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Tag Archives: PESTLE analysis

Certain project planning tools should be part of every competitive grant proposal writer’s repertoire. Among such tools are: SWOT analysis, PESTLE analysis, RASCI charts, Gantt charts, Red Team reviews, meta-analysis, and logic models. This post discusses PESTLE analysis.


Definition of PESTLE Analysis


PESTLE analysis examines external factors that form the context of a project or initiative. PESTLE is a mnemonic acronym with several variants. In PESTLE, P = political, E = economic, S = social, T = technological, L = legal, and E = environmental.


P = Political factors, such as support for public expenditures (tax rates, bond elections), tax policies, fiscal policies, and public investment policies.

E = Economic factors, such as employment rates, labor costs, inflation rates, interest rates, income levels, insurance rates, cost of living, credit costs, availability of expertise, and bond ratings.

S = Social factors, such as cultural trends, demographics, public safety, public health, confidence in public institutions, social mobility, mobility rates, attitudes and perceptions, cross-cultural communication, and educational attainment levels.

T = Technological factors, particularly innovations, automation, networks, Internet, efficiency, existing infrastructure, diffusion rates, displacement rates, adoption rates, training needs, skill sets, and attitudes/dispositions.

L = Legal factors, such as new and existing legislation, new and existing regulations, court decisions in case law, compliance, public engagement, accounting standards, and procurement.

E = Environmental factors, particularly natural phenomena, land use, scarcities or shortages of natural resources, recycling, energy access/costs, physical infrastructure, and physical maintenance.


PESTLE analysis is a tool for the analysis of external factors, which form part of the context within which a project will be launched and will function. Any and all of the external factors may advance or impede the project. As external factors, they are outside an organization’s control, but they impact the organization and its projects.


A PESTLE analysis may provide a more comprehensive view than SWOT analysis or it may be folded into the O and T of a SWOT analysis. It is a tool of strategic analysis rather than of strategic definition. It should be only one element in a comprehensive process of strategic analysis. Organizations must conduct the process regularly and repeatedly for it to be effective.


Among the steps involved in a PESTLE analysis are:

  1. Brainstorm the PESTLE factors
  2. Identify the salient factors in each domain
  3. Rate the importance of each factor
  4. Assess likelihood for each factor
  5. Consider implications for each factor


The desired end result of a PESTLE analysis is to identify salient issues about which an organization may take action in a project.


Among the uses of PESTLE analysis in writing a grant proposal are:

  1. Background – describing the larger context in which a project will operate
  2. Needs Assessment – summarizing of findings of the analysis as a baseline of needs
  3. Program Design – formulating one or more project objectives
  4. Program Design – selecting strategies and focuses of effort in an action plan
  5. Evaluation Plan – using focus groups to monitor/review status of factors in the PESTLE analysis
  6. Evaluation Plan – performing a content analysis of the PESTLE findings


Precautions in Doing a PESTLE Analysis


Among some of the precautions to take in doing a PESTLE analysis are:

  1. Using consistent methods and asking consistent questions
  2. Providing consistent facilitation
  3. Ensuring inclusive participant types and expertise types
  4. Providing a neutral ground venue or multiple venue types
  5. Ensuring the accurate capture of insights
  6. Obtaining consistent and repeated participation of stakeholders
  7. Planning actions that reflect findings of the PESTLE analysis


Subsequent posts will discuss other project development tools such as Gantt charts, RASCI charts, SWOT analysis, Red Team reviews, meta-analysis, and logic models.


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