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The changing nature of the general business environment offers organisations both opportunities and threats. We can identify key drivers for specific organisations within this environment.  The monitoring of the environment is a key activity for all businesses. We need to look at the competition and what is happening in the competitive environment, the environment that is closest to the organisation and has the most immediate impact on it. Once we have analysed the competitive environment, we need to develop strategies, and then formulate and implement actions to put the strategy into practice. This will require change, so we look briefly at some of the factors concerned with successful change in an organisation.

Stakeholders are the customers, suppliers, employees, owners, shareholders, pressure and consumer groups, regulators, professional organisations, competitors and any individual or organisation that has an interest in what an organisation does and how it does it. Some of these groups, such as consumer and pressure groups, are part of what we term the business environment. Some stakeholders such as employees are part of the organisation but, as customers, shareholders, members of pressure groups and members of professional organisations, they are also part of the competitive environment. So, not only are the boundaries between the business and competitive environment blurred, but these influential stakeholders also blur the boundaries between the organisation and the competitive environment. Therefore, before we look in depth at the competitive environment and how the organisation can respond to changes in it, we need to investigate stakeholders in more detail as they affect what the organisation is and what it does, and how it responds to the opportunities and threats in the business and the competitive environment.

We usually view the organisation as discrete and distinct from its environment. However, the precise boundaries of the organisation flex and change at the interface between the organisation and its environment. This occurs as the requirements of the organisation, the interests of the people of influence in the organisation and the shape of the environment changes. We use Porter's five forces model to analyse an organisation's immediate environment, its industry, and the activities of the organisation's competitors in the industry. We identify some responses the organisation can make.

We look at the sources of environmental information. We need to select and use appropriate information from the vast amounts of available data. We analyse an organisation's competitive and general environments, identify what we need to do with this information and see how the organisation responds to subsequent changes. This leads into an overall discussion of the nature of change in an organisation.

In the final section, we look at the way that business has been changing over recent years and identify some current trends that may provide direction for the future. In today's competitive world, the concept of competitive advantage needs to become an integral part of the culture of an organisation; one that manifests itself in the structure and in all functions. Success is achieved by efficiency in all business functions, in good overall co-ordination within the organisation and by effectiveness in achieving the mission and corporate objectives.

After participating in this course, you should be able to:

    * identify stakeholders, evaluate the impact of stakeholder power and identify areas of conflict
    * analyse Porter's five competitive forces for an organisation in its industry
    * identify sources of environmental information appropriate for a range of organisations
    * conduct a full environmental analysis for any given organisation
    * evaluate the environmental factors driving change
    * appraise why organisations need to manage change
    * describe some sources of resistance to change
    * summarise the key trends in the business world and their implications for an organisation.

Course Syllabus



Section 1: Stakeholders


1.1 Who and what are stakeholders?

1.2 Conflicting interests

1.3 Stakeholder power


SectionMarket Forces 2:


2.1 Industry life cycle

2.2 Porter's five forces


Section 3: Conducting an Environmental Analysis


3.1 Monitoring the environment

3.2 Using environmental information


Section 4: Change and Competitive Advantage


4.1 Responding to the PEST environment

4.2 Responding to the competitive environment

4.3 Implementing change

4.4 Future trends

Course Review Activity

Course Summary


Recommended Reading

Tutor-marked Question Paper


On completion of your course, you will receive two certificates:
Certificate 1 is issued by Stonebridge Associated Colleges: Competition and Change (Byte Size Skills Course) Certificate

Competition and Change (Byte Size Skills Course) Certificate issued by Stonebridge Associated Colleges, to view a sample of the college’s award, please click here.

Tutor Support

With this course you will have unlimited access to your own personal tutor who specialises in their field of study. It is your personal tutor's role to ensure that you receive constructive feedback and to deal with any queries you may have. You are more than welcome to telephone, fax or email your personal tutor.

You will also have access to a dedicated and friendly team of administrators and course advisors who offer sound and professional guidance and advice when you need it. This ensures that you will never feel neglected and that you will always succeed!

Requirements for Entry

There is no experience or previous qualifications required for enrolment on this course. It is available to all students, of all academic backgrounds.

Study Hours

This is only an approximate figure and is dependant upon how much time you can dedicate to your studies and how well you grasp the learning concepts in the course material. Furthermore, at the end of each lesson there is a question paper that needs to be completed and returned to your tutor. You should allow at least 1 - 2 hours of study to complete each question paper.

The approximate amount of time required to complete the course is: 20 hrs.

Additional Information

Assessment Method

After each lesson there will be a question paper, which needs to be completed and submitted to your personal tutor for marking. This method of continual assessment ensures that your personal tutor can consistently monitor your progress and provide you with assistance throughout the duration of the course.

What's Included

    * All study materials
    * Study Guide
    * Full Tutor and Admin support

Advantages of this distance learning course:
  • Home Study: you declare when you study, no need to attend class at fixed times and fixed dates. Your study hours fit around you!
  • We will post all the beautifully printed course materials to you. Everything is written in a clear and easy-to-understand format.
  • Start this course anytime of the year! No need to wait until the new academic year starts. Enroll today so soon you'll start improving your CV or re-skill for your new career.
  • Create your own study routine, learn at your own pace, complete your course as quickly or slowly as your circumstance dictate.
  • Your home learning is totally supported by experienced tutors who guide, encourage and assess your progress. You will not be alone because all our tutors are friendly and approachable.


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Enrol by phone: call 0845 65 22 187 quote course code 442

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