UnitedHealth Group Incorporated SWOT Analysis / Matrix

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SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that can be used by UnitedHealth Group Incorporated managers to do a situational analysis of the firm . It is an important technique to map out the present Strengths (S), Weakness (W), Opportunities (O) & Threats (T) UnitedHealth Group Incorporated is facing in its current business environment.

The UnitedHealth Group Incorporated is one of the leading organizatations in its industry. UnitedHealth Group Incorporated maintains its dominant position in market by carefully analyzing and reviewing the SWOT analysis.  SWOT analysis an immensenly interactive process and requires effective coordination among various departments within the organization such as – marketing, finance, operations, management information systems and strategic planning.


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The SWOT Analysis framework facilitates an organization to identify the internal strategic factors such as -strengths and weaknesses, & external strategic factors such as - opportunities and threats. It leads to a 2X2 matrix – also known as SWOT Matrix.

The Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) Analysis / Matrix helps the managers of the UnitedHealth Group Incorporated to develop four types of strategies:

  • SO (strengths-opportunities) Strategies
  • WO (weaknesses-opportunities) Strategies
  • ST (strengths-threats) Strategies
  •  WT (weaknesses-threats) Strategies
UnitedHealth Group Incorporated swot analysis / matrix

SWOT Matrix Strategies Objective

The main purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that a firm can use to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect UnitedHealth Group Incorporated strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.

Step by Step Guide to UnitedHealth Group Incorporated SWOT Analysis

Strengths of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated – Internal Strategic Factors


As one of the leading companies in its industry, UnitedHealth Group Incorporated has numerous strengths that help it to thrive in the market place. These strengths not only help it to protect the market share in existing markets but also help in penetrating new markets. Based on Fern Fort University extensive research – some of the strengths of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated are –


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  • Superb Performance in New Markets – UnitedHealth Group Incorporated has built expertise at entering new markets and making success of them. The expansion has helped the organization to build new revenue stream and diversify the economic cycle risk in the markets it operates in.
  • Strong distribution network – Over the years UnitedHealth Group Incorporated has built a reliable distribution network that can reach majority of its potential market.
  • Good Returns on Capital Expenditure – UnitedHealth Group Incorporated is relatively successful at execution of new projects and generated good returns on capital expenditure by building new revenue streams.
  • Strong Free Cash Flow – UnitedHealth Group Incorporated has strong free cash flows that provide resources in the hand of the company to expand into new projects.
  • Strong Brand Portfolio – Over the years UnitedHealth Group Incorporated has invested in building a strong brand portfolio. The SWOT analysis of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated just underlines this fact. This brand portfolio can be extremely useful if the organization wants to expand into new product categories.
  • High level of customer satisfaction – the company with its dedicated customer relationship management department has able to achieve a high level of customer satisfaction among present customers and good brand equity among the potential customers.
  • Successful track record of developing new products – product innovation.
  • Automation of activities brought consistency of quality to UnitedHealth Group Incorporated products and has enabled the company to scale up and scale down based on the demand conditions in the market.


Weakness of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated – Internal Strategic Factors


Weakness are the areas where UnitedHealth Group Incorporated can improve upon. Strategy is about making choices and weakness are the areas where an organization can improve using SWOT analysis and build on its competitive advantage and strategic positioning.


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  • Days inventory is high compare to the competitors – making the company raise more capital to invest in the channel. This can impact the long term growth of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated
  • Not highly successful at integrating firms with different work culture. As mentioned earlier even though UnitedHealth Group Incorporated is successful at integrating small companies it has its share of failure to merge firms that have different work culture.
  • Organization structure is only compatible with present business model thus limiting expansion in adjacent product segments.
  • Financial planning is not done properly and efficiently. The current asset ratio and liquid asset ratios suggest that the company can use the cash more efficiently than what it is doing at present.
  • The profitability ratio and Net Contribution % of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated are below the industry average.
  • Not very good at product demand forecasting leading to higher rate of missed opportunities compare to its competitors. One of the reason why the days inventory is high compare to its competitors is that UnitedHealth Group Incorporated is not very good at demand forecasting thus end up keeping higher inventory both in-house and in channel.
  • High attrition rate in work force – compare to other organizations in the industry UnitedHealth Group Incorporated has a higher attrition rate and have to spend a lot more compare to its competitors on training and development of its employees.

Opportunities for UnitedHealth Group Incorporated – External Strategic Factors


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  • The market development will lead to dilution of competitor’s advantage and enable UnitedHealth Group Incorporated to increase its competitiveness compare to the other competitors.
  • New environmental policies – The new opportunities will create a level playing field for all the players in the industry. It represent a great opportunity for UnitedHealth Group Incorporated to drive home its advantage in new technology and gain market share in the new product category.
  • New customers from online channel – Over the past few years the company has invested vast sum of money into the online platform. This investment has opened new sales channel for UnitedHealth Group Incorporated. In the next few years the company can leverage this opportunity by knowing its customer better and serving their needs using big data analytics.
  • Decreasing cost of transportation because of lower shipping prices can also bring down the cost of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated’s products thus providing an opportunity to the company - either to boost its profitability or pass on the benefits to the customers to gain market share.
  • Lower inflation rate – The low inflation rate bring more stability in the market, enable credit at lower interest rate to the customers of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated.
  • Economic uptick and increase in customer spending, after years of recession and slow growth rate in the industry, is an opportunity for UnitedHealth Group Incorporated to capture new customers and increase its market share.
  • Organization’s core competencies can be a success in similar other products field. A comparative example could be - GE healthcare research helped it in developing better Oil drilling machines.
  • Opening up of new markets because of government agreement – the adoption of new technology standard and government free trade agreement has provided UnitedHealth Group Incorporated an opportunity to enter a new emerging market.

Threats UnitedHealth Group Incorporated Facing - External Strategic Factors

  • As the company is operating in numerous countries it is exposed to currency fluctuations especially given the volatile political climate in number of markets across the world.
  • Rising pay level especially movements such as $15 an hour and increasing prices in the China can lead to serious pressure on profitability of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated
  • New technologies developed by the competitor or market disruptor could be a serious threat to the industry in medium to long term future.
  • The demand of the highly profitable products is seasonal in nature and any unlikely event during the peak season may impact the profitability of the company in short to medium term.
  • No regular supply of innovative products – Over the years the company has developed numerous products but those are often response to the development by other players. Secondly the supply of new products is not regular thus leading to high and low swings in the sales number over period of time.
  • Increasing trend toward isolationism in the American economy can lead to similar reaction from other government thus negatively impacting the international sales.
  • Shortage of skilled workforce in certain global market represents a threat to steady growth of profits for UnitedHealth Group Incorporated   in those markets.
  • Intense competition – Stable profitability has increased the number of players in the industry over last two years which has put downward pressure on not only profitability but also on overall sales.

Limitations of SWOT Analysis for UnitedHealth Group Incorporated

Although the SWOT analysis is widely used as a strategic planning tool, the analysis does have its share of limitations.

  • Certain capabilities or factors of an organization can be both a strength and weakness at the same time. This is one of the major limitations of SWOT analysis . For example changing environmental regulations can be both a threat to company it can also be an opportunity in a sense that it will enable the company to be on a level playing field or at advantage to competitors if it able to develop the products faster than the competitors.
  • SWOT does not show how to achieve a competitive advantage, so it must not be an end in itself.
  • The matrix is only a starting point for a discussion on how proposed strategies could be implemented. It provided an evaluation window but not an implementation plan based on strategic competitiveness of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated
  • SWOT is a static assessment - analysis of status quo with few prospective changes. As circumstances, capabilities, threats, and strategies change, the dynamics of a competitive environment may not be revealed in a single matrix.
  • SWOT analysis may lead the firm to overemphasize a single internal or external factor in formulating strategies. There are interrelationships among the key internal and external factors that SWOT does not reveal that may be important in devising strategies.

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Weighted SWOT Analysis of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated

In light of the above mentioned limitations of the SWOT analysis / matrix, corporate managers decided to provide weightage to each internal strength and weakness of the firm. Organizations also assess the likelihood of events taking place in the coming future and how strong their impact could be on company's performance.

This method is called Weighted SWOT analysis. It is better than doing simplistic SWOT analysis because with Weighted SWOT Analysis UnitedHealth Group Incorporated managers can focus on the most critical factors and discount the non-important one. It also solves the long list problem where organizations ends up making a long list but none of the factors deemed too critical.

Limitation of Weighted SWOT analysis of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated

This approach also suffers from one major drawback - it focus on individual importance of factor rather than how they are collectively important and impact the business holistically.

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Example of Weighted SWOT Analysis

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SWOT Worksheet & Template

If you like to do your own SWOT analysis or want to make your own Weighted SWOT SWOT matrix then feel free to download Fern Fort University SWOT Analysis Template.


References / Citations & Bibliography

  • M. E. Porter, Competitive Strategy(New York: Free Press, 1980)
  • A. D. Chandler, Strategy and Structure (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1962)
  • O. E. Williamson, Markets and Hierarchies(New York: Free Press, 1975);
  • L. Wrigley, Divisional Autonomy and Diversification (PhD, Harvard Business School, 1970)
  • R. E. White, Generic Business Strategies, Organizational Context and Performance: An Empirical Investigation, Strategic Management Journal7 (1986)