American Public Education, Inc. SWOT Analysis / Matrix

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SWOT analysis is a vital strategic planning tool that can be used by American Public Education, Inc. managers to do a situational analysis of the company . It is an important technique to analyze the present Strengths (S), Weakness (W), Opportunities (O) & Threats (T) American Public Education, Inc. is facing in its current business environment.

The American Public Education, Inc. is one of the leading firms in its industry. American Public Education, Inc. maintains its prominent position in market by critically 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 helps 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 called SWOT Matrix.

The Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) Analysis / Matrix enables the managers of the American Public Education, Inc. to develop four types of strategies:

  • SO (strengths-opportunities) Strategies
  • WO (weaknesses-opportunities) Strategies
  • ST (strengths-threats) Strategies
  •  WT (weaknesses-threats) Strategies
American Public Education, Inc. swot analysis / matrix

SWOT Matrix Strategies Objective

The main purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that an organization can utilize to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect American Public Education, Inc. strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.

Step by Step Guide to American Public Education, Inc. SWOT Analysis

Strengths of American Public Education, Inc. – Internal Strategic Factors


As one of the leading companies in its industry, American Public Education, Inc. 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 American Public Education, Inc. are –


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  • Successful track record of integrating complimentary firms through mergers & acquisition. It has successfully integrated number of technology companies in the past few years to streamline its operations and to build a reliable supply chain.
  • Highly skilled workforce through successful training and learning programs. American Public Education, Inc. is investing huge resources in training and development of its employees resulting in a workforce that is not only highly skilled but also motivated to achieve more.
  • Strong Brand Portfolio – Over the years American Public Education, Inc. has invested in building a strong brand portfolio. The SWOT analysis of American Public Education, Inc. 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.
  • Highly successful at Go To Market strategies for its products.
  • Strong distribution network – Over the years American Public Education, Inc. has built a reliable distribution network that can reach majority of its potential market.
  • Automation of activities brought consistency of quality to American Public Education, Inc. products and has enabled the company to scale up and scale down based on the demand conditions in the market.
  • Good Returns on Capital Expenditure – American Public Education, Inc. is relatively successful at execution of new projects and generated good returns on capital expenditure by building new revenue streams.


Weakness of American Public Education, Inc. – Internal Strategic Factors


Weakness are the areas where American Public Education, Inc. can improve upon. Strategy is about making choices and weakness are the areas where a company can improve using SWOT analysis and build on its competitive advantage and strategic positioning.


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  • Need more investment in new technologies. Given the scale of expansion and different geographies the company is planning to expand into, American Public Education, Inc. needs to put more money in technology to integrate the processes across the board. Right now the investment in technologies is not at par with the vision of the company.
  • Organization structure is only compatible with present business model thus limiting expansion in adjacent product segments.
  • The company has not being able to tackle the challenges present by the new entrants in the segment and has lost small market share in the niche categories. American Public Education, Inc. has to build internal feedback mechanism directly from sales team on ground to counter these challenges.
  • There are gaps in the product range sold by the company. This lack of choice can give a new competitor a foothold in the market.
  • Not highly successful at integrating firms with different work culture. As mentioned earlier even though American Public Education, Inc. is successful at integrating small companies it has its share of failure to merge firms that have different work culture.
  • High attrition rate in work force – compare to other organizations in the industry American Public Education, Inc. has a higher attrition rate and have to spend a lot more compare to its competitors on training and development of its employees.
  • Investment in Research and Development is below the fastest growing players in the industry. Even though American Public Education, Inc. is spending above the industry average on Research and Development, it has not been able to compete with the leading players in the industry in terms of innovation. It has come across as a mature firm looking forward to bring out products based on tested features in the market.

Opportunities for American Public Education, Inc. – External Strategic Factors


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  • Government green drive also opens an opportunity for procurement of American Public Education, Inc. products by the state as well as federal government contractors.
  • 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.
  • 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 American Public Education, Inc. to drive home its advantage in new technology and gain market share in the new product category.
  • Economic uptick and increase in customer spending, after years of recession and slow growth rate in the industry, is an opportunity for American Public Education, Inc. to capture new customers and increase its market share.
  • Opening up of new markets because of government agreement – the adoption of new technology standard and government free trade agreement has provided American Public Education, Inc. an opportunity to enter a new emerging market.
  • The new technology provides an opportunity to American Public Education, Inc. to practices differentiated pricing strategy in the new market. It will enable the firm to maintain its loyal customers with great service and lure new customers through other value oriented propositions.
  • Stable free cash flow provides opportunities to invest in adjacent product segments. With more cash in bank the company can invest in new technologies as well as in new products segments. This should open a window of opportunity for American Public Education, Inc. in other product categories.
  • The new taxation policy can significantly impact the way of doing business and can open new opportunity for established players such as American Public Education, Inc. to increase its profitability.

Threats American Public Education, Inc. 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.
  • The company can face lawsuits in various markets given - different laws and continuous fluctuations regarding product standards in those markets.
  • Changing consumer buying behavior from online channel could be a threat to the existing physical infrastructure driven supply chain model.
  • Liability laws in different countries are different and American Public Education, Inc. may be exposed to various liability claims given change in policies in those markets.
  • New environment regulations under Paris agreement (2016) could be a threat to certain existing product categories .
  • Shortage of skilled workforce in certain global market represents a threat to steady growth of profits for American Public Education, Inc.   in those markets.
  • New technologies developed by the competitor or market disruptor could be a serious threat to the industry in medium to long term future.
  • Rising raw material can pose a threat to the American Public Education, Inc. profitability.

Limitations of SWOT Analysis for American Public Education, Inc.

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 American Public Education, Inc.
  • 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 American Public Education, Inc.

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 American Public Education, Inc. 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 American Public Education, Inc.

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)