Environmental features which limit organization and industry viability
: a study of the footwear industry

  • Robin C. Cochrane

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis proposes a conceptual framework for the analysis of organizational environments. Three primary segments of the task environment - the transaction environment, the industrial environment and the ecotone are delineated. The interrelationships between the organization and these three environmental segments are examined. It is suggested that the task environment i) defines the nature of the task confronting the organization and the economic, political and social position of the organization within this network; ii) influences the way organizations and industries are organized; iii) prevents recognition of the need for adaptation and change; and iv) limits the alternatives available to the organization should changes in the environment render existing technology, behaviour and structures obsolete. The British Footwear Industry provides an example of how this framework might be used to investigate the problem of industry decline and organization viability. It is argued that the explanations usually put forth to explain organization failure and industrial decline have not taken into consideration the environmental factors which affect organization and industry viability. The shift from national markets to global markets has altered the composition of the task environment and has changed the nature of competition from firm versus firm to environment versus environment. Organizations do not compete in the market, their products do. These products are often produced by organizations embedded in environments which are significantly different from the one in which the focal organization and industry are embedded.
Date of Award1988
Original languageEnglish


  • Organization environment
  • industry viability
  • footwear industry

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