Strategic management consists of two overarching processes: (1) identification of objectives followed by the design of one or more strategies to achieve them and (2) implementation and evaluation of the strategy. The first process requires analyzing and evaluating the internal and external environments of a business to ascertain strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis). The second process requires evaluating the implementation and success of the strategy, which may be replaced if poorly implemented or unsuccessful.
The first step in the most common framework of the strategic management process, then, is evaluation and assessment of the internal and external environments. The internal environment includes organizational culture, employee performance, management performance, barriers to performance, communication structure, and organizational structure. External environment includes competitors, marketplace pressures, government regulations, social and environmental systems, and monetary and economic conditions. The framework in which strategic planning is developed uses a prescriptive approach for evaluation, assessment, and design of a strategic plan, while a descriptive approach is used for implementation and efficacy analysis.