THE CHANGING US ENVIRONMENT
The United States has changed significantly during this century. In 1990, about 60 percent of the nation's
population lived in rural areas, with some 38 percent of the labor force employed in agriculture. By 1970,
just over 26 percent of the population lived in rural areas, with less than 4 percent of the work force
employed in agriculture; and even today, the rapid decline in farm population continues.
Service industries and government now make up our largest employment categories with one out of every
five employed persons receiving a paycheck from some government body. It is also interesting to note
that increased employee mobility contributes to frequent shifts among employment categories. Between
1965 and 1970, one employee in three moved from a job in one occupational category to a different job in
the same category, or to a job in another occupational category. Such attitudes toward job mobility
continue at the present time.
Other changes are also having a deep-felt impact on both management and its environments.
Specifically, national interests have caused private institutions to work at meeting our needs to control
pollution, develop new energy sources, improve health care, support disadvantaged groups, and protect
consumers. Similarly, federal and local governments have played major roles in advancing these areas.
Of course, government actions also affect management decisions in such areas as employment, working
conditions, prices, wages, ecology, collective bargaining, product standards, and advertising.
Interrelationships between management and its external environments
What has been called the postindustrial society is producing other dramatic environmental changes.
These changes can be seen in the mass production of standardized products as well as in the
technological advancements being made in computerization, communication, and other areas. As this
postindustrial era continues, society becomes more concered with services, research, science, and
education than with manufacturing. Consequently, more managerial leadership in the sciences,
mathematics, and computer technology. It is also important to note that today's students are the stock
from which future managers will come. In this sense, the year 2000 is already here in terms of the
managers and leaders who are now in offices and classrooms throughout the nation.