The political domain of the organization environment rests on laws and regulations passed by governmental agencies and legislative bodies. Legislation has been directed toward the elimination of discrimination based on sex, race, and age. Other legislation has been designed to bring about an end to sexual harassment in the workplace, prevention of unfair pricing in markets, restrictions on pollution, consumer protection, and methods of corporate taxation. However, the enforcement of these laws and regulations often varies with the party or individual who occupies political office. For instance, enforcement of civil rights laws and pollution controls has varied because of differing beliefs by both political incumbents and the electorate about the need to enforce such legislation. Managers not only need to be aware of legislation, but must strive to understand how legislation will be interpreted in enforcement procedures.
Not all organizations are affected equally by such legislation. Some legislation is specific to industriesâ€”for example, requirements for the disposal of toxic wastes in the chemical industry, restrictions on licensing of banks in the financial industry, the mode of competition in the airline industry, and the choice of materials for the construction of products in the toy industry. Human service organizations may not have to be concerned with laws designed to control pollution, but would have to be concerned with laws that affect hiring practices. Steel companies may have to contend not only with pollution and hiring laws, but also with laws related to competition, occupational safety, consumer warranties, and methods of extracting and transporting iron ore. One industry that has been faced with multiple legislation and enforcement has been the tobacco industry. Laws have been passed restricting the advertising of cigarettes on television and requiring health warnings on the labels of packages and cartons of cigarettes.