Posted by: drsallywrightstrategy | March 11, 2010

The Nine Basic Driving Forces of Organizations

In the last blog, I talked about “Top Management Strategy” (1980)  authors Tregoe and Zimmerman discussing nine basic Driving Forces for organizations.  Here is a brief explanation of each:

  1. Products Offered – this guides an organization that will continue to deliver products in the future that it has delivered in the past.  It will widen existing markets and penetrate new ones with products similar to those it has developed before.  Examples: Hersheys, NewLine Cinema, Pepsico.
  2. Market Needs – this guides an organization that developes products or services for a particular market segment.  It uses constant feedback mechanisms like surveys and market analysis reports to generate data on what appeals to the segment buyers.  Example: Victoria’s Secret, Mattel Inc., Playboy.
  3. Technology – the lastest and most cutting-edge innovations characterize organizations which have this Driving Force.  They seek broad applications for their technologies, and sometimes sell the technologies to other companies who develop other products.  Examples: Microsoft, Gendex, Intel.
  4. Production Capability – companies with this Driving Force offer only products that can be developed using their unique knowledge, equipment, and/or manufacturing processes.  Examples: Du-co Ceramics, Johnson-Matthey Silver and Coating Technologies.
  5. Method of Sale – with this Driving Force, the organization’s markets will be primarily built around how the product is sold.  Markets will be developed primarily around whether they can support that method of sale.  Example: Mary Kay Cosmetics, Amazon, Party Lite, Amway.
  6. Method of Distribution – this Driving Force focuses on the means, systems, and channels by which the products reach the consumer.  New peoducts are chosen based on their ability to fit into established delivery channels.  Examples: Burger King, Redbox.
  7. Natural Resources – this Driving Focre is used by companies which develop and market wealth supplied by nature.  They enter new markets when new needs/locations are developed for the products.  Examples: Exxon Mobile, Newmont Mining.
  8. Size/Growth –  organizations with this Driving Force set ambitious goals for expansion and will push into new markets and products with growth as the explicit goal.  Examples: Twitter, Facebook, Verizon.
  9. Return/Profit –  organizations with this Driving Force often have widely divergent product lines, with the goal of returning profit consistently over time.  Examples: General Electric.

The Driving Force of any organization can be determined by answering a simple question: when decisions are made about products or markets, which of the above areas is most heavily weighted?  This is the organization’s primary Driving Force.


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