Components of the Five Environments Section

   The five environments section contains the following:

  1. Social environment;
  2. Political, legal and regulatory environment;
  3. Diversity Issues
  4. Global presence and issues;
  5. Sustainability and triple bottom line issues, such as physical environment, contribution to economic development, etc.

   The Current Events section contains the following:

On the basis of current news and information, analyze in detail the effect and response of the firm to the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath (supply chain dislocations, inflation, the risk of a recession, human resources turmoil, etc.).  Describe relevant news, information and current events, and explain their influence on the business.  How are the liquidity and profitability of the business affected by these unique events?  It is okay if you mentioned these in the Five Environments section.  Use this section to look at these events in more detail.


      Where do I look?

These resources are good for all of the environments and current events.


Section A. Social Environment - Additional Resources

Information on the social environment can be found in any of a number of places.  Try the databases above, but also look at company profiles in some of these databases:


Section B: Political, Legal and Regulatory Environment - Additional Resources

These sources are particularly good for the Legal environment:


Section C: Diversity Issues

First and foremost, examine the company website thoroughly.  This will be the most likely source of information for this section.  If that does not work, try news and legal sources.  Diversity in the executive hierarchy will also sometimes be addressed by Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) resources like ESG Direct.


Sections D & E: Global Presence & Issues and Triple Bottom Line

The resources mentioned at the top of this list (Business Source Complete, ABI/Inform, and MSCI Direct) are very good for these sections.  News resources (from Factiva and Nexis Uni) are also good and the 10-K may be useful too.


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Tips for Five Environments section

   How do I...

...locate information for this section?

  • Locating information for this section may be familiar to you. It is similar to locating journal articles for a research paper. There are a VARIETY of databases that you can use, and different groups may find different databases to be best for each question in this section.  Be persistant!  Try several resources, and use different keywords until you find articles that you like!

...use the keywords you suggest below?

  • The keywords will help you find information about the four environments. There are many, many more keywords that you should try! Try searching and locating information for each environment separately -- while keeping in mind that you might find an article that could work for more than one section.

...get help with this section?

  • Students have reported difficulty understanding the topics in this section. Try discussing the sections with your teammates and brainstorming about possible keywords that could represent each section.
  • Another strategy is to start with the most straightforward resources for this section, such as looking for information on the company's web site for diversity statements and hiring policies, and work your way into the broader topics. Chances are that once you see what's out there, and begin writing some of the sections, the broader topics will begin to make sense.
  • If you're still having difficulties with this section, talk to your TA.

Keyword Suggestions

Loyalty Conservation Competitors
Mergers Environment Customer
Labor Sustainable Supply Chain
Diversity Social Issues


Personnel Society New Products
Layoffs Ethics Pricing
Productivity CSR Advertising
Globalization Demographics Branding
Regulation Sales

  Other FAQs

  • What does External / Internal references mean?

    This refers to whether the impacts are inside the company or outside of the company's control.  Usually external factors are outside of the company's direct control (for example, societal trends that the company/industry is forced to respond to), and internal factors are ones that are within the company's control.  

  • What do "Unique" references refer to?

    This simply means that the resource should not be cited elsewhere in your final paper.
  • What is the Social Environment?

    This may be the broadest question in the assignment, so there are a lot of potential angles you could take.  Try focusing on what factors impact the public’s perception, beliefs and behavior towards the company and towards the industry.  What societal/cultural factors drive that perception/those beliefs/that behavior.  What are some major current trends of the company/industry, and what in society is causing those trends?  Ideally you will discuss the industry first then discuss how your company's social environment differs from that of the industry.  It is entirely possible that this section will have some overlap with other sections, such as the Triple Bottom Line, Target Market and 4 Ps.  
  • Where can I find information on Diversity issues?

    This may be the most difficult question in the assignment to answer, simply because companies are not required to release anything related to diversity.  Most will, but some will not release much, if anything.  You should examine the company's website thoroughly.  Try domain searches  (for example: diversity site: to search Disney's domain for information on diversity).  If you'd like to focus on diversity in a company's management tier, try MSCI ESG direct.  As a last resort try news sources (like Factiva and LexisNexis) and Legal sources (like, which may have some information.

Getting help with the assignment

  Getting Help

  1. First and foremost, please watch the videos available in this guide. They will show you how to use the resources, and therefore find the information you need.
  2. If you need clarifications on the assignment, such as ratios or what each section means, please ask your TAs
  3. For questions about resources and research, Please visit the NEED HELP? page on this guide.