Internal Vs. External Environment of Business: 8 Key Differences

Internal Vs External Environment

Internal and external environment are the two components of a business environment. These are the two factors that made the concept of business environment complete.

A business environment simply refers to the collection of different controllable and uncontrollable factors that directly and indirectly affect the operations of the organization. And, within the business environment, external and internal environments come.

The internal environment of business simply refers to the factors and actors that exist within the organization. On the other hand, the external environment of business refers to the factors and actors that exist outside the organization.

Both internal and external business environments have similarities and differences. Let’s understand what the external and internal environment is, their differences, and their similarities.

What is Internal Environment?

The internal environment is a significant component of the business environment which comprises the elements of the organization. In simple words, the internal environment means the environment within an organization.

The internal environment determines how organizational activities, resources including human should be directed and managed. It ensures the creation of a well-managed work culture within the organization and ensures the desired goals are achieved. Its factors include:

  • Organizational Resources: These are the tools, assets, and capabilities that a company possesses. They include physical resources like machinery, technology, and facilities, as well as human resources like skilled employees. Efficient utilization of these resources enhances productivity and competitiveness.
  • Value Systems: A company’s core values and beliefs guide its actions and decisions. These principles shape the company’s identity and culture, influencing how employees interact and make choices aligned with the organization’s ethos.

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  • Mission-Goal-Objectives: The mission defines the purpose of the company, while goals and objectives outline specific targets. These provide direction, helping employees understand their roles and motivating them to work collectively towards shared achievements.
  • Management Structure: This refers to the hierarchy and organization of leadership within a company. A well-defined structure clarifies roles, responsibilities, and communication channels, ensuring efficient coordination and decision-making.
  • Company Culture: Culture encompasses shared attitudes, behaviors, and norms among employees. A positive culture fosters collaboration, innovation, and job satisfaction, contributing to a harmonious and productive work environment.

What is External Environment?

The external environment of a business is the opposite of the internal environment. External environment consists of factors that live outside the organization and have an indirect impact on organizational performance.

Although these factors live outside the boundaries of the organization, they greatly affect the existence of the company. Managers should adapt to these factors to make operations continue as this business environment offers threats and opportunities.

This component of the business environment includes further – macro and microenvironments.

Micro Environment

Micro-environment of business is also called the task environment. It includes the factors that are close to the business organization although they are external in nature. These factors can be influenced by the management to some extent. Its factors include such as:

  • Customers
  • Suppliers
  • Competitors
  • Shareholders
  • Intermediaries
  • Employees
  • Media, etc.

Macro Environment

The macro environment of a business is also called the general environment. It consists of factors that totally live outside the organization and the managers have no influence on these factors.

In order to survive, the management must adapt to the factors of the macro environment. Its factors include, also called Pestleg analysis:

  • Political Factors
  • Economic Factors
  • Socio-Cultural Factors
  • Technological Factors
  • Legal Factors
  • Environmental Factors
  • Global Factors

Difference Between Internal and External Environment

So far we understand the definition of external and internal environment of business. Now, let’s differentiate between internal and external environments through the bases of differences.


The internal environment refers to the environment within the organization. It includes all the factors, conditions, etc. that exist within the organization. On the other hand, the external environment refers to the environment that is outside the organization. It includes the factors and conditions, etc. that exist outside the periphery of the organization.

Nature of Control:

The factors of the internal environment are controllable in nature and can be controlled by the manager. Whereas, external environmental factors are uncontrollable in nature.

Read Also: What is Controlling?


Forces of the internal environment have a direct influence on organizational performance. On the other hand, external forces have an indirect impact on an organization’s operations.


The internal environment exists within the organization, whereas, the external environment exists outside the organization.


The analysis of the internal environment offers managers about organizational strengths and weaknesses. And, the analysis of the external environment offers management insight into probable opportunities and threats.

Effect on Changes:

The forces of the internal environment have an effect specific to the organization, whereas, external forces have an effect on whole industry changes.


Elements of the internal environment include – organizational resources, organizational culture, value systems, management structure, missions, objectives, etc. Whereas, elements of the external environment include – micro (customers, suppliers, competitors, etc.) and macro (pestle).


Internal factors inform and influence the organization’s decision-making processes. Whereas, external factors provide insights and considerations for the organization’s decision-making processes.

Similarities Between Internal and External Environment of Business

Both internal and external environments significantly impact a business. To say, both environments make up the SWOT analysis.

While the internal environment focuses on factors within the organization’s control, like resources and culture, the external environment involves outside elements such as competition, market trends, and regulations. Both environments shape business decisions, affect strategies, and ultimately determine success. Just as a business adapts to changes within, it must also navigate external forces.

A balanced understanding of both environments allows a business to thrive by leveraging strengths, addressing weaknesses, seizing opportunities, and mitigating threats, fostering a dynamic equilibrium for sustained growth.

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