Both this chapter and Chapter 5, Internal Appraisal, are concerned specifically with the objective conditions faced by the organisation. Analysis of the situation confronting the firm is often very complex, hence we will consider external or environmental influences in this chapter, followed by a review of the firm’s resources in Chapter 5. It should be realised that such a neat divide is often not the case in practice as not only will environmental forces help to shape strategic decisions but also such decisions may impact on parts of the external environment. Readers should also remember that our strategic analysis is interdependent and that what is required is an understanding of the complex issues involved — their links and relative importance — plus an acknowledgement that these will change over time and show substantial differences from one firm to another.
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