The six segments of the general environment are political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal. These six external segments influence a company while remaining outside the company's control. The process of examining how each segment can affect a company is known as PESTEL analysis.
The political segment primarily covers governmental actions, such as taxation, trading policy and general government stability. The economic segment deals with macroeconomic issues, including inflation, interest and unemployment rates, as well as the overall health of the economy. The social segment is mostly concerned with population demographics, which involves watching cultural as well as sociological changes over the short and long term.
The technological segment includes any technological changes in the market, such as the rate of the development of new products, and advances in automation or service industry delivery speeds. For the environmental segment, analysis is directed toward changes in weather patterns or any natural disasters that occur. Finally, the legal segment covers new laws and regulations that affect businesses. These statutes may include new health and safety regulations, unemployment laws and antitrust legislation. Through analysis of the six segments, a company can minimize the damage resulting from negative changes or take advantage of those changes that prove useful.