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PEST analysis

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In business analysis, PEST analysis ("political, economic, socio-cultural and technological") describes a framework of macro-environmental factors used in the environmental scanning component of strategic management. It is part of an external environment analysis when conducting a strategic analysis or doing market research, and gives an overview of the different macro-environmental factors to be taken into consideration. It is a strategic tool for understanding market growth or decline, business position, potential and direction for operations.

PEST analysis was developed in 1967 by Aguilar as an environmental scanning framework.[1] Aguilar argued that firms must scan the economic, technical, political and social categories (ETPS) that may affect strategy, defining environmental scanning as follows, “scanning for information about events and relationships in a company’s outside environment, the knowledge of which would assist top management in its task of charting the company’s future course of action.”[1]


The basic PEST analysis includes four factors:

  • Political factors relate to how the government intervenes in the economy. Specifically, political factors have areas including tax policy, labour law, environmental law, trade restrictions, tariffs, and political stability. Political factors may also include goods and services which the government aims to provide or be provided (merit goods) and those that the government does not want to be provided (demerit goods or merit bads). Furthermore, governments have a high impact on the health, education, and infrastructure of a nation.
  • Economic factors include economic growth, exchange rates, inflation rate, and interest rates. These factors can drastically affect how a business operates. For example, interest rates affect a firm's cost of capital and therefore to what extent a business grows and expands.
  • Social factors include the cultural aspects and health consciousness, population growth rate, age distribution, career attitudes and emphasis on safety. High trends in social factors affect the demand for a company's products and how that company operates. For example, the ageing population may imply a smaller and less-willing workforce (thus increasing the cost of labour). Furthermore, companies may change various management strategies to adapt to social trends caused from this (such as recruiting older workers).
  • Technological factors include technological aspects like R&D activity, automation, technology incentives and the rate of technological change. These can determine barriers to entry, minimum efficient production level and influence the outsourcing decisions. Furthermore, technological shifts would affect costs, quality, and lead to innovation


Variants that build on the PEST framework include:

  • PESTEL or PESTLE, which adds legal and environmental factors.[2] Legal factors include discrimination law, consumer law, antitrust law, employment law, and health and safety law, which can affect how a company operates, its costs, and the demand for its products. Environmental factors include ecological and environmental aspects such as weather, climate, and climate change, which may especially affect industries such as tourism, farming, and insurance. For instance, growing awareness of the potential impacts of climate change is affecting how companies operate and the products they offer, both creating new markets and diminishing or destroying existing ones. Further, the PESTLE analysis is one of the most frequently applied models in the evaluation of the highly dynamic external business environment. It is employed as a method in research due to its usefulness. For example. a growing number of studies applied this analytical tool in different sustainable projects, including the evaluation of external factors affecting management decisions for coastal zone and freshwater resources,[3] development of sustainable buildings,[4][5] sustainable energy solutions,[6][7] and transportation.[8][9]
  • ETPS economic, technical, political and social.[1]
  • SLEPT, adding legal factors.
  • STEPE, adding ecological factors.[10]
  • STEEP, including environmental factors.[11]
  • STEEPLE and STEEPLED, adding ethics and demographic factors (occasionally rendered as PESTLEE).[12] Demographic factors include gender, age, ethnicity, knowledge of languages, disabilities, mobility, home ownership, employment status, religious belief or practice, culture and tradition, living standards and income level.
  • DESTEP, adding demographic and ecological factors.
  • SPELIT, adding legal and intercultural factors.[13] Intercultural factors considers collaboration in a global setting. Other factors discussed in chapter 10 of the SPELIT Power Matrix include the Ethical, Educational, Physical, Religious, and Security environments.[14]
  • PMESII-PT, a form of environmental analysis which looks at the aspects of political, military, economic, social, information, infrastructure, physical environment and time aspects in a military context.[15]
  • STEER considers sociocultural, technological, economic, ecological, and regulatory factors, but does not specifically include political factors.[16]
  • TELOS framework explores technical, economic, legal, operational, and scheduling factors.[17]

Applicability of the factors[edit]

The model's factors will vary in importance to a given company based on its industry and the goods it produces. For example, consumer and B2B companies tend to be more affected by the social factors, while a global defense contractor would tend to be more affected by political factors. Additionally, factors that are more likely to change in the future or more relevant to a given company will carry greater importance. For example, a company which has borrowed heavily will need to focus more on the economic factors (especially interest rates). Furthermore, conglomerate companies who produce a wide range of products (such as Sony, Disney, or BP) may find it more useful to analyze one department of its company at a time with the PESTEL model, thus focusing on the specific factors relevant to that one department. A company may also wish to divide factors into geographical relevance, such as local, national, and global.


Whereas the PEST analysis is broadly used in business practice, critics argue that it has limitations. PEST analysis can be helpful to explain market changes in the past, but it is not always suitable to predict or foresee upcoming market changes.[18] The reason is that PEST analysis offers a broad range of categories that can be deceivingly simple because they lack specific criteria about what exactly catalyses disruption. In other words, the PEST analysis does not offer guidelines for what to emphasise and what not to emphasise within the categories. As a result, firms can be blindsided by disruptions that cannot be neatly defined within the categories.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c J., Aguilar, F. (1967). Scanning the business environment. Macmillan. OCLC 495475137.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Nandonde, Felix Adamu (9 April 2019). "A PESTLE analysis of international retailing in the East African Community". Global Business and Organizational Excellence. 38 (4): 54–61. doi:10.1002/JOE.21935. ISSN 1932-2054. Wikidata Q98854703.
  3. ^ Sridhar, R.; Sachithanandam, V.; Mageswaran, T.; Purvaja, R.; Ramesh, R.; Vel, A. Senthil; Thirunavukkarasu, E. (2016-07-02). "A Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental (PESTLE) approach for assessment of coastal zone management practice in India". International Review of Public Administration. 21 (3): 216–232. doi:10.1080/12294659.2016.1237091. ISSN 1229-4659. S2CID 132405731.
  4. ^ Dalirazar, Sadaf; Sabzi, Zahra (2020-12-12). "Strategic analysis of barriers and solutions to development of sustainable buildings using PESTLE technique". International Journal of Construction Management. 23: 167–181. doi:10.1080/15623599.2020.1854931. ISSN 1562-3599. S2CID 234586813.
  5. ^ Ulubeyli, Serdar; Kazanci, Oguzhan (2018-11-20). "Holistic sustainability assessment of green building industry in Turkey". Journal of Cleaner Production. 202: 197–212. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.08.111. ISSN 0959-6526. S2CID 158121323.
  6. ^ Islam, F. R.; Mamun, K. A. (2017), Islam, F.M. Rabiul; Mamun, Kabir Al; Amanullah, Maung Than Oo (eds.), "Possibilities and Challenges of Implementing Renewable Energy in the Light of PESTLE & SWOT Analyses for Island Countries", Smart Energy Grid Design for Island Countries: Challenges and Opportunities, Green Energy and Technology, Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 1–19, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-50197-0_1, ISBN 978-3-319-50197-0, retrieved 2021-03-24
  7. ^ Achinas, Spyridon; Horjus, Johan; Achinas, Vasileios; Euverink, Gerrit Jan Willem (2019). "A PESTLE Analysis of Biofuels Energy Industry in Europe". Sustainability. 11 (21): 5981. doi:10.3390/su11215981.
  8. ^ Tan, J.; Chua, Wen Ling; Chow, C.; Chong, M.; Chew, B. C.; Melaka, Malaysia; Jaya, Hang Tuah (2012). "PESTLE Analysis on Toyota Hybrid Vehicles". S2CID 110872826. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. ^ Guno, Charmaine Samala; Collera, Angelie Azcuna; Agaton, Casper Boongaling (2021). "Barriers and Drivers of Transition to Sustainable Public Transport in the Philippines". World Electric Vehicle Journal. 12 (1): 46. doi:10.3390/wevj12010046.
  10. ^ Richardson, J. A Brief Intellectual History of the STEPE Model or Framework (i.e., the Social, Technical, Economic, Political, and Ecological), accessed 6 May 2019
  11. ^ Wild, Dave (2023). Futurework - A Guidebook for The Future of Work. Aotearoa New Zealand: Smith & Wild. p. 218. ISBN 978-0-473-66594-4.
  12. ^ Mason, L. (2018), Contract Administration, Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, p. 116
  13. ^ SPELIT Power Matrix, retrieved 2015-08-21.
  14. ^ Schmieder-Ramirez, J. and Mallette, L., Using the SPELIT Analysis Technique for Organizational Transitions, Chapter 28 of "Education Applications and Developments" edited by Mafalda Carmo, Science Press, 2015 Retrieved 2015-08-21.
  15. ^ Walden J. (2011), Comparison of the STEEPLE Strategy Methodology and the Department of Defense’s PMESII-PT Methodology, Supply Chain Leadership Institute, accessed 10 February 2019
  16. ^ Lawrence P. Carr; Alfred J. Nanni Jr. (28 July 2009). Delivering Results: Managing What Matters. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 44. ISBN 978-1-4419-0621-2.
  17. ^ McLeod, Sam (2021-06-29). "Interrelated Attributes of Project Feasibility: Visualizing the TELOS Framework". doi:10.14293/s2199-1006.1.sor-.ppt0zrs.v1. S2CID 237876039. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  18. ^ a b Diaz Ruiz, Carlos A.; Baker, Jonathan J.; Mason, Katy; Tierney, Kieran (2020-06-15). "Market-scanning and market-shaping: why are firms blindsided by market-shaping acts?". Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing. 35 (9): 1389–1401. doi:10.1108/JBIM-03-2019-0130. ISSN 0885-8624. S2CID 219736566.

External links[edit]

  • PEST Analysis, discusses how a PEST analysis can help determine the risks and opportunities associated with entering a foreign market.