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Unit 1 Business Environment Assignment Primark Company
Diploma in Business
Unit Number and Title
Unit 1 Business Environment Primark Company
Primark is a private company which has different purposes towards the market. Business environment primark company also tries to fulfill the expectations of its stakeholders by adopting various strategies. The Government’s fiscal and monetary policies vary with different industries like farming and housing. Competition policies which are prevalent in the UK protect small companies and consumers from getting exploited. Companies are also getting benefitted from the international trade which is making people aware about different international brands, thus, helping the companies to earn higher revenues.
1.1 Identify what type of organisation is Primark and discuss its purpose. In addition identify and discuss the purpose of one organisation within the following categories;
- The public sector:
Primark is a retail company dealing in clothes and with its headquarters in Ireland. It is a subsidiary of the international group known as Associated British Foods or ABF Group. Primark supplies customers with fashionable clothes through its large number of stores of over 238 all across Europe and UK. It is a profit-making company and is a part of the private sector. This retail company is known worldwide and has a brand value globally. Different organizations have different objectives because they deal in a diverse range of products. One common purpose has been identified which is, the profit making motive of almost all the companies. The company not only provides men and women with fashionable clothes but also offer beauty products, home ware, confectionaries and other products. The main purposes of Primark are as follows:
- To provide fashionable clothes to men, women and children.
- To offer all types of products at cheap prices so that these are affordable for everyone, including teenagers (Smith and Milligan, 2015).
- The company aims to provide a quick service with an easy return policy.
Following are the examples and purposes of organizations which belong to the following categories:
- The public sector- This sector consists of organizations which come under the authority of the state or the government. The National Health Service creates awareness among the citizens about different diseases which are risky in nature. Based in UK, the NHS provides health related services not only in UK but also all across the globe. The employees are motivated by the management to provide the people with high quality services.
- Charity- Charitable organizations provide various services to individuals either free of cost or at extremely low prices. These organizations do not aim to earn profit and engages itself in the betterment of the living conditions of people. One such organization is the Red Cross initially provided services to the wounded of battles and wars. It now aims to also offer services to people who are in dire need of blood or those who are suffering from natural disasters (Lindsay, 2011).
- Cooperative- When a group of individuals come together to own a firm, it is known as a cooperative. The Co-operative Bank in UK provides monetary help to cooperatives by following ethical and legal values. It tries to bring about a positive change in the lives of individuals.
1.2 Describe the extent to which Primark meets the objectives of its different stakeholders.
A large number of people are associated with each and every organization and are known as stakeholders. Stakeholders can be grouped as internal and external stakeholders. Managers, employees, investors, etc. form a part of the internal stakeholders while the external stakeholders comprise of suppliers, consumers, government and so on. The stakeholders have various expectations from the functioning of a particular firm because of which the management develops policies in order to meet them which holds true for Primark as well:
- Consumers: It is a fact that no organization would have been able to exist if customers would have been absent. Therefore, for every firm including Primark, it is important to fulfill the requirements of the customers. Primark provides its customers with affordable fashion items at reasonable prices without compromising on the quality of the product. It follows ethical ways of reaching out to its consumers through the official website.
- Employees: The employees in Primark feel valued because their suggestions are taken into consideration in the decision making process of the company (Moon, 2014). The wages of the employees are revised time and again. Education is provided on topics of women health, labour laws and measures for the prevention of fatal diseases like AIDS.
- Shareholders: The management makes sure to inform the suppliers about the future endeavors that the company is likely to undertake. Shareholders are provided with appropriate shares of profit.
- Suppliers: It is the responsibility of the suppliers to supply raw materials to the company. Primark gives the suppliers proper and timely payments for their goods. An ethical code of conduct is followed and the company also organizes audits for all its suppliers (Primark, 2016).
1.3 Explain the responsibilities of Primark as an organization and the strategies employed to meet them.
Primark like other organizations hold certain responsibilities towards the government, stakeholders and the environment. It also develops several strategies in order to meet these responsibilities.
The responsibilities of Primark are as follows:
- Shareholders: It is bound by contract to provide the shareholders with appropriate amounts of profits based on the money that they have invested. They must also be informed about the turnover of the company and its future ventures.
- Government: The workplace environment of Primark needs to be maintained as per the guidelines put down by the government. All the rules and regulations of the government need to be followed by Primark.
- Employees: The workers of the company expect the management to look into matters of discrimination in the workplace (Werther Jr and Chandler, 2010). Employees need salary hikes and job security in order to provide maximum efforts in the organization.
- Environment: It is a very important objective of Primark to look into the environmental conditions of the place in which it is performing business. The management should keep a check on the pollution causing elements. The company should ensure that the waste products that are released from the manufacturing process should mostly be non-biodegradable in nature.
- Society: Ensuring a hazard free society due to the production of its commodities should be one of the primary objectives of Primark. The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) needs to be developed by Primark to fulfill its social responsibilities.
The strategies that are employed by Primark to meet the above responsibilities are as follows:
- The HER project which is introduced by Primark in Bangladesh provides employment to a large number of women (Beyond corporate social responsibility, 2016). The women employees are educated about the importance of hygiene and its relation with childbirth. Providing independence to a large number of women, it encourages the female employees to work harder.
- In order to reduce the harmful effects on the environment, the company has opted to substitute plastic bags with the environment friendly paper bags.
- Primark does ethical business by paying proper government taxes and also by following the rules and regulations.
- The working conditions of the suppliers are improved all across the globe by improving transportation facilities and by offering guidance to the suppliers.
- Employee benefits like health insurances are provided to the workers which encourage them to improve their quality of work.
2.1 Different countries operate different economic systems to attempt to allocate resources effectively. Research and explain the type of system operated in the following countries and reasons why you think they follow these systems.
- United Kingdom:
There are various types of economic systems which operate in different countries for effective allocation of resources. The following economic systems are found in most countries:
- Capitalist Economy- This kind of economy includes private companies and the main objective of the companies is to increase the profit margins (Przeworski, 2014). Competition is one of the most important features of a capitalist economy. One of the countries with capitalist economy is the United States of America.
- Socialist Economy- In order to solve the problem of class conflict, Karl Marx came up with the idea of socialism. A socialist economy, the resources are allocated directly by the government and the amount of production is also determined by the same body. The government has a control over the businesses and workers are given importance in this economy.
- Mixed Economy- The collaborative functioning of the private and public enterprises leads to the formation of mixed economy. Private companies are given certain freedoms regarding the allocation of resources but the government also holds the power to interfere in their decisions.
- Cuba- The economic system of Cuba is socialist economy. Most of the companies which are present in Cuba are directly under the control of the Government of the nation. The resources are allocated by the Government as well.
- United Kingdom- This is also known as welfare economy. Most of the powers regarding decision making and trading is present in the hands of the private enterprises. However, the Government can intervene in certain sectors if required (Johnson, 2014). A number of sectors like medicinal facilities, education, transportation, etc. come under the direct control of the Government of United Kingdom.
- China- Though private enterprises are present in the economy of China, the people claim that the main power resides with the Government. These individually owned companies have helped in the growth of the country’s economy.
2.2 In the UK the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Bank of England plays a significant role in regulating the economy. The tools used by them are referred to as Fiscal and Monetary policies respectively. You are required to assess the impact of fiscal and monetary policy on the following type of businesses.
- Fiscal Policy- When the government or government owned enterprises take all kinds of decisions about revenue collection and the proper utilization of the revenue, it is known as Fiscal policy. Innovative ways are found out for the usage of the excess money that is collected (Blanchard, Jaumotte and Loungani, 2014).
- Monetary Policy- As the name suggests the handling of different financial factors form the monetary policy of the government. This policy covers a range of factors like interest rates, money and credit supply, etc.
The impacts of both the fiscal and the monetary policy on farming and housing are as follows:
- Farming: The Government of UK can utilize surplus money in the development of the farming sector of the country. Farmers will be able to get better quality equipments that would enhance the overall production. The price of agricultural commodities may increase due to fiscal and monetary policies. Inflation may lead to an increase in the value of the currency which may elevate the prices of agricultural goods even internationally. This would help the company to earn greater revenues through the practice of farming. However, unfavorable monetary and fiscal policies lead to extra payments from the side of the farmers.
- Housing- The changes in the monetary and fiscal policies have an impact on the various kinds of tax rates, income, prices of goods, employment, etc. with an increase in the cash flow in the UK economy, there will be a reduction in the rates of interests in the country. With respect to housing in UK, people are likely to invest more in the housing sector if there is a fall in the rates of interest (Afonso and Sousa, 2012). The demand is likely to reduce when the government operates in ‘tight money’.
2.3 Competition is an essential element in the efficient working of markets. However businesses are of different sizes and that can create unfair competition. In the UK as in other European nations Competition policies are used to encourage and improve the competitive process, and to ensure consumers feel the benefits of that process. You are required to identify at least five competition policy and other regulatory mechanisms in the UK and evaluate their impact on the activities of a selected organization(s).
Competition policy includes the different opportunities that are given to the organizations for their economical stability. Regulatory mechanisms limit the activities that can be performed by a particular company while doing its business. This is mainly done to prevent monopoly in a market and to encourage free enterprise. A very well known pharmaceutical company in the UK is the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Like most other companies, the management of GSK aims to achieve higher profit by selling medicines. It does not have the power to perform monopoly in the market because of the presence of numerous competitors. Therefore, the competition policy encompasses market liberalization, regulation of merger powers, governmental regulations, and so on. The main competition policies are as follows:
- Merger Control: The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is an active association in the UK which looks after the powers of the companies that merge together. Mergers are only allowed when they see that competition practices will still be present in the market. The association has the freedom to cut down on the market share of a very strong merger so that the smaller companies are protected.
- Market Liberalization:This involves the introduction of newer firms in industries which were previously monopolistic in nature (Odudu, 2010). For example, the pharmaceutical industry which was dominated by GSK previously was converted to a comparatively free market when AZ entered into the competition.
- State Measures: The Government of the country has the power to interfere in the market practices that disrupts suitable competition from taking place.
- Consumer Protection: the main aim of the Government is to protect the consumers from getting exploited in the market due to extremely high price rates and fewer options to choose from (Nugent, 2010).
- Antitrust and Cartels: Agreements which limits competition in the market can be terminated if required.
Power of business is not restricted in a specific company’s hands. This is because of the competition and regulatory policies. The government’s regulatory policies do not allow any company to perform all kinds of activities. The main aim of these policies is to safeguard the consumers from getting exploited by the marketing practices of all the organizations. Products are cost-effective and customers have the privilege to choose the best quality among the various types of commodities that are available in the market. The consumers are business environment are protected due to the prevalence of these policies.
3.1 Explain how pricing and output decisions of businesses is determined in the following market structures.
- perfect competition:
The prices and output decisions of any organization depend on the various types of market structures it is operating in like perfect competition, monopoly, duopoly, oligopoly, so on and so forth. These market structures vary from each other with respect to the number of buyers and sellers involved as well as the kind or commodities produced. In the UK, there are prominent companies which function in each of these market structures.
- Perfect Competition- In this particular market structure, the sellers sell similar or homogenous products. It is considered to be an ideal market where there is an abundance of buyers and sellers. The sellers do not have the privilege to set prices as per their wishes due to the presence of a large number of competitors. The entry and exit of companies is not restricted and the production of goods cannot be restricted by a particular firm (Kirzner, 2015). Companies are always willing to produce better quality products at reasonable prices in this kind of market structure. For example, in the agriculture sector the farmers are selling identical products which include crops, vegetables and fruits. The number of buyers is extremely high who buy products after comparing the available prices.
- Monopoly- When there is a single seller of a unique product or service in the existing market then it is called monopoly. The producer has the privilege of setting the price of products and to decide the amount it is willing to produce. Entry of organizations who wish to sell identical goods is restricted. Consumers get exploited in such situations as the power of raising the price of the commodity or the service lies with the seller (Kumar and Siddharthan, 2013). Such a market situation must not exist in an ideal economy as the company is likely not to take any measure for improving the quality of its commodities and services. Transportation facilities mainly form a part of the monopoly market. For example, the railway network in the United Kingdom is maintained by the Network Rail who upgrades the entire system from time to time.
- Oligopoly- In this market structure, the number of companies is few but they are mostly large in their sizes. However, entry in this market structure is more restricted than perfect competition but more liberal as compared to monopoly market structure. This restriction is due to certain barriers which exist in the market. Larger firms have more control over the prices of products. The examples of Oligopoly are Unilever and Procter and Gamble who sell detergents (Akwetey, 2015). The market in which they operate have a limited number of sellers and the number of buyers are not as high as in the perfect competitive market. Even Tesco and Sainsbury are engaged in selling grocery.
- Duopoly- When there are two sellers of a particular product or service, it is known as duopoly. The companies act as competitors and one company is more dominant than the other. Two companies which operate in this market structure are Europe based Airbus and America based Boeing. Both of these are airline companies who merged with other firms in order to increase their power and size (Harrison, 2011). The competition between these two airline companies became extremely famous in the history of the airline industry.
3.2 Illustrate the way in which market forces (demand and supply) shape organisational responses using a range of examples (diagrams are essential).
Demand is referred to the amount of a certain product that the consumers wish to purchase at a definite price. The demand for a product depends on its price but there are certainly a few exceptions. A demand curve can be drawn in order to explain this relationship between the quantity and price of that specific product or service (Hildenbrand, 2014).
On the other hand, supply can be defined as the amount of a commodity that the producers are willing to provide to the customers in a market at a certain price. The supply curve can also be drawn to explain the relationship between price and the quantity supplied.
Fig 1: Demand curve and Supply curve
Any given company needs to maintain an equilibrium between the market forces, namely, demand and supply. This balance helps a company to function smoothly. Both the forces of demand and supply go hand in hand and depend on a large number of factors. For example, the supply of a certain medicine in the market is dependent on the demand of the product. Companies take advantage of such situations and limit the supply of such products and also increase the prices. A similar incident happened when the Ebola virus broke out and GSK limited the Ebola vaccines in the market (Hayden, 2016). It has been noticed that competitors of GSK take advantage of such a situation like the Red Cross and the NHS. They cut down the price of the vaccines which leads to a decrease in the number of customers of GSK. Therefore, the demand and supply of a product influence its price and vice versa.
If we look at the British company Tesco, we will notice that the company’s management revises the prices of different products because they are aware of the presence of substitute companies. The presence of competitors has an impact on the demand of the products of Tesco (Potter and Disney, 2010). The products which are of day to day use are cost effective in the stores of the company. Customers are also provided with club cards so that they can gain points while shopping the various products. At times, the company decides to lower the prices to a certain extent so that the demand for their products increases in the market leading to higher revenue generation. Recently, Tesco had to increase the price of its bread rolls which led to a decrease in the demand of the product. This was because the international production of both wheat and rice was less which increased the prices of these raw materials. Tesco imports these from Asian countries and the cost price of each of the rolls increased leading to an enhancement in the selling price. The demand decreased due to high prices and the supply was cut down substantially. Therefore, it can be understood that the prices of different products cannot be controlled by the company all the time. The price of a product or a service depends on various products which affects both the demand and the supply and vice versa.
Even McDonald’s, one of the biggest fast food chains, has noticed the demand for food products which are free from antibiotics. This is the reason why the company is trying to make food products which are free from genetically engineered meat (Frost, 2015).
Fig 2: McDonald’s Campaign of Antibiotics Free Food
Recently, the company along with Coca Cola noticed a decrease in their profits because consumers are shifting towards health eating habits. This has led to a decrease in the sales of the company. McDonald’s is trying to work on that by producing food items which are comparatively healthier that what it used to be previously.
3.3 Judge how the business and cultural environments shape the behaviour of a selected organisation.
Both cultural and business environment determine how a particular organization will behave. The cultural factors involve the changes that take place in the profit margins and changes in the sales rates. The behaviour of a particular organization also depends on its brand reputation like that in the case of GSK (GlaxoSmithKline). Employees who work in the company come from various regions of the world. The presence of different races, religions and languages affect the behaviour of GSK. Traditions, values and the different cultural practices all across the globe form an essential part of this type of environment. Even gender differences play an important role. The cultural differences often act harmful for the company as it hampers the revenue generation (Thomas and Peterson, 2014). Hence, when GSK decides to open a branch in some other country, it needs to keep in mind the culture of that particular place in order to avoid any kind of problems.
Economic environment and non-economic environment are the two types of business environment. The economic environment encompasses the various types of economic policies and economic systems. On the other hand, the political, technological and social factors form a part of the non-economic environment. The workplace environment of a particular organization like GSK is dependent on the working practices of that particular country where GSK has set up its branch. In China, the company got into trouble as the management was accused to bribing the doctors for prescribing its medicines. The country’s government penalized the company and closed down its office which was present in Shanghai ((Kessel, 2014). Thus, it can be concluded that both business and cultural environment determine the organization behaviour like GSK.
4.1 Discuss the significance of international trade to UK business organizations.
International trade provides companies a global platform for performing trade with other countries. All kinds of companies benefit from this trading system as it helps them to earn profit. The fact that these organizations get to earn foreign currency is beneficial for the overall revenue generation. Moreover, people of other countries are become aware of international firms which enhance the brand value of those particular companies. The significance of international trade to UK business organizations are as follows:
- The international market: Companies like GSK and AstraZeneca (AZ) get the permit for performing international trade. The management of these companies studies the different trading practices that are prevalent in foreign countries and plan their products by keeping the taste patterns and financial capabilities of the people in that particular nation (Dunning, 2014). Companies like GSK offer their medicines at comparatively low prices in economically backward countries. Tesco is one of the biggest companies to have facilitated from international trade. This retailer has its branches in countries all across Europe and Asia which makes it famous worldwide. It has been recorded that the company earns a huge share of its revenue from the foreign countries which makes it ones of the largest retailers in the world with respect to profit generation.
- Abundance of cheap labour: UK organizations hire people from those countries where they decide to engage in trade practices. Labour in these countries is cost-effective which helps in the reduction of the cost of manufacture. The chocolate giant, Nestle, makes use of the cheap labour in places Ivory Coast and Thailand. Due to the extreme profit making motives of the company, they also make use of child labour in their cocoa fields (Kelly, 2016). This proves the fact that international trade has certain disadvantages as well and its significance vary from one organization to another.
- Getting raw materials at extremely low prices: The companies which engage themselves in international trade obtain raw material from different countries at prices which are very low. This reduces per unit cost of production due to availability of raw materials in the local places (Jungmittag, Reger and Reiss, 2013). At times this has certain disadvantages as well. For example, the Swiss company Nestle which has its branch in United Kingdom is makes an extensive use of the cocoa fields in places like Ivory Coast to produce chocolates at extremely low prices. This reduces the production cost of the company but the raw materials are subjected to risk.
- Letting the foreign people know about the existence of their brand: International trade allows organizations from UK as well as other companies to create brand awareness among the foreign people. For examples, Asian people prefer to buy medicinal products from the outlets of GSK and AZ that are available in their countries due to the brand reputation. For example, McDonald’s has introduced a range of food items in India involving the usage of chicken instead of beef. This has helped the company to gain reputation in the eyes of the Indians who believe that the company is function as per the traditions of the people of India (Financial Times, 2015).
4.2 Analyse the impact of global factors on UK business organizations.
A diverse range of factors like political, legal, economical, social and ecological factors function at a global level affecting organizations of United Kingdom and other countries. These global factors can be advantageous for an organization but these have certain drawbacks as well. With globalization there has been a continuous increase in the rate of competition among companies. As brand new firms always try to enter the business, existing companies face the continuous threat of reduction in profit share. International trade further enhances this rate of competition among companies.
The year 2015 witnessed the excessive revenue generation of GSK by selling huge amounts of the HIV drugs in different countries. During the outbreak of the Ebola virus, the company also sold Ebola vaccines in a large number. This enabled GSK to enhance its profit share much more than what was expected by the company’s management (Ficenec, 2015). However, the excessive production of any product like a medicinal drug can harm the ecological balance and different conditions of the environment all over the world. AZ or AstraZeneca has introduced ‘ecopharmavigilance’ which is a new tracking system. The company will be able to keep a track of any new data that enters the environment due to its production processes, through this tracking system. The company’s brand reputation has enhanced due to this new method that the organization has adopted (Owens, 2015). However, the bribery scandal that emerged in China hampered the reputation of GSK internationally. GSK was penalized and the company also decided to close the company’s office which was present in Shanghai. The year 2014 also saw a fall in AZ’s Nexium that led to the cancellation of the company’s US license. So, the UK companies need to study all these factors before performing any particular function.
An issue was raised against McDonald’s when the company as willing to offer breakfast meals all day long when the country faced the shortage of eggs. This happened right after the spread of the flu and many people of the business world were of the opinion that such a move from the side of McDonald’s might increase the shortage of eggs. Even in the 1990s, Russia came up with a request when they asked the company to change the look of the outlets keeping the Russian culture in mind. The same thing happened in china when they asked the management to make the outlets more oriental in its design. One of the main reasons behind the success of McDonald’s is the technological aspect. The company with its advanced technology has been able to produce higher amounts of food products in foreign countries and has been able to spread its business all across the globe. A social factor also played an important role when the company decided to do business in India. McDonald’s is famous for its beef burger but it had to make chicken and vegetable food items in India because of the religious reasons that are prevalent in the country (Kannan, 2014).
4.3 Evaluate the impact of policies of the European Union on UK business organizations.
The countries which are a part of the European Union (EU) operate according to the rules that are laid down by the body. The various policies that the European Union has come up with have different impacts on the companies which belong to a diverse range of industries (Beetham and Lord, 2014). The companies belonging to the pharmaceutical industry are not exceptions to this entire thing. The two major pharmaceutical companies that have been affected by the policies of the European Unions are GSK and AZ.
The EU has put forward a number of policies which have been helpful in removing the legal barriers when it comes to doing business in more than one country. This increases the number of consumers who are associated with each organization. Both GSK and AZ are provided with the facility of performing international trade practices. When the companies involve in trade practices, they follow the taxation policies, employment policies, cultural policies, regional and international policies. The companies need to be registered before initiating the processes of trading with other countries as well as for doing business in their own countries. When the UK pharmaceutical industry underwent price reductions, GSK was subjected to lesser profits as it had to work in accordance with the policy that had been introduced by the UK Government (Kollewe, 2012).
The European Union also ensures that the products which are sold by different countries meet the safety standards that are laid down by the association. Products which are safe to use as well as safe to manufacture are allowed to be sold by the EU. When AZ came up with Zurampic, a medicine for the people suffering from gout, an extensive check was done on its safety standards before giving the permission of selling it in the market (AstraZeneca, 2016).
All the policies are applicable for companies which are associated with the food industry as well. In a case of McDonald’s, a particular group of Italian Franchisees complained that McDonald’s put forward unjust policies for its franchisees. This complaint was submitted to the European Union so that they could take proper actions against it. It was reported that the company uses its superior brand name in order to charge its franchisees an amount which is almost ten times if compared to the other brands (Fairless, 2016). The policies of the company are such that franchisees are not allowed to switch to any other brand if they wish to. Such actions are against the policies that are laid down by the European Union and the association is trying to sort this problem. Companies which have a high position in the market are asked not to disrupt the business practices of the smaller companies. Hence, it becomes clear that the policies of European unions have various impacts on the organizations belonging to different industries.
It can be concluded that various types of economic systems operate in the market along with different market structures. The characteristics of them vary from each other. Even economic systems of countries like Cuba, China and UK are extremely different from each other. Private companies like Primark have certain purposes which are discussed at length. The European Union also functions in order to improve the business operations in the UK. The countries which are a part of the EU are expected to follow the rules in order to prevent any sort of exploitation of the owners as well as the consumers.
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