Thursday, April 30, 2009

PEST Analysis

In continuing with different analysis frameworks such as SWOT and Porter's Five Forces, another good framework to use is PEST (which stands for Political, Economic, Social and Technological factors). Using this framework helps identify macro-environmental factors which influence strategic management. Since PEST takes a higher level view, it can also provide a longer lead time for understanding the evolution and coming changes, however, that is counter balanced by the idea that the farther you look into the future, the fuzzier the picture gets.

Political factors examine how and to what degree a government participates and intervenes in the economy. Specifically, political factors include areas such as tax / subsidy policy, labour laws (minimum wage, safety regulations etc), environmental regulation, trade barriers and tariffs, and political stability. Furthermore, governments have great influence on the health, education, and infrastructure of a nation.

Economic factors include macro-level economic factors such as economic growth (GDP), interest rates, exchange rates, the inflation rate and unemployment rate. For example, interest rates affect a firm's cost of capital and therefore to what extent a business grows and expands. Exchange rates affect the costs of exporting goods and the supply and price of imported goods in an economy.

Social factors include the culture, education level, health, population growth rate, and age distribution. Trends in social factors affect both internal and external factors in the company including the demand for a company's products or services (what the public in that geography demand) and how that company operates (who is available to be hired from the pool of workers).

Technological factors include R&D activity, automation, the rate of technological change as well as the current state of technology (i.e. communications infrastructure). They can determine barriers to entry (patent law) or provide strategic leverage.

By looking at all these factors, an analyst can determine the relative attractiveness of looking at different geographies from a macro-perspective. From a top-down approach to strategic thinking, a PEST analysis is a rudimentary starting point for any decision making.

1 comment:

Chandra Prakassh Kabra said...

hi... u are doing a very good job.. keep it and keep posting such interesting articles!!