Researching with PESTLE Analysis

Article 4 min
PESTLE analysis is a strategic planning method to gain contextual understanding and reduce informational power threats to an organization. By examining the Political, Economical, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental factors, PESTLE analysis provides a deeper understanding of the information environment, alertness to threats, human inter-relationships and a method to exploit opportunities.

PESTLE is one of several environmental scanning and monitoring techniques, like:

  • SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities, threats)
  • PMESII-PT (politics, military, economy, society, information structure, infrastructure, physical environment and time)
  • QUEST (Quick Environmental Scanning Technique)

It is primarily used by industry and business, but when applied to home station communication planning, it is an invaluable tool for understanding and working in the military environment. PESTLE can be leveraged for information operational art, home station research, or to gain a better understanding of the interrelationships, perspectives and boundaries of humans associated with a problem or opportunity.

Environmental scanning means tracking trends, monitoring organizations and engagements, identifying current and future technologies and analyzing tactical, operational and strategic issues. This research is critical to writing a communication plan. Because there is a better understanding of the culture and purpose at a home station, analyzing the same way as a business helps reach the audience that is accustomed to this type of interaction and receiving information in this way.

PESTLE analysis assists in organizing, synthesizing and applying the information as a key part of communication planning and strategizing. Consider the potential threats and opportunities that exist within each factor. Use these to create awareness and start developing tactics. PESTLE analysis is an invaluable tool for gaining and maintaining information superiority.

Explore each factor of PESTLE to learn what to analyze when performing an environmental scan.

Discover content by selecting individual tiles, or using the buttons across the top.

What is PESTLE?


The political variable focuses on the political or politically-motivated factors that could affect the unit.


  • Political stability or instability
  • Bureaucratic functions
  • Corruption
  • Tax policies, trade restrictions
  • Labor/environmental/copyright/consumer protection laws
  • Competition regulation
  • Funding for grants & initiatives

'E' Stands ForECONOMIC

The economic variable focuses on the overall economic forces that could affect accomplishing unit goals.


  • Economic trends
  • Growth rates
  • Seasonal factors
  • Taxation, inflation
  • Interest rates
  • International exchange rates
  • International trade
  • Labor costs
  • Consumer disposable income
  • Unemployment rates
  • Availability of credit
  • Monetary policies
  • Raw material costs

'S' Stands for Social

The social variable describes the social aspects, attitudes and trends that influence your unit.


  • Attitudes and shared beliefs about a range of factors, including:
    • health
    • work
    • leisure
    • money
    • customer service
    • imports
    • religion
    • cultural taboos
    • the environment
    • population growth
    • demographics
  • Family size/structure
  • Immigration/emigration
  • Life trends
  • Sentiments about history
  • Impact of P,E,T,L,E
  • Psychographics - attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological criteria of the people
  • Information ecosystem


The technological variable focuses on the way you communicate your mission objectives and goals.


  • Technology and communications infrastructure
  • Consumer access to technology
  • Emerging technologies
  • Automation
  • Legislation around technology, research and innovation
  • Intellectual property regulation
  • Competitor technology and development
  • SMART city development
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) integrations
  • Technology incentives
  • Technological gaps

'L' Stands forLEGAL

The legal variable focuses on the current and future legal and regulatory requirements impacting the unit.


  • Consumer protection laws
  • Labor
  • Health & safety
  • Antitrust
  • Intellectual property
  • Data protection
  • Tax and discrimination
  • International and domestic trade
  • Regulations/restrictions
  • Advertising standards
  • Product labeling and safety standards


The environmental variable encompasses the ecological forces impacting the unit's geographical location and the surrounding environment, as well as the natural resources the unit uses.


  • Weather
  • Climate change
  • Carbon footprint
  • Environmental regulations
  • Pollution laws and targets
  • Recycling and waste management policies
  • Sustainability goals
  • Climate change and climate change perceptions
  • Endangered species
  • Support for renewable energy
  • Pandemic history

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