Threats-Opportunities-Weaknesses-Strengths (TOWS) Matrix

TOWS Matrix

Internal and external factors are combined to develop and evaluate specific strategic alternatives using a TOWS matrix. The threats-opportunities-weaknesses-strengths (TOWS) matrix is an important matching tool that helps managers develop four types of strategies as the basis for strategic planning.

Managers consider internal strengths and weaknesses in relation to external opportunities and threats. The internal strengths and weaknesses–or competitive advantages and disadvantages–are summarized on the horizontal axis, and the external environmental opportunities and threats are summarized on the vertical axis.

Managers can then develop adaptive strategic alternatives by matching the organization’s strengths with the external environmental opportunities and threats, and in turn, matching the organization’s weaknesses with the external opportunities and threats.


TOWs Matrix
Opportunities (O) Threats (T)
Strengths (S)  SO Strategies ST Strategies
Weaknesses (W)  WO Strategies WT Strategies


SO = strategies for pursuing opportunities.

ST = strategies for using strengths to reduce threats.

WO = strategies for overcoming weaknesses.

WT = strategies to prevent or reduce weaknesses to external threats.

To add additional rows to the tables, use Microsoft Word’s “Table > Insert > Rows” command.  Right click on a cell and following the prompts.

SWOT Matrix



(to achieve the objective)


(to achieve the objective)

Internal origin

(service/organization attributes)

Strengths Weaknesses
External origin

(environmental/market attributes)

Opportunities Threats


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