8 junio, 2024

Social environment: characteristics, elements, influence

He social environment It is the space made up of all the elements created by the human being, which surround individuals and interact with them, such as infrastructure, social relations and the cultural universe that surrounds them.

In general terms, the term can be equivalent to other concepts such as society, social context, field or social environment in which an individual is born and grows up.

The social environment is constituted in the physical aspect by the cities and other settlements created by the human being, by the way in which these are related to each other and by the different cultural, political and social structures that act on each one and on the whole. of people.


Characteristics of the social environment

The social environment encompasses two aspects: the material and the immaterial.

material aspect

It is the one that includes the set of houses, public services, roads, towns, cities, etc., that surround and contain each individual.

The home, the school, the university and then the company where one works, constitute the primary places where the interrelationships of the social environment are generated, and the physical and mental health of people depends to a large extent on them.

immaterial aspect

The immaterial aspect is the one that has to do with kinship relationships (family), language, social class, cultural and religious values, power relations, etc. All these relationships occur within a society and begin in the family.

Elements of the social environment

The elements that make up the social environment can vary according to where the individual is, and the weight or importance of these changes according to the culture or values ​​of each human group.


The family, as the first germ of society, is the one that most influences the first years of a person’s life. In this sense, it is important that respect and love for all its members prevail in families.


Similarly, school is a place of socialization where we learn to relate to others. This is one of its main social functions.


The society in which an individual grows up is made up of thousands or millions of other individuals who share certain cultural values.

According to this, factors such as religion or ethical values ​​may have more or less weight, and exert different influences on each person.

For example, the weight of religion in individuals is less in secular societies, such as in some countries in Europe and America, than in societies with a strong religious presence, such as some in Asia and Africa.

Influence of the social environment on people

Familiar surroundings

Since we are born we are submerged in a world of relationships and social interactions that determine what we are and what we can become, and it is the elements that make up this space that we define as a social environment.

The socioeconomic level of the family, the income received, the cultural level of the parents, as well as their educational level, determine the perception of the children of their social environment.

Thus, a well-kept home (and well-kept does not necessarily mean luxurious), a welcoming and protective environment, will help family members establish healthy ties with their environment.

School environment

Likewise, when children grow up and study in pleasant schools, where the walls are properly painted, the desks and tables are well cared for, and the floors are clean, both the social and academic response is much more significant.

On the contrary, when this social environment is hostile, neglected or dangerous, the person will suffer its influence in a negative way.

As stated before, the physical and mental health and well-being of individuals stems in large part from a good social environment.

From there derives the importance of children and young people growing up in safe environments, with strong ethical values, which help them shape healthy personalities.

A new environment: the virtual

The virtual social environment, that is, participation in different social networks, influences individuals in decisive ways, and this influence is just beginning to be measured and evaluated, given its novel nature.

This virtual environment goes beyond national borders; Communities have been created in the different networks whose behavior is similar to the real one, but with exacerbated and exaggerated features.

Many people (children, adolescents and adults) have suffered what is known as cyberbullyingwhere they are victims of online harassment, generating real suffering in those who suffer it, with generally disastrous consequences for their self-esteem.

In summary, social inequality, intolerance, social violence in all its facets (gender, political, racial, criminal), drug trafficking and consumption, among others, are negative factors in the social environment.

To alleviate some of these situations, many governments implement social assistance so that vulnerable people who have always had unfavorable social environments can improve their situation.

Social environment of a company

The social environment of a company is made up of the place where it is located (urban, commercial, industrial, rural area, etc.), by its suppliers, customers and distributors; by the labor market, competitors, financial entities and the relationship with government entities.

This business situation can be approached from at least two points of view: how the company affects the society that surrounds it, and what its internal social environment is like.

External business social environment

This aspect has to do with the different factors that surround companies and that are expressed in the presence or lack of public, labor, environmental and social policies.

These factors are generally included in the so-called «social responsibility»: their interaction with educational institutions, environmental management, employment plans, relations with local and national governments, investments to improve the infrastructure external to the company or in the promotion of positive values.

This link is usually developed from management or inter-institutional relations departments, and serve both to reduce any environmental or social impact that the company may cause, as well as to favor communications and promote its image.

Internal social environment

The internal social environment includes the social relations between employees within the labor field, internal communications (such as the intranet or other internal communication networks) and the different aspects that companies usually address from their human resources section, aimed at improving the social environment of each worker.

This includes from an adequate design of the work environment (spaces to work, to rest, to socialize) to hiring conditions, with which employees feel satisfied, respected and taken into account.


Barnett, E., Casper, M. (2001). A definition of “Social Environment”. Taken from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
Social environment (2020). Taken from es.wikipedia.org.
Aguilar, I., Catalan E., AM (2018). The influence of the social environment in the construction of the social being. Taken from pepelujana.blogspot.com.
Sánchez Pecharromán, M. (2014). Social environment as part of the company. Taken from puromarketing.com.
The company and its environment (2020). Taken from edebe.com.

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