technological environment has not provided much boost to Starbucks.

The company's response to its environmental challenges was to make internal changes. One such change was cost-cutting, including closing underperforming stores and rationalizing support operations. Starbucks was able to lower prices on some of its products temporarily in order to response to intense new competition and a challenging economic situation (Baertlein, 2009). The company then returned to its normal business practices when the economy began to recover. This has allowed Starbucks to see recovery of its own. The company has cultivated a competitive advantage in its strong brand, enabling it to expand rapidly overseas and to create a lucrative side business in packaged beverages and institutional sales. Its VIA single-serving coffee product...


In addition to the brand, Starbucks' internal operations are a strength, one that has allowed it to build a global network of stores that offer a high level of consistency in their experience.
Apple's external environment has been generally favorable, but might be turning. Politically, there have been few impediments to rapid growth, and Apple has enjoyed good relations with China as well, which has been key to its supply chain, enabling very high margins. The company not faced any difficulty with the economic downturn, instead using technological innovation, branding and strong marketing to excel during the downturn (MSN Moneycentral, 2012). Where Apple is having trouble is in the social environment, with the Foxconn scandal being fresh on the minds of consumers (Gupta & Chan, 2012). Apple's quick move to address this problem -- decisively -- is going to hurt the company's margins but may have salvaged what was a very dangerous situation in the social environment.

The technological environment is generally favorable for Apple, and the company is proactive in guiding the technological change from which it benefits. Apple took existing products (tablets, smartphones) are with some changes turned them into consumer electronics with broad-based appeal. These two products (iPad, iPhone) are now the leading source of revenue and profit growth for Apple. Apple's ability to guide the technological environment is a source of sustainable competitive advantage that few firms can match. Other competitive advantages are its cash base (over $80 billion in cash and investments as of the latest annual report), which allows it to undertake any project that it thinks has value; and Apple's technology and marketing teams, which allow it to bring winning products to market and ensure that they are successful.

Apple has responded to its external environment by seeking to transcend it. The company in particular has sought to develop innovative new products that succeed even when the U.S. And other major markets are in recession. This strategy has worked wonderfully in the past four years. The company's approach to innovation has allowed it to create markets where they did not…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited:

Baertlein, L. (2009). In a first, Starbucks lowers price of some drinks. Reuters. Retrieved May 6, 2012 from http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/08/20/us-starbucks-idUSTRE57J69K20090820


P. & Chan, E. (2012). Apple, Foxconn set new standard for Chinese workers. Reuters. Retrieved May 6, 2012 from http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/30/us-apple-foxconn-idUSBRE82S19720120330

MSN Moneycentral. (2012). Apple Inc. Retrieved May 6, 2012 fromhttp://investing.money.msn.com/investments/stock-income-statement/?symbol=AAPL
MSN Moneycentral. (2012). Starbucks. Retrieved May 6, 2012 fromhttp://investing.money.msn.com/investments/stock-income-statement/?symbol=SBUX
QuickMBA. (2012). PEST analysis. QuickMBA. Retrieved May 6, 2012 from http://www.quickmba.com/strategy/pest/

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