Answered By: Cynthia Thomes
Last Updated: Oct 03, 2019     Views: 393

Some UMGC class assignments will ask you to find or create SWOT, PEST/PESTEL/PESTLE, and/or Porter’s five forces analyses of a company or companies.

What’s a SWOT analysis?

A SWOT analysis is an examination of a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. For more information, see SWOT analysis.

What’s a PEST/PESTEL/PESTLE analysis?

A PEST analysis is an examination of the political, economic, sociocultural, and technological factors that are affecting a company or that could potentially affect it. The additional L and E in PESTEL/PESTLE stand for legal and environmental/ecological factors. For more information, see PEST analysis.

What’s a Porter’s five forces analysis?

Corporate strategy expert Michael Porter’s five forces analysis tool involves determining how a given company is doing based on:

  1. the threat of new entrants to the market
  2. the threat of substitute products and/or services
  3. the bargaining power of suppliers
  4. the bargaining power of customers
  5. industry competition

For more information, see Porter's five forces

Where can I find information for a SWOT, PEST/PESTEL/PESTLE, or Porter’s five forces analysis?

Unlike SWOT analyses, which can sometimes be found in certain UMGC Library databases (see SWOT Analysis Research for more information), you will almost never find a PEST/PESTEL/PESTLE or Porter’s five forces analysis for a given company in a UMGC Library database. Instead, you’ll need to create your own PEST/PESTEL/PESTLE or Porter’s five forces analysis by consulting a variety of sources in order to learn as much as possible about the company and the environment in which it’s operating.

Some useful sources of information include:

  • a company's own website; in particular, information provided for investors and/or for the media (rather than information provided for customers) may be useful
  • a company's annual reports or 10-K reports, etc.; see Business Research: Finding a Company's Annual Report
  • details about a company's competition; see Business Research: Finding a Company's Competitors
  • a company's financial information; see Business Research: Finding a Company's Financial Information
  • newspaper articles about a company; you can use UMGC Library databases such as ProQuest News & Newspapers, Factiva, and Nexis Uni to find these
    • You can then run searches along the lines of [company name] AND [term of interest]. For example, to find articles that discuss political factors affecting Home Depot, you could search for: "home depot" AND politic*; to find articles that discuss economic factors affecting Home Depot, you could search for "home depot" AND econom*; etc.
  • magazine and/or journal articles about a company; you can use UMGC Library databases such as ABI/INFORM Complete and Business Source Complete to find these
    • As with newspapers, you can then run searches along the lines of [company name] AND [term of interest]. For example, to find articles that discuss political factors affecting Home Depot, you could search for: "home depot" AND politic*; to find articles that discuss economic factors affecting Home Depot, you could search for "home depot" AND econom*; etc.

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