APPLICATION OF THREATS, OPPORTUNITIES, WEAKNESSES AND STRENGTHS (TOWS) MATRIX STRATEGIC PLANNING MODEL IN MANUFACTURING FIRMS IN NIGERIA
The turbulent and often dynamic state of firm’s operative environment compels its vulnerability to competitive forces and often implies imperative of change in corporate culture for survival. TOWS matrix model though applied in many manufacturing firms across the globe in meeting the growing challenges of competition and need for superior performance, have unfortunately not recorded equivalent results in Nigeria’s manufacturing industries. The limited adoption of TOWS matrix model is explained by a host of factors including firms’ organizational change culture, managerial capacity, and the comprehensiveness of environmental scanning elements.This study, therefore, assesses the prospects and challenges of applicability of TOWS matrix model in manufacturing firms in Nigeria. The methodology of study was the descriptive survey research design. The instruments used for data collection were the structured questionnaire, interview schedule and empirical research findings from available related literature. From a population of one hundred and ninety-two (192) registered manufacturing firms found in the south east area of Nigeria, and a management level employee population of 2,880 using a combination of Taro Yamane formula, Proportionate Stratified Sampling (PSS) and Multi-Stage Stratified Random Sampling (MSSRS) technique, twenty-eight (28) firms were eventually selected for the study, from which four hundred and twenty (420) management employees where issued questionnaire with 94.76% response rate. The result of the study showed existence of a positive and significant relationship between a firms’ organization change culture and her awareness of Tows Matrix model; firms’ human resource capacity and degree of application of TOWS matrix model; improvement in the competitive capabilities of firms’ products in relation to others in the best of class and application of TOWS matrix model in the past five years (2004-2009); comprehensiveness of firms’ environmental scanning elements and reliability of strategies formulated with TOWS matrix model; the low adoption of strategic alliance as a strategic choice in Nigeria manufacturing firms and extent of change resistance in firms. The study also showed prospects of TOWS matrix model in Nigeria manufacturing firms while revealing the challenges to its sustainable application. The conclusion of the study is that organisational culture, managerial development, comprehensiveness and scanning of environmental elements and adoption of strategic alliance as a strategic choice constitute critical imperatives in the application of TOWS matrix model in Nigeria manufacturing firms. The recommendation of the study include: entrenchment of organizational change as a deliberate corporate policy; improvement of firm’s awareness and intensity of adoption of TOWS matrix; and development of firm’s managerial capacity. The study’s major contribution to knowledge include: the development of an improved version of TOWS matrix model captioned ‘WEBBED TOWS MATRIX MODEL’.