1 See the exploratory study by Howard H. Stevenson, Defining corporate strengths and weaknesses. Sloan
Management Review, Spring (1976).
2 K. Andrews, E. Learned, C. R. Christensen and W. Guth, Business Policy. Text and Cases, Richard D. Irwin, Homewood, Illinois (1965).
3 A. Chandler, Strategy and Structure. Chapters in the History of American Industrial Enterprise, MIT Press,
Cambridge, Massachusetts (1962).
4 G. A. Steiner and J. B. M Miner, Management Policy and Strategy, Macmillan, New York (1977).
5 R. Vancil, Strategy formulation in complex organizations, Sloan Management Review, in Peter Lorange and
Richard F. Vancil, Strategic Planning Systems, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs. NJ (1977).
6 H. l. Ansoff, Corporate Strategy, McGraw-Hill, New York (1 965).
7 C. W. Hofer and D. Schendel, Strategy Formulation: Analytical Concepts, West Publishing. St. Paul (1978).
8 H. Koontz, C. O’Donnell and H. Weihrich, Management, 7th ed., McGraw-Hill, New York (1980), p. 847. For additional meanings, see Roger Evered, ‘The Strategic Decision Process’, in Don Hellriegel and John W. Slocum, Or., eds., Management in the World Today, Addison Wesley, Reading, Massachusetts (1975).
9 For an excellent discussion of the various approaches to forecasting; see Spyros Makridakis and Steven C.
Wheelwright, Forecasting: issues and challenges for marketing management Journal of Marketing, October (1977) in Harold Koontz, Cyril O’Donnell and Heinz Weihrich, Management: A Book of Readings, 5th ed., McGraw-Hill, New York (1980).
A Tool for Situational Analysis
* The author is Professor of Management, School of Business and Management, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94117, U.S.A. He has had many years of business and consulting experience in the United States and Europe, working with such companies as Volkswagen, Hughes Aircraft Company, etc.
This article has two main purposes One is to review general considerations in strategic planning and the second to introduce the TOWS Matrix for matching the environmental threats and opportunities with the company’s weaknesses and especially its strengths. These factors per se are not new; what is new is systematically identifying relationships between these factors and basing strategies on them. There is little doubt that strategic planning will gain greater prominence in the future. Any organization—whether military, product oriented, service-oriented or even governmental—to remain effective, must use a rational approach toward anticipating, responding to and even altering the future environment.
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Page 1: The TOWS Matrix-A Tool for Situational Analysis
Page 2: Strategic Planning
Page 3: An Operational Model for Analysis of the Situation
Page 4: Application of the TOWS Matrix to Volkswagen
Page 5: Application of the TOWS Matrix to Winnebago Industries Inc.
Page 6: Who Needs Strategic Planning?