Assessment of the Business Environment and Resources

  • W. Stewart Howe


In the previous chapter we studied corporate objectives: the range of these, the forces which determine business objectives, and how objectives might vary with the time dimension adopted. This process of objective-setting constitutes the first step in the strategic decision-making sequence (see Table 1.2 on p. 8), and as a result of this process the firm arrives at an understanding of its short- and long-term goals. The objectives set by an organisation naturally have a major influence upon the strategy it chooses to follow. However, unless the business has expressed its financial objectives in the context of specific product-market areas in which it intends to operate, these objectives will merely be end results which the business wishes to achieve, and therefore will constitute only the first step in the strategic process. To narrow the focus of strategy further it is necessary for the firm to identify potential markets in which its goals may be achieved. Moreover an assessment by the firm of its environment relative particularly to its current and potential resources may well lead to some modification of the business objectives or goals themselves.


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  1. 1.
    H. I. Ansoff, Corporate Strategy (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968) p. 51.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    F. T. Paine and C. R. Anderson, Strategic Management (New York: Dryden Press, 1983) p. 16.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    This table is based upon B. W. Denning, Corporate Planning (London: McGraw-Hill, 1971) p. 10.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    See P. H. Grinyer and D. Norburn, ‘Strategic Planning in 21 U.K. Companies’, Long Range Planning, August 1974, p. 80.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    See K. Ohmae, The Mind of the Strategist (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1982) Ch. 3.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Denning, Corporate Planning, p. 11.Google Scholar
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    See Paine and Anderson, Strategic Management, pp. 39–40.Google Scholar
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    This analysis is based upon data contained in the annual report and other publications of The Cocoa, Chocolate and Confectionery Alliance and upon the essay by the author ‘Competition and Performance in Food Manufacturing’ in J. Burns et al. (eds), The Food Industry (London: Heinemann, 1983) pp. 101–26.Google Scholar
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    This table summarises the analysis in D. F. Harvey, Business Policy and Strategic Management (Columbus, Ohio: Merrill Publishing, 1982) pp. 113–17.Google Scholar
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    See Porter, Competitive Strategy, Ch. 2.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    See ‘Deere Ploughs a Lone Furrow’, Financial Times, 20 January 1984.Google Scholar
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    Porter, Competitive Strategy, Ch. 3.Google Scholar
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    See J. Argenti, Corporate Collapse: The Causes and Symptoms (Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill, 1976) Ch. 5.Google Scholar
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    See ‘Over There and Overdrawn’, Sunday Times, 4 March 1984.Google Scholar
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    See ‘The Bus Lines are on the Road to Nowhere’, Fortune, 31 December 1978, pp. 58–63, from which the details of this case are taken.Google Scholar
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    See H. H. Stevenson, ‘Defining Corporate Strengths and Weaknesses’, Sloan Management Review, Spring 1976, pp. 51–68.Google Scholar

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© W. Stewart Howe 1986

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  • W. Stewart Howe

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