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BUS 495 & MG 495: Team Project Research Guide

a guide for MG 495 students working on their Capstone project

External Assessment


An external assessment is analogous to a PESTLE Analysis (overviewed below). Contrary to the internal assessment, the external audit begins with looking at the external environment then applying it to your company. External forces/variables are independent from what is taking place within the firm. In other words, your analysis should start with what’s happening in the market in those key areas (PESTLE) and then shift into how each factor might impact the firm.

Below, you will find an overview of a PESTLE analysis and, in the subpages of this section, you will find suggestions for how to locate information related to the forces and variables that make up a PESTLE. For more guidance on completing the external assessment of your strategic plan, please refer to your assignment and the associated template located in your online course.

If you have questions about assignment requirements or expectations, please reach out directly to your instructor. If you have questions about locating or finding information for this assessment, please ask a librarian.

PESTLE Analysis

What is a PESTLE Analysis?

Like SWOT, PESTLE is an acronym—it stands for Political, Economic, Socio-Cultural, Technical, Legal, and Environmental. PESTLE is designed examine a company’s external environment. Sometimes referred to as “scanning the business environment,” a PESTLE is meant to be a macro or “big picture” look at the market in which your business operates.  

Where can I learn more about PESTLE Analyses?

Depending nature of your previous work you've conducted on your strategic plan, the reason for assessing these external forces may vary. If you are struggling to approach your PESTLE in the context of this assignment, please reach out to your instructor for guidance. For more about the specific components of a PESTLE, please see the following article:  

Where can I find a PESTLE Analysis?

When conducting a PESTLE, you are almost always going to be working within a particular area (aka. market or environment). Using resources found in our "Research a Country" guide can help you identify some of PESTLE components for your specific market. You will occasionally find a readymade PESTLE within these reports. However, almost always, you will have to pull the component parts of a PESTLE analysis from multiple data sources and compile them yourself

Some of the best places to find this information is through an industry report and a country report (what country you evaluate will depend on the market in which your business operates). You can find guides on how to locate this data in the following subpages:

Pro-Tip: You will want to refer back to some of the materials that you pulled in your initial internal analysis, as some of these items may include some external insight. For example, the "Opportunities" and "Threats" section of a SWOT analysis will examine some external factors that may impact the company.


Can I locate ready-made PESTLE analyses in the databases or online?

You will occasionally find a ready-made PESTLE within the databases or online. However, most online PESTLEs are conducted by other students or within a context that does not apply to your current environment. Ultimately, online PESTLEs will not have been written within the same context in which you are conducting your own assessment. It is your job as strategists to pull the component parts of a PESTLE analysis from multiple data sources and compile them yourself.

Can I use Chat GPT or other AI to write a PESTLE for me?


AI chat bots, like Chat GPT, can only generate answers based on the data it has been trained on, which includes inaccurate or dated information like that found in low-quality, online PESTLEs. ChatGPT does not have the ability to fact-check or verify the accuracy of the information it generates. As such, it often generates false or dated information. It also regularly makes up citations or references that do no exist. ChatGPT is just replicating patterns, so it may not be able to understand complex topics, questions that require critical thinking, or the process of attribution. The context in which you are conducting your PESTLE is important, and AI will not be able to understand that context or the content of your previous assessment work to date.