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The GE McKinsey Matrix, also known as the GE Matrix or McKinsey Nine-Box Matrix, is a strategic tool developed through a collaboration between General Electric (GE) and the consulting firm McKinsey & Company in the 1970s. This matrix is a framework for managing a diversified business portfolio by evaluating business units based on their market attractiveness and competitive strength. It provides a more nuanced approach than the simpler Boston Consulting Group (BCG) matrix, making it a valuable resource for corporate strategy and resource allocation.

Key Components of the GE McKinsey Matrix

The GE McKinsey Matrix comprises a two-dimensional grid with nine cells, structured as follows:

  • Y-axis (Market Attractiveness): This axis represents the attractiveness of the market or industry in which a business unit operates. Factors influencing market attractiveness include size, growth rate, profitability, competitive intensity, and regulatory environment.
  • X-axis (Competitive Strength): This axis measures the competitive strength or position of the business unit within the market. Factors affecting competitive strength include market share, brand equity, production capabilities, distribution network, and technological prowess.

The combination of these two axes results in a matrix with three zones:

  1. High Market Attractiveness and High Competitive Strength: These business units are positioned in the top-right corner of the matrix. They are often considered for investment and growth opportunities.
  2. Low Market Attractiveness and Low Competitive Strength: Positioned in the bottom-left corner, these units might be candidates for divestment or liquidation.
  3. Medium Zones: The cells in the middle represent various combinations of medium attractiveness and strength, indicating the need for selective investment, divestment, or improvement strategies.

Steps to Apply the GE McKinsey Matrix

  1. Identify Business Units: List all the strategic business units (SBUs) within the company that need evaluation.
  2. Determine Criteria: Establish the criteria for assessing market attractiveness and competitive strength. Each criterion should be weighted based on its importance.
  3. Score SBUs: Evaluate each SBU against the established criteria and assign scores to determine their position on the matrix.
  4. Plot SBUs on the Matrix: Place each SBU in the appropriate cell on the nine-box grid based on their scores.
  5. Analyze and Strategize: Use the matrix to analyze the portfolio and develop strategic recommendations. This might include investment, divestment, or strategies to enhance competitiveness.

Advantages of the GE McKinsey Matrix

  • Comprehensive Analysis: The matrix provides a holistic view of each business unit by considering multiple factors for both market attractiveness and competitive strength.
  • Strategic Clarity: The visual representation of the matrix helps clarify strategic priorities and facilitates communication among stakeholders.
  • Resource Allocation: It aids in making informed decisions about where to allocate resources, ensuring they are directed toward the most promising areas.

Limitations of the GE McKinsey Matrix

  • Complexity: The matrix's comprehensive nature can lead to complexity in data collection and analysis, requiring significant effort to implement effectively.
  • Subjectivity: The evaluation criteria and weighting can introduce subjectivity, potentially affecting the accuracy of the analysis.
  • Static Nature: The matrix provides a snapshot in time and may not account for dynamic changes in the market or competitive landscape.


The GE McKinsey Matrix remains a powerful tool for strategic portfolio management, enabling companies to assess their business units systematically and make informed decisions about resource allocation. While it requires careful implementation and consideration of both qualitative and quantitative factors, its ability to provide a nuanced analysis of market attractiveness and competitive strength makes it invaluable for long-term strategic planning. By leveraging this matrix, companies can better navigate the complexities of diversified business operations and achieve sustainable growth.

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