United States Steel Corporation SWOT Analysis / Matrix

Business Essays, Term Papers & Research Papers

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

The United States Steel Corporation is one of the leading firms in its industry. United States Steel Corporation maintains its prominent 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 company 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 United States Steel Corporation to develop four types of strategies:

  • SO (strengths-opportunities) Strategies
  • WO (weaknesses-opportunities) Strategies
  • ST (strengths-threats) Strategies
  •  WT (weaknesses-threats) Strategies
United States Steel Corporation swot analysis / matrix

SWOT Matrix Strategies Objective

The central purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that an organization can utilize to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect United States Steel Corporation strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.

Step by Step Guide to United States Steel Corporation SWOT Analysis

Strengths of United States Steel Corporation – Internal Strategic Factors


As one of the leading companies in its industry, United States Steel Corporation 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 United States Steel Corporation are –


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  • Strong Free Cash Flow – United States Steel Corporation has strong free cash flows that provide resources in the hand of the company to expand into new projects.
  • Automation of activities brought consistency of quality to United States Steel Corporation products and has enabled the company to scale up and scale down based on the demand conditions in the market.
  • Highly successful at Go To Market strategies for its products.
  • Superb Performance in New Markets – United States Steel Corporation 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.
  • 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.
  • Good Returns on Capital Expenditure – United States Steel Corporation is relatively successful at execution of new projects and generated good returns on capital expenditure by building new revenue streams.
  • Strong Brand Portfolio – Over the years United States Steel Corporation has invested in building a strong brand portfolio. The SWOT analysis of United States Steel Corporation just underlines this fact. This brand portfolio can be extremely useful if the organization wants to expand into new product categories.


Weakness of United States Steel Corporation – Internal Strategic Factors


Weakness are the areas where United States Steel Corporation 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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  • 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. United States Steel Corporation 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.
  • 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 United States Steel Corporation
  • Investment in Research and Development is below the fastest growing players in the industry. Even though United States Steel Corporation 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.
  • Not highly successful at integrating firms with different work culture. As mentioned earlier even though United States Steel Corporation is successful at integrating small companies it has its share of failure to merge firms that have different work culture.
  • The profitability ratio and Net Contribution % of United States Steel Corporation are below the industry average.

Opportunities for United States Steel Corporation – External Strategic Factors


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  • 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.
  • Decreasing cost of transportation because of lower shipping prices can also bring down the cost of United States Steel Corporation’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 United States Steel Corporation.
  • The new technology provides an opportunity to United States Steel Corporation 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 United States Steel Corporation in other product categories.
  • Government green drive also opens an opportunity for procurement of United States Steel Corporation products by the state as well as federal government contractors.
  • Opening up of new markets because of government agreement – the adoption of new technology standard and government free trade agreement has provided United States Steel Corporation an opportunity to enter a new emerging market.
  • 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 United States Steel Corporation to drive home its advantage in new technology and gain market share in the new product category.

Threats United States Steel Corporation Facing - External Strategic Factors

  • Shortage of skilled workforce in certain global market represents a threat to steady growth of profits for United States Steel Corporation   in those markets.
  • Imitation of the counterfeit and low quality product is also a threat to United States Steel Corporation’s product especially in the emerging markets and low income markets.
  • 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.
  • Changing consumer buying behavior from online channel could be a threat to the existing physical infrastructure driven supply chain model.
  • Rising pay level especially movements such as $15 an hour and increasing prices in the China can lead to serious pressure on profitability of United States Steel Corporation
  • 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.
  • Rising raw material can pose a threat to the United States Steel Corporation profitability.

Limitations of SWOT Analysis for United States Steel Corporation

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 United States Steel Corporation
  • 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 United States Steel Corporation

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 United States Steel Corporation 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 United States Steel Corporation

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

You can email us to get an example document of Weighted SWOT analysis.

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)