The rise of upscale cupcake outlets reflects a current trend in American eateries: pricey specialty stores are very popular among some consumers.
Hunters remain a powerful force in American society, but their ranks shrunk by 10% between 1996 and 2006. Wildlife agencies worry about the loss of license-fee revenue will affect their ability to manage land and water resources, and lower levels of demand for their products threaten the success of gun makers.
In the 1800s, most American couples raised many children. Farmers, for example, took this approach because it supplied labor that small farms needed in order to operate. Today, most families are smaller.
One in three Americans is obese, due in part to the increasing prevalence of fast-good restaurants and the popularity of sedentary activities such as playing video games.
Hemline theory contends that women’s skirt lengths predict stock market increases and declines. The idea was born in the 1920s when economist George Taylor noticed that many women raised their skirts to reveal their silk stockings when times were good, but lowered their skirts to hide the fact that they weren’t wearing stockings when times were tough.
The tendency to collect material items while being reluctant to throw them away has led to a rise in self-storage outlets as well as awareness of a hoarding epidemic.
Sometimes changes in the social segment arise from unexpected sources. Before World War II, the American workforce was overwhelmingly male. When millions of men were sent to Europe and Asia to fight in the war, however, organizations had no choice but to rely heavily on female employees. At the time, the attitudes of many executives toward women were appalling. Consider, for example, some of the advice provided to male supervisors of female workers in the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine:1
• Older women who have never contacted the public have a hard time adapting themselves and are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. It’s always well to impress upon older women the importance of friendliness and courtesy.
• General experience indicates that “husky” girls—those who are just a little on the heavy side—are more even tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.
• Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. You have to make some allowances for feminine psychology. A girl has more confidence and is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day.
The tremendous contributions of female workers during the war contradicted these awful stereotypes. The main role of women who assembled airplanes, ships, and other war materials was to support the military, of course, but their efforts also changed a lot of male executives’ minds about what females could accomplish within organizations if provided with opportunities. Inequities in the workplace still exist today, but modern attitudes among men toward women in the workplace are much more enlightened than they were in 1943.
3.3 Evaluating the General Environment 78
Women’s immense contributions to the war effort during World War II helped create positive social changes in the ensuing decades.
Wikimedia Commons – public domain.
Beyond being a positive social change, the widespread acceptance of women into the workforce has created important opportunities for certain organizations. Retailers such as Talbot’s and Dillard’s sell business attire to women. Subway and other restaurants benefit when the scarceness of time lead dual income families to purchase take-out meals rather than cook at home.
79 Mastering Strategic Management
A surprising demographic trend is that both China and India have more than twice as many English-speaking college graduates each
year than does the United States.