Modern Life - Societal Changes that Impact Corporations
Changing attitudes towards green products, changing consumer preferences, aging population, changing gender attitudes, and generational shift are societal and cultural changes impacting corporate operations in the US and Western Europe. A detailed presentation of the changes is provided below.
Changing Attitudes Towards Green Products
- Changing attitudes towards green products is affecting how businesses approach sustainable development in their operations. Amid the rising concerns about scarce natural resources and the impact of human behavior on climate change, sustainable development has evolved to be a guiding theme for the society. People’s expectations have changed where they exhibit improved awareness of environmental challenges facing the world today.
- Today, people have a pro-environmental worldview, which is greatly influencing their decisions to buy a product or consume a certain brand. A study conducted in America and the UK showed that half of digital consumers consider environmental concerns as an influencing factor on their purchase decision. 62% of the environmentally conscious consumers feel that green products are good for their health.
- As a result, companies in America and Western European countries, such as the UK, are adopting green business trends in order to leverage the growing demand. Statistics show that 71% of Americans consider the environment as an influencing factor when making purchases.
- Besides the increased revenue accruing from going green, businesses in the US are also experiencing notable savings from reduced energy costs by embracing sustainability in their operations. They are also going green to boost their brand image and ensure viability in the long term. They are working to align their business objectives with the shifting consumer demand.
Changing Consumer Preferences
- Changing preferences is another factor impacting corporate operations. Consumers wield immense power over what businesses do. In this regard, their changing preferences are dictating business decision-making.
- Consumer spending has witnessed a major shift with traditional spending shifting towards experiential spending on dining, travel, hospitality, and leisure. Today’s consumers, especially millennials and Generation Z, are digitally savvy, which influences how they buy and what they desire. They are more concerned about convenience and value.
- Changing consumer preferences are forcing companies of all sizes to conduct business differently. They are forcing them to develop new products and adopt new ways of marketing.
- In the United States, restaurants such as McDonalds have been forced to add menu items, such as salads, to accommodate changing preferences for healthier alternatives by consumers. In Western Europe, consumers have a preference for food products with specific health characteristics, such as pomegranates. Thus, businesses have to realign their operations to accommodate changing preferences.
- In the UK, shopping habits and preferences are impacting how companies in the retail industry operate. They are being forced to change their shopping models to respond to the rise in consumers’ preference for buying online.
- Changing demographics is another notable factor in the corporate world. For example, a low birth rate and an aging population have contributed to a shrinking working-age population. A shrinking workforce is forcing businesses in the US to develop ways of tackling labor shortage. For instance, companies such as Ford are implementing automation in their production plants.
- Changing demographics are also affecting consumption. For example, an aging population will lead to a low demand for certain popular fashion products and a rise in demand for health products. Thus, businesses affected by such changes must develop measures to cope with the trends.
- In Western Europe, 25% of the population is expected to reach the retirement age by 2030, leading to an acute decline in disposable income. Thus, businesses targeting mass market have to change their tactics because consumers will be more price-conscious.
Changing Gender Attitudes
- Changing gender attitudes are influencing internal decision-making processes in organizations. The shifting gender roles and rising emphasis on family life have contributed to enhanced respect for paternity and maternity leave in organizations. For instance, companies in America are slowly making changes to promote a more inclusive environment by making policies that redefine parental leave.
- Changing attitudes towards sexual harassment have prompted companies to change their policies and take harassment more seriously. Statistics show that 51% of companies in the US have reviewed their sexual harassment polices to respond to changing gender attitude.
- Studies show that many organizations in Western Europe have introduced procedures designed to cope with cases of harassment. In the UK, 95% of organizations have such procedures while 93% in Ireland have systems in place to deal with harassment or bullying cases.
- Generational shift is the other change impacting corporate operations. Today, millennials are no longer the largest part of the labor force in the United States. The largest section of the workforce today in the country is made up of people born between 1981 and 1996 while Generation Z makes up approximately 10% of the workforce.
- Generational shift is impacting workers’ compensation landscape as well as utilization of technology in the workplace. Thus, organizations have to automate many business processes, such as reporting, to eliminate the need for manual input in line with the desires of the young workers. The young workers are also looking to work in companies that promote collaborative work.
- Impacts of generational shift also extend to the spending habits. For instance, Generation Z has its own spending habits and preferences. In the US alone, they spend over $143 billion annually. In Western European nations such as the UK, generational shift is also defining the spending habit.
- As result, businesses have to develop innovative products and marketing strategies, such as social media marketing, that tap into this potential.